Destiny has always sounded so final to me. I mean, one definition of destiny is “a predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power or agency.” If not final, it certainly sounds foreboding, and something beyond the individual’s control. Well, perhaps it is not always as final as I imagined.
In Date With Destiny, I attempted to humorously discuss a serious matter that seemed to fit my thoughts on destiny. I traveled a path that was mostly out of my control and ended up undergoing a medical procedure I had no intention of accepting when first proposed. As it turns out, that may have been the first stop on my journey to a date with destiny.
Sunday, January 26, 2020, was not your typical Sunday. I’d been dealing with an upper respiratory situation of some sort for more than a week. On Friday, my condition improved a good deal, and by Saturday, I felt almost normal. Sunday morning, I felt great. I went to church with my lady, sang in the choir, went to lunch with friends, and we spent the afternoon watching golf.
As the day started fading, I began to feel my condition slipping toward something not entirely healthy. By bedtime, I had the beginnings of a headache and felt fatigued. Just before midnight, I awoke with a horrible headache and tightness or pain in my chest.
As a heart patient, I have the essential tools necessary to check vital signs at home. So, I slipped out of bed and checked them. All the routine indicators of heart function were in the normal range, and I went back to bed.
Understandably, that last sentence may raise an eyebrow or two. Why would a septuagenarian with a heart condition try to ignore or sleep through something that might be a heart attack of some sort? Well, the answer to that is simple.
This was my third episode of this type since 2007. The 2007 event started in the middle of the afternoon, and by 4:00 pm I was in a great deal of pain that met all the criteria for heart attack symptoms. After double-checking with my primary care doc’s office, I went to the Emergency Room. That is when I discovered that a sixty-year-old guy walking into an ER with chest pains goes directly to the head of the line. The thirty or so other patients and family members in the waiting area looked more than surprised when I was immediately taken to the examination area.
After multiple tests and an interrogation by the doctor to see if something else could have caused my pain, I was admitted for observation. I was released the next day with a diagnosis of “We couldn’t find anything.” Basically, they had no idea what caused the pain but were reasonably sure it was not my heart. I say reasonably certain because medicine is not a science, and even the doctors will admit they cannot be confident in some cases.
Fast forward to September 2011. It is 2:00 am, and I awake with excruciating chest pains. After almost two hours of hoping, they would subside, it was ER time again, same hospital group as above but a closer location. Again, I went straight to the head of the line. The waiting area was full of people with minor injuries, or one malady or another. As with the previous visit four years earlier, there were no signs of any cardiac event that would have caused the problem.
Before going on, I must share the rather humorous side of the 2011 event. We were scheduled to leave for an Alaskan cruise later that morning. With my previous experience, I was very concerned we would not be making that trip. I am thrilled to report we did make it. The ER staff was great, and they fast-tracked everything they could, having us out of there by 8:00 am. Even then, their efforts did not cease.
Of course, we took a bit of ribbing from the nurses and techs over the possibility I would not be able to go. There were several offers from folks who said they would accompany my wife, and even the ER doc got into the mix. After I was released, he chased us down on the way to the car to be certain we had copies all my records. He wanted me to have them in case the problem manifested itself again came on the cruise. He wanted me to have them for the ship’s doctor or other medical personnel. Talk about service and customer satisfaction!
Okay, back to my latest experience. I suspected this event was going to turn out the way the 2007 and 2011 event did if I went into the ER, so I waited. In some ways, I was correct. After a week of testing, the doctors could not explain why I had the chest pains, and the tests all indicated whatever I experienced was not a cardiac event. On the other hand, my doctors had something new to worry about.
The highly irregular rhythm of my strangely developed heart had changed suddenly. No, the change could not have caused the pain, nor could the pain cause the change. On the other hand, the pain forced me to visit my doctor, where the new rhythm could be detected. So, once again, some force appears to be driving me toward whatever my ultimate destiny might be. I might have been in big trouble if this third episode had not occurred. Something in my heart had changed, and the medication I was currently taking was making the problem worse. With today’s insurance guidelines and government regulations, I might not have seen either doctor before this new issue with my heartbeat caused a problem more severe than chest pain.
All of us have a final destiny, at least as far as our earthly body is concerned. Apparently, it is not time for me to meet my ultimate fate, but this might have been a wake-up call. I have been dragging my feet on a few critical matters. Perhaps, it is time for me to get my backside in gear.
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