Jehovah Rapha - I am the LORD Your Physician (Exodus 15:26)
Thank you for your many prayers and support. This has certainly been an experience where I have been very humbled and have learned the stark reality that life is fragile and that Christ is present in all things being upheld by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3), and in Him all things consist. (Colossians 1:17). Here is a brief synopsis of the events. You may find a fuller version of the story (about 2 ½ pages) at this link: Jehovah Rapha
It was just one week ago today that I went to our family doctor to check out some tightness I had started feeling in my chest when I had gone jogging with my son down in Chattanooga. On Thursday & Friday of last week several things happened: I was told by my family doctor that I sounded like a “textbook case” of angina (the body’s early warning system that the heart muscle was not getting enough oxygen). He did an EKG, encouraged me that we’d get to the bottom of it, and sent me away reassured that I “wasn’t going to drop over with a heart attack or anything!” He also scheduled a stress test last Friday. Within hours of the test, they scheduled me for a consultation the next Tuesday with a cardiologist. My conversations with the nurses came with the assurance that there was nothing to worry about over the weekend.
Over the weekend, there were times when I felt that the tightness episodes were getting worse, but they always went away within a few minutes when I rested, which is what the Dr. had said would happen. We continued to think I was fitting the “textbook case” but we were becoming anxious for Tuesday to arrive so we could learn more. Late Sunday night after church, the angina tightness/pain started again, only this time it didn’t go away with rest. Donna called for the ambulance. En route, the pain began to subside & they told me my heart rhythm looked fine. I remember the attendant saying we had arrived in the emergency garage, then I remember trying to say out loud that I was starting to feel very dizzy. The next thing I knew, I woke up in the e.r. surrounded by a flurry of activity. I had gone into cardiac arrest, but they were able to perform CPR and also shock my heart to restore it to the proper rhythm.
They took me into the heart cath lab and did an angiogram. Of the 3 main arteries going into my heart, 2 were totally fine, but the 3rd one was 100% blocked. They were able to open the artery with a balloon and insert a stent. The artery that was blocked is called “the widow-maker” because when it becomes obstructed, sudden death is often the result. The cardiologist told us there is only a 5-10 minute window before very serious consequences result. Because I was literally at the door of the e.r. when I went into cardiac arrest, the Dr. was working on me within 30 seconds.
In my discharge interview, the cardiologist told us that during the angiogram, the results seemed to show that with each heart contraction 45% of the blood was pumped out into the blood stream. Before the heart attack, that figure was probably somewhere around 50%. It seems to indicate minimal damage and the prospects of a full recovery. We will know more in a few months. We gave the glory to God and even the doctor acknowledged His hand of providence.
We are praising the Lord for His providence and mercy. God’s miraculous protection is seen so clearly in the timing of everything that happened. We give all the glory and praise to Him. If we had waited a few more minutes to call the ambulance, if Donna had driven me in the car, if..., if..., if..., but GOD! It is a little strange knowing that everyone could be carrying on without me and that everything God intends for me to accomplish would have already been done. I can identify with Paul, knowing that to be with Christ would certainly be a joy, “Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.” (Philippians 1:24, NKJV). I have no regrets; I have peace that up to this point I have fought a good fight. I could have faced my Bema Seat, but it was not yet to be, and so I look forward to serving Christ with all of my being for the crowns yet to be gained. May I finish strong for Christ’s glory!
Pastor Wayne Hart
Maranatha Baptist Church, Grimes