When our kids were freshmen in high school, their schedule didn't allow for many choices outside of the basics since they were on the college track. We ended up making the somewhat difficult decision to eliminate Geography so they could take keyboarding and learn how to type. (My apologies to the many wonderful Social Studies teachers that I know!) It's not that I thought learning about a world bigger than the state of Georgia wasn't important, but more about the fact that my mother made me take typing (as it was known in the dark ages...and on a manual typewriter even!) and it continues to be one of the most useful things I've ever learned.
Fast forward to today. Our day began as many have recently with Hamp going to walk/jog before the day got away from him. He hit the weight room for a few reps on some basic things and came back to the apartment to sit on the balcony and cool off. Unbeknownst to me, he started not feeling quite right, but he came in anyway and took a shower. I heard the water turn off and about five minutes later went back into our bedroom area to ask him about the grocery list I was creating. I found him on the floor by the toilet awake, but uncomfortable and feeling sick. Of course, that shocked me but I have found myself on the floor by the toilet before when things weren't going well intestinally so I didn't think a whole lot about it. He doesn't like to be bothered when he's not well, so after making sure he was somewhat OK, I left him for about 5-10 minutes. When I came back, nothing had changed and I decided that it was time to try and get some specifics. As I questioned him again for a description of how he felt and what was going on, all he could really say was that he just felt sick and like he had indigestion. At that word, the light bulb went on and I asked him if his chest felt tight. When he said it did, I realized he was likely having a heart attack. I then told him we were going to the emergency room and questioned whether he could ride in the car or if we needed to call an ambulance.
Side note - health care professionals will probably and possibly rightfully so fuss at me for the decision I then made. Since I knew where a hospital was and how to get there and that it was only five minutes away and that we live in a gated apartment complex that would take time to talk an emergency vehicle through, I opted to drive him.
When we got to the emergency room and got to the window, the girl at the desk asked what was wrong. I told her I thought my husband was having a heart attack and from that point on, things moved in hyper-speed. In the three minutes I was gone to move the car, they had gathered five or six people and they were surrounding Hamp doing their respective jobs. It was fascinating to watch their urgent, yet controlled quickness as they worked. One of them even checked on me in my chair nearby to make sure I was OK as I sat observing everything. As soon as I heard them confirm the heart attack with the EKG, I knew he would be getting a heart catheterization to try and clear the blockage. Sure enough, within a few minutes, the cardiologist arrived, the cath team arrived, and Hamp was wheeled away. I was directed to a waiting room where I was to wait for them to either complete the procedure or let me know he'd be going for surgery somewhere else.
Side note number two - turning on the light in a dark waiting room and sitting alone in a city you've lived in for four weeks and where you don't know a soul is one of the more surreal things I've done in my life so far.
As you can imagine, I had people to contact to let them know what was going on. I also realized that as hard as it is to receive those phone calls, it's just as hard to make them. Word began to get out and people began to pray. And that's when I realized I had been right all those years ago - geography can be highly overrated.
I've grieved more in the last four years over the relocation of our family in its various ways and the loss of life as I thought it would be than I have in my entire life. Yet in that waiting room this morning, I felt upheld and surrounded as if you had been there physically. In fact, before anybody even knew to be praying, God was already at work keeping me calm and Hamp at peace. When I questioned him later, he said he never felt afraid or worried during the whole process of everything that transpired.
Don't get me wrong - if I could live in the same town with our kids and our family and friends, I'd do so in a heartbeat. But that's not what God has chosen for us right now and today I learned that it's OK. He is here and you are here...because what God has joined together will never be separated.
Whenever you read this, take a minute and hug your loved ones a little tighter and if things aren't good with somebody, then make it good. You never know when your day might start off normal only to discover that it will end with a new normal in its place.