A teacher once told me, "Always make your opening statements lure your audience in."
I'm not trying to do that here...although, you have to admit, it is an effective opening.
I've been mulling this post in my brain for a while now and trying to phrase it in a less than dramatic way. But since I am a self-proclaimed redeemed diva, drama still follows me around. This story is no different.
It all started with a ride to the big city. I had a typical morning of getting my kids in the car and as I hurtled down the main highway at 110 km/h...ok, I was going 6 over at 116 km/h...I started coughing. Only something was different about this cough...there was blood.
And then--stop reading if you have a queasy stomach or are pregnant and tend to get queasy--I could feel blood running down my throat. Lots of it.
I pretty much panicked at this point and thought, "What in the world is going on?" I took a few deep breaths as I heard my girls start laughing in the back. Keep it together, I told myself, your reaction is going to determine how worried your kids get. A few, deep calming breaths between coughs and I started to feel a little more sane.
Suddenly, a fountain of blood burst forth from my nose. Then blood started gushing everywhere and all I could see was red. Well, red and the highway sign saying to slow down. It might not sound like much, but seeing the "SLOW DOWN" sign was the straw that broke the camel's back. I couldn't handle pressure like that. Bleeding profusely and obeying traffic laws?! Too much stress.
I eventually did manage to slow down and then picked up the phone. Blubbering, I left a weepy message for my husband on his voicemail. I managed to choke out a message between sobs. "Honey, it's me. I'm coughing up blood and there's blood everywhere. I'm going to emergency. I just thought I'd let you know. Please don't worry." (Seriously, gotta love how I leave a horrific message and end it with please don't worry. I might as well said, "Hey, the earth's going to explode in 4 hours, do you still want roast beef for dinner? Lesson to observe here: panicking causes ludicrous statements to be said.)
I called someone to come and meet me at ER so that they could watch my kids for me. I call 911 and told them my situation and they asked many questions which were really the same question all verifying that I wasn't dizzy and felt safe enough to drive the 5 minutes to ER.
I get to the ER and my bleeding nose and bloody coughs have stopped. My shaking hands haven't. I gather my courage and my children and walk measured steps to the ER. I tell my story to the ER nurse.
She looks at me through 5 inches of plastic window plastered with WASH YOUR HANDS, PREVENT SWINE FLU posters, "It sounds like it was a bleeding nose."
"Yes, I know that. However, my doctor has been doing all sorts of blood tests on me this past week since I got my yearly physical and is trying to determine the cause of--" I trail off. She doesn't care. She just responds with, "I understand. I just would hate to have you sit here to find out it's just a bloody nose. There is a four hour wait."
I mumble something about going to see my doctor across the street (why is it when we are in the midst of crisis that we lose all faculties of privacy and just blab every thought out loud?)
I gather my dignity and my children and walk over to the clinic. I try to refrain from telling the nurse at this desk too much. It just comes off as suspicious and she raises her eyebrows at me (why is it in the midst of crisis that we lose all faculties of openness and clam up like a...clam?)
I have an appointment with the doctor in twenty minutes.
My friend comes in the door. "How did you know I was here?" I hadn't called her and told her.
"Oh, the ER nurse said you mentioned something about walking to a clinic. I figured it be this one. " (thanks God for redeeming unnecessary out loud thinking that took place when I lost all ability to think clearly)
My phone rings. It's Jeep. "I'm on my way. And so is Pastor Todd."
"Because you're coughing up blood!" I hear the tension, the desperation, the worry in his voice. Didn't I tell him not to worry.? Now, I scared him. My big, strong man is worried and driving like a maniac to get to me.
"Where are you?" I ask.
"Just reaching the SLOW DOWN sign outside of the city."
I update him on all that's going on, even though I still don't know what's going on.
My name is called. I sit in the doctor's office and I look at the the grey checks on the linoleum. I feel fear rising in my throat. I choke it down and say, "God has not given me a Spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. Jesus, please help me, I need a sound mind. Thank You for being here with me. I know that You are with me even in the most horrible situations. Thank You for your presence."
I sit quietly and listen for His voice. I hear Him say He loves me, that He hasn't left me and then I hear Him say, "It's ok to cry."
So, the dam releases and I have a good cry with Jesus at my side.
And then I feel all better and I suddenly know that no matter what the doctor says, no matter what the results, Jesus will be glorified. He will be glorified because I will praise Him and declare Him worthy of all honour and glory and praise no matter what comes my way.
So tears turn to singing and I find myself singing this song (Atonement)
Well, it turns out that it was...
a nosebleed! Apparently they are common in the dry west!
My husband took time off work, my Pastor came in the midst of a busy day and my friend left work to watch my kids...all because of an overactive imagination that encountered a bleeding nose while traveling down the road at high speeds.
I felt so embarrassed. Exhausted. Tired. Emotionally Drained.