Timing….. they say it’s everything.
I rented a car after my week at the kidney cleanse in Arizona. I had an wonderful time debriefing for a day and reintroducing solid food back into my body.
I love renting a car. It always makes me feel a sense of freedom and a new persona. However, renting it also means taking it back..and this time it was to the Phoenix airport.
The mystical rock formations quickly turned into desert cactuses and barren plains stretching out for miles.
It seemed like a great time to listen to inspirational speakers and get caught up on some school lectures for the long drive to the airport.
As I settled into my headphones, a text from my husband came in.
He said he had a pain in his head that was really bad and rated it a “9”.
I was very concerned, especially since he rarely complains of pain and suggested he go to the ER since that sounded very serious.
However, being the practical non-alarmist man that he is, decided to take anti- inflammatories to see if it improved.
The trouble with masking pain is that it is usually a symptom; a warning light to be paid attention to….
But, like most of us, we drive on, turn off the light and hope whatever caused it will go away.
He followed up to report it had decreased to a “6”, so he would just wait it out.
I became distracted with my thoughts and became uncertain of the route I was taking. I got off the exit to make sure I was heading in the right direction. Indeed, I was.
Along the way, I decided to check in with my sister. In the process of our conversation, I took the wrong direction on the connecting freeway.
Looking at the time, I knew, I was now in a race with the clock.
Speeding and not being the safest motorist on the freeway at this point, I did everything I could to get be on time and not miss my flight.
My son and hubby were eagerly awaiting to pick me up at the airport and I was so looking forward to being back home with my family and especially see my little boy’s excited face when I returned.
Unfortunately , the rental car return was about a mile from the airport (or so it seemed) . I didn’t see the signs and missed my turn. By the time I arrived, I was so frazzled that I swiftly handed the keys over to the attendant and went on a mad dash to find the shuttle.
I gave a frantic plea to the bus driver to get me to the terminal quickly..(as if she could speed on account of my tardiness..)
The bus finally got me to the airport. Dragging my overweight baggage, I arrived at the ticket counter.
I had made it! There was still time…or at least I thought.
The attendant told me I had missed the 30 minute check in deadline..by one minute!
I couldn’t believe it! Wasn’t there any way to push me through? It’s just one minute, come on!
But, no…she said there was nothing she could do. Her hands were tied. Once you miss the deadline, that’s it..no more chances…
If only I hadn’t stopped for those pictures..
If only I hadn’t gone the wrong way and got distracted.
If only I had paid more attention to where I was going.
If only I had been more prepared..
If only …..
Missing my flight gave me the opportunity to slow down; slow down and listen, breathe and be present in the moment.
So, in doing so, I stumbled into a shop and met a very wise man. He told me something profound. “No matter what, keep smiling. God has it under control.”
Little did I know how much those words would mean in the days to come.
I obviously caught a later flight, made it home, just not on my time frame.
Fast forward a week…
My husband’s headaches continued. He somehow got a “revelation” to go to the ER and was transferred to the Trauma Center for an initial diagnosis of a vertebral artery dissection.
They put him on anticoagulants.
We were told that this would most likely be his course of treatment, since we wouldn’t want to do any type of stenting as this was very risky.
He proceeded to get an angiogram the following morning to find out definitively what was going on.
Needless to say, I was stunned and shocked to see this life giving portal in the back of his head hanging by a thread.
Furthermore, now they wanted to STENT it?
Didn’t they just tell us that was too risky?
His blood had been thinned from the meds and the area was so tiny that the risk of bleeding was high.
A stroke or death was possible.
A flood of emotions soared through my body as the realization of what was facing us washed over my being like a surging river.
I couldn’t catch my breath.
As a critical care nurse, I knew too much.
This couldn’t be happening. Not to us.
I went to his side as he lay on the operating table, still strapped down from the angiogram. His eyes were closed and I was overcome with pain and fear in my heart.
The thoughts of what may be next overwhelmed my entire being and I couldn’t hear myself think for the loud heartbeat in my ears .
“Honey” I said. “They have to place stents.” He looked up at me as I couldn’t hold back the tears, even though I tried so hard to be strong.
He calmly closed his eyes and said ” Ok. I thought they didn’t want to do that.”
“I know, I said, but it looks like this is our only option.”
The surgeon came over and turned the bright monitor on overhead for Carl to see his cranial arteries above him on the big screen.
We both looked in disbelief at the tiny area of what used to be a big major artery supplying the left side of his brain.
It had torn almost completely apart.
The doc explained again what had to happen next.
They let me stay by his side while we waited for the anesthesiologist to arrive.
All I could manage to do was hold him and cry and ask God to help him and guide the surgeons hands..
Tears soaked his gown and I felt helpless that this may be the last time I may see my husband again as I knew him.
I couldn’t seem to manage the barrage of thoughts that pulsed through my head.
I just wanted this to be a dream.
I called our little 4 yr old son.
He’s his daddy’s little buddy.
I wanted him hear his daddy’s tell him “I love you”
We didn’t know what the outcome would be.
We were both uncertain and very scared.
I kissed him goodbye as the anesthesiologist put on his mask and he began to breathe the gases that would take him away to dreamland.
Overwhelmed, as I walked out, I remembered the words ” God is in control”.
I would be lying if I said that the fear left and I rejoiced in the victory all the way down the hall, fear dissipating into the air behind me..
I was still freaked out.. But somehow, I began to be strengthened. Prayers were going up and I was feeling them. Still shaken,
I waited in the sun outside.
The time had come. What time was it for us?
Had we gotten there that minute too late?
The questions and uncertainty enveloped my being and everything appeared to be muffled and dulled…as I waited.
The surgeon came to get me in the waiting are..
With much anticipation, he told me the news i longed to hear.
We were at the right place at the right time…
The Dr. skillfully layered 3 stents to rebuild a new wall in his artery.
This is a procedure that has only been practiced in the last 10 years.
We have since found out that the procedure is not only rare and risky, but “off label”.
Miraculously it was completed with beautiful success.
Most people do not get so lucky. With little or no warning, most usually bleed and have a massive stroke and/or die.
Most people are not at a world renown Neuro-Trauma center with the best skilled neurosurgeons.
Something told Carl to go to the ER last Sunday morning and not go to the Wiggles concert or just relax and have breakfast.
The ER was wise enough to do a definitive test to find out the critical nature of his headaches.
All the chain of events that ensued after this were divinely orchestrated.
Our amazing surgeon explained that most people just usually have a massive stroke and fall over and die when this happens.
But for some reason, God gave us more time..time to love, laugh, appreciate and live.
This experience has caused much reflection on the significance of the timing..
I missed my flight…All the what if’s and should haves did not and could not change the outcome..
There is a reason for all the little things that create our reality..seemingly “good” and “bad”.
Even when we agonize and don’t understand the why’s.
The timing of events of saving my husband’s life was amazingly perfect for his life to be saved.
He hears our prayers..even when things don’t seem to work out on our schedule.
He has a plan.. It’s for good and not for evil to bless us and give us a future and a hope.
I am learning it’s not up to me to figure out the why’s, but to trust in the “Timer”. For in that trust, He can work all things for our good.
May we use this time to reflect on the greatness of His love and plan for our lives and rejoice in it today!