Grated

"The Lord led me," and on looking back we see the presence of an amazing design, which, if we are born of God, we will credit to God. We can all see God in exceptional things, but it requires the culture of spiritual discipline to see God in every detail. Never allow that the haphazard is anything less than God's appointed order, and be ready to discover the Divine designs any where. Beware of making a fetish of consistency to your convictions instead of being devoted to God. I shall never do that - in all probability you will have to, if you are a saint. It is easier to be a fanatic than a faithful soul, because there is something amazingly humbling, particularly to our religious conceit, in being loyal to God. ~ Oswald Chambers, from My Utmost for His Highest

(I feel a bit like the soap on this plate: vibrant color, catching the light in the shards that are left, but feeling a bit "grated down" at the moment. Photo is my box grater sprinkled with soap flakes while making homemade laundry soap last week. Of course I have to use yellow soap - others use a variety of recipes!)

Today I spent another morning in the emergency room. I fought tooth and nail to stay away, but eventually had to give in after over 24 hours of chest pain. On the new drug I was started on, I feared that this really could be a heart attack or oxygenation problems in my heart. So I submitted, and wasted another morning at the hospital. In short, what I found out is this:
  • A pacemaker is not a good option for me at this time, according to my current cardiologist. Although my fainting episodes follow a distinct cardiac rhythm pattern, my heart rate remains too close to my baseline heartrate for a pacemaker to effectively treat me. Treating the low heart rate with a pacemaker may not work, for one, and may also damage my heart over the long run.
  • The drugs that will help me have significant risks. The cardiologist is slowly adding medications, starting with midodrine, which raise my blood pressure (hasn't worked so far); then sertraline, an antidepressant that will dull my nervous system response to changes in heart rate; then ephedrine, a stimulant that will raise my heartrate; and finally, disopyramide, a drug that helps regulate my heart rate. The side effects of these medications, briefly, include: heart attack, stroke, bleeding disorders, confusion, fast or irregular heartbeat, paralysis, tremor, memory impairment, headache and blurred vision. To name a few. Just something to keep praying about!
  • Fainting this frequently can cause problems with memory, my job as a mother, and my heart over time. Every time I faint, that means oxygen is not getting to my brain. I have already been restricted from driving, heights, swimming, walking on busy streets, holding hot liquids, carrying my children while walking, heavy lifting, sports, and anything else that could cause danger to myself or others if I should faint in the midst of the activity.
I leave in a week for South Carolina. It is my desperate prayer that I have some relief from the frequent fainting episodes before I leave. But I also freely admit that my prayer is self-motivated. I have absolutely no idea what will bring the greatest glory to God in this time period. I have dreams of completing a PhD and using it to better the world, by teaching students here in our privileged country, and perhaps even starting a school in a third world country someday as a missionary. But, like everything else, I lay those mixed worldly/eternal dreams on the altar of God's infinite wisdom. I will accept whatever He does in this situation, hopefully with the thanksgiving and praise that I so desperately long to demonstrate despite my human weakness (read: pride, ambition, goal-orientedness).

As a nurse, I know that God uses the weakest bodies to teach the most confounding lessons. My body is no different: He used it today to show nurses and doctors that a submissive and quiet spirit is possible...nay, even humor!....in the face of life-altering and confusing illness. May I meekly and humbly let this body be used, despite the aching desire that fills me to succeed and complete this degree, without the humiliation of crumbling like a rag doll in front my whole class and venerable professors.

I found strength this evening in this beautiful post from a woman battling spinal cord injury.