Predawn call; sudden change of plans … or was it?


heart surgery

A heart attack in the family has a way of changing what you think are your plans.

When the telephone wakes you before dawn, you know it’s not good news.

First thought always goes to the aging parents … is this the call that says a mother or father has died?

But, improbably, the voice on the other end of the line was my husband‘s, calling from a lower floor of the house.

He’s been nursing pains for an hour with milk, antacids, and selzer. Could I please bring aspirin and ibuprofen … and he might need me to drive him to the hospital.

As I descend the carpeted stairs, the house is silent, except for my husband’s groans. Tiger kitty raises his head from where he’s curled up asleep on the sofa, then returns to his dreams; big black runs on padded paws to the kitchen and stands at attention beside his bowl, somehow certain that extra rations may be required.

Sweet husband chews up the aspirin and swallows the ibuprofen. He’s already taken his nitro, to no avail. His entire body is contracting into itself with pain.

I need to get him to the hospital. I need to get dressed. I need to gather whatever I need for a full day next to a CCU bed.

No, I can hear him groaning. I just need to get him to the hospital. It’s going to be a bad hair day, who-knows-where-the-cell-phone-is-day, whatever-shirt-comes-out-of-the-closet-first-day, with all the other undone, disordered, chaotic, incomplete, inadequate things that a race to the door in the dark early morning inevitably entails.

We roll up to the door under the big red lighted sign that reads “Chest Pain Center” and the nurse doesn’t even check us in before she sends my husband for his first test. He’s being shaved a few minutes later while I’m giving date of birth and insurance information.

Ninety minutes later, the ER doc walks in and tells me, “You did the right thing,” as I put down the Peter Rabbit pop-up book that is, improbably, all I have found to read in this critical care waiting room. “You gave him aspirin and got him here fast. He’s going to be fine.”

Four hours later, I’ve made a quick run home, filled the cats’ bowls, found the cell phone, called or e-mailed the relatives, cancelled lunch plans, packed up the laptop and two books.

The house will not be vaccuumed. The laundry will not be done. The car will not be washed. And Monday’s plans for the office … well, Monday may have to take care of itself. I just don’t know yet.

And here’s the strangest part of the whole thing. I was “supposed” to fly to an out-of-town training Monday. But it never “felt right.” So I never signed up.

”Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ ” (Isaiah 30:21)

Has God ever helped you be in the right place at the right time?

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About Carlene Byron

Writer, editor, publicist, communications project manager ... I've written technology and infrastructure; I used to edit New England Church Life and The New England Christian and I've freelanced to publications ranging from Commonweal to Christianity Today. I'm now living in my hometown in Maine and am speaking about global perspectives on suicide prevention.
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3 Responses to Predawn call; sudden change of plans … or was it?

  1. Cecy says:

    Wow, what a story.

    I love these Godly coincidences!

    Hugs ~

  2. somewhere says:

    I love the Isaiah quote! I’ll never find all those great ones buried the B. Maybe you can do a list of your faves. It was good to talk that day. We need more ‘voice’ time. Love to you both, and so glad the story was as sweet at this. t

    • Ah … a list of my faves … that’s kind of what the book project is supposed to be about … but in the short term, a Bible promise book has lots of great stuff!

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