Sunday, June 21, 2009

the clarity of gratitude

Lately, I have had an attitude of pessimism, which has been particularly directed towards my current work situation that involves my awesome supervisor retiring June 30 and a whole lot of uncertainty involving a department reorganization beginning July 1st. For me, it took a slight health scare this morning to remind me of the importance of having a perspective of gratitude in my life instead.

I was awakened at 5 am by a pressure in my chest. I got up and drank some water, hoping that would be an easy fix but the pain persisted. David left for work around 5:30 am and coaxed me into trying to go back to sleep, assuring me I was probably just experiencing some heartburn (which I have never had before). I tossed and turned and finally got back to sleep until 8:30 am. I got up and started getting ready to go to church. It still felt like someone was pushing on my chest but I tried to ignore it. However, I was also starting to feel pain in both of my shoulder joints as well as in my jaw. I then decided I needed to play it safe and go see someone in urgent care at the hospital, just in case I was one of those rare cases of a 25 year old having a heart attack (I know, I know maybe watching "Grey's Anatomy" has made me paranoid). As I'm driving there, I call David on my cell to let him know I've decided to go to the hospital. However, I have forgotten my BlueTooth at home and right on cue, a Davis cop comes out of nowhere and proceeds to flash his lights. I'm being pulled over for not using a 'hands-free device'. Of course, my chest pain worsens. I've never played the "crying girl" card when I have been pulled over before, but I play it this time as I shakily explain to him that I was calling my husband about going to the hospital for my chest pain. The policeman's harsh stare morphs into a concerned look and he suggests that he follows me to there to make sure I arrive safely.

So now I have a police escort to accompany me to the hospital. Actually, he escorts me INTO the hospital as well and now I'm totally embarrassed as everyone in the waiting room stares at me walking in with a police officer as my usher. I then awkwardly explain to the receptionist what is going on and then the officer wishes me well and leaves....finally. Although I know he really was concerned about my safety, I have a suspicion that he also wanted to make sure I wasn't lying to get out of a ticket since I'm sure he's heard some over-the-top excuses before.

Ironically, there did not seem to be a sense of urgency in urgent care, and my whole appointment took about 2 hours to complete after all the waiting and tests. I had an EKG done, as well as an oxygen test, and both came up clear. My blood pressure and heart rate were fine as well. All of this eased my mind but I was still concerned what the root cause was of my chest pain. The nurse practitioner who saw me had asked me if I had been experiencing stress lately and the answer was yes, my work situation was causing me to feel stressed out. She said that although it seems odd for these symptoms to have seemingly come out of the blue, stress can mainfest itself in odd ways and was most likely the culprit for my jaw pain, shoulder pain, and tightness in my chest. My treatment plan was to get some rest and take it easy and I was sent on my way.

For the rest of the day, I said simple prayers of thanks. Thanks that I have good insurance to even go to urgent care. Thanks that I have easy access to a hospital and don't have to walk for days to get medical help like so many people across the world do. Thanks for parents who left church early to come to the hospital waiting room after I text messaged them. Thanks for medications like Excederin, which quickly took away my chest pain after 30 minutes. Thanks for being able to meet up with a friend and spend an afternoon at Starbucks after a scary morning. Thanks for the comforting hugs my husband gives. Thanks for ending the day with some frozen yogurt. And thanks for being able to rest in my Creator's love and cling to His peace. As a new week begins, I pray I can breathe in gratitude and exhale worried thoughts; it's better for both my health and my soul. =)


Kate said...

KEL! I hope you know you could have called me in the middle of the night too! I'm so sorry you went through that! How are you feeling now??

Jen Jarvis said...

I am so glad you are okay Kelli! How scary. I have to admit the cop walking you into the emergency room did make me laugh a little. I am just picturing it and know how embarrased I would feel! Let's get coffee soon!!