The Medical Issue
For almost a month now I’ve had heart and insurance company problems. Something is wrong when three doctors and an insurance company need to be involved before one can call one’s regular cardiologist to ask a question about a medication. The last time I had seen my cardiologist was when I’d almost gone to the emergency room because of severe heart palpitations. He did several tests, including an ultrasound while I was on a treadmill. That was over a year ago. At the time my doctor told me it was an electrical heart problem, not a plumbing heart problem. Nevertheless it’s scary when it lasts over a few minutes. He told me if it happened again I should take an extra half dose of my medication. That always worked.
During this last month, though, my primary care doctor started changing my medication doses without consulting the cardiologist. It’s been a month of dizzy spells striking out of the blue and long episodes of palpitations. I was tempted to call 911 several times. After an episode on October 27 I wrote a detailed account about why I didn’t do it, which I don’t want to repeat here, since it’s only background to the real story.
The most important part as it pertains to this story is that I was afraid to drive. I got a case of palpitations driving around the corner to Walmart last week while waiting to make a left-hand turn into the parking lot. It was traumatic, since I could not pull over anywhere and wait for my heart to return to normal. I would not have gone out if my sick husband hadn’t needed medication.
The Car Issue
In August I bought a used Venza car to replace my older Volvo which had been totaled when I was rear-ended in June. It’s a nice car, but not as safe as the Volvo, especially at night. The side mirrors reflect light in a way that makes me think it’s coming from a different direction. There is also a blind spot between the left side mirror and the windshield that makes it hard to see a pedestrian starting to cross the street from my left when I’m about to make a left-hand turn. I would rather not drive at night, but sometimes I need to.
To Go or Not to Go to Bible Study
Yesterday was my regular Bible study night. I had had palpitation episodes four days out of the seven days before. I was finally able to see my cardiologist in the morning. He said he had no idea why the other doctor had changed my medication dosage for my heart medication and he wanted me to resume the old dose and assured me again the palpitations were not a reason to go to the emergency room. He repeated his advice to take another half dose if they happened again. I went home and took another half dose and then was very busy with other appointments the rest of the day.
The big question was whether to drive to Bible Study in the next town 15 miles away. It would not get out until after dark. I had not yet been on the higher dose of medication I needed for a full 24 hours. I hadn’t seen the other women for two weeks, and we wouldn’t be meeting again for another two weeks, and I missed them. I did not want to go a whole month without seeing them. We have become close over the last few months of meetings.
I hadn’t gotten dizzy during the day. I decided to go and depend upon God’s protection, even though I did not want to drive home at night. I haven’t been in the car driving for more than an hour in the last three weeks and I was out of practice, still getting used to the differences between my new car and my old trusty Volvo.
I drove to Bible Study in the early evening while it was still light with no problems. We had a very small group since only five of us, about half the usual group, had been able to make it. We had a very sweet time of sharing and prayer. I shared my fear of driving home after dark with the possibility of having palpitations, which usually come at night. They prayed for me, that I would get safely home. One woman offered to follow me, but lights behind me confused me last time when I needed to turn left and the lights showed in my mirror as though they were coming from where I was turning into. So I let the women in front of me lead and I followed behind.
I’d gone about a block when it felt as though the palpitations were going to start. I prayed they would not or would not last if they did. I made it to the street with the freeway onramp and made a successful left turn onto the ramp.
It was on the freeway things got bad. The vehicle in front of me had all kinds of flashing lights and was going slower than is usual. Then my lane started to disappear until I was half on the right shoulder, wondering where the warning sign about a lane closure was and why I seemed to be the only car still driving there. Frankly, it was scary. But there was no other way home from there except the freeway — at least none I knew of.
Perhaps the distraction of trying to stay on the road and hoping I wasn’t breaking a law helped keep my heart steady. In the left lanes were Highway Patrol cars and steamrollers and other construction vehicles. I kept driving and praying. Had I known about the road construction I would have stayed home. It seemed all my night driving nightmares were on that freeway — flashing lights everywhere, low visibility, and a disappearing lane. I had to drive past several off-ramps before the road suddenly cleared I and realized that after that, the rest of the drive would be easy. It was. But I was never so glad to get home in my life.
I was glad I had gone, because I would not have wanted to miss the time we shared. I guess the Lord didn’t want me to know about the construction because he wanted me to meet with my group. He probably also wanted me to be aware of his protection in what was for me a very frightening drive home.
God never wants us to take foolish risks for no good reason, but he showed me that when he leads us and we follow, he will protect us. I was covered by the prayers of my sisters from the time I left the meeting until I got safely home.