In 2001, I was attending the funeral of the father of a friend and I felt awful. Yes, I felt badly for the family, but I am referring to my own health. I could barely sit in the pew. There was no position in which I could find comfort and I prayed the service would soon conclude. Finally, the service did come to an end.
I drove home and tried to find some relief. A nap finally came, but I still did not feel right. That night, sleep basically eluded me. However, there was no way to avoid the work of the next day. Our congregation was to worship outdoors in a park. I was to serve as the worship leader. The service went well and the meal which followed transpired without event. Finally I would be able to head home and find some much needed rest.
Upon arrival at my home, I walked to the top of our split level steps. I was completely breathless and told my wife I needed to go to the hospital. While waiting in the hospital emergency room, I grew impatient, needing to wait over an hour. Persons in front of me would go outside to smoke while waiting to be seen. I kept saying to my wife, “Why in the world is he or she here?” I was unsure if I could go the distance required to wait.
Finally my name was called and I had trouble answering questions because I could not catch my breath. With some testing, it was discovered I had pulmonary emboli. I was shocked. How could a man of 40 develop this condition? Then I remembered I had a knee injury and had developed a blood clot on the surface of my thigh. Apparently this had developed into a deep thrombosis and travelled to my lung.
This experience was sobering and a reminder that life cannot be taken for granted. How might a person live without taking life for granted?
- Develop a pattern of thanking others, offering words of thanksgiving for positive experiences.
- Live as healthy as possible.
- Exercise and remain active.
- Love deeply and tell others you love them.
- Affirm life.
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