Chest Pains

Last week I woke up in morning with my chest feeling tight. At noon I contacted my sister to ask how a panic attack felt but my symptoms were not the same.  What I read on the internet said get to the emergency room! Because I didn’t want to alarm my kids or distress the grandkids I patiently waited for Don to get home.

Late that afternoon he walked in the door after saying good-bye to the grandkids out front and sat down in his recliner. “Don, my chest hurts… I need you to take me to the Emergency Room. “   Needless to say he sprung right out of his chair grabbing the keys and said boldly, “Let’s go!”

We walked in the hospital, told them what was wrong and I instantly was taken in. The registering nurse handed me a gown she needed to do an EKG immediately. She was kind and understanding while I lay there with my eyes shut dreading the experience.  She explained everything she was doing and kept me discreetly covered. I appreciated that immensely! I’m a modest person so not only was I frightened by the experience I was anxious about being exposed.

A short time later she wheeled me into an actual emergency room and said the nurse would be in shortly and they would need to perform another EKG. With my eyes still tightly closed because of fear, a male nurse walked through the door and introduced himself. I cringed.

Immediately things turned intense….

A woman came barging in to do the second EKG. She abruptly wrenched my gown down to hook up all the gadgets. I yanked it right back up when yet another man walked in the room. That didn’t sit well with the technician……

I know it’s an emergency room and they have to do what they have to do……AND they are used to that sort of thing. But I am not.

When I pulled my gown back up, she rudely declared, “She is refusing the test!” jerked the two top wires off me and stormed out of the room. Petrified, my eyes clinched shut, I began sobbing as I buried my face into a blanket. The male nurse sternly said, “Do you realize that we have to do our job! We have to find out why you are experiencing chest pain?”

Feebly responding, “Yes, I am not stupid…” Don bounded out of his chair and said to the nurse, “Listen, she has never been in this situation before! I would appreciate it if you would be a little more understanding!” The nurse snidely replied he would TRY and go find someone who could do the test and keep her covered as he abruptly left the room.

It never happened.

Later a heart specialist explained to us what he observed from the EKG, chest X-ray and blood work. It was not a heart issue, but an inflammation around my lungs called pleurisy.

As we prepared to leave the hospital my male nurse apologized for getting off to a rocky start. He hadn’t considered the experience from my perspective; he was simply trying to do his job.

Driving home that night I pondered the ordeal……

Foremost on my mind was the EKG technician. Her abrupt, careless and cruel manner left an impression. She was there first and foremost to do her job. No obstacle would prevent her from getting results. Without considering my vulnerable and frightened condition, she thoughtlessly performed her duties.

And I thought how often do I do that?

·        I am abrupt with a sales clerk

·        I am careless with my attitude

·        I am cruel without realizing it

·        I bulldoze over people’s feelings

·        The end result is more important than people

I recalled the times that my husband brought to my attention how I had acted toward a Barista at Starbucks; my tone of voice on the phone; not acknowledging someone who walked by, or how I talk to my kids. But the bull’s-eye struck with how I treated him…….

I wish I could not only apologize to that technician but also thank her for the valuable lesson she taught me. Because I wince considering the amount of people I have also unintentionally left a negative impression on.

It was an insightful experience despite my eyes clamped shut.

 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” Matthew 9:12-13