I'm not one given to overstatement… So I debated the title of this post. But...alas... it's not an overstatement.
I've always thought a CPAP machine just kept you from snoring. I thought this is how it gave you a good night sleep. I was wrong. It keeps you oxygenated. And what happened on the night of 8 November was this, my CPAP machine nearly choked me to death.
Around 2:00 AM I woke up. I couldn't catch my breath. I ripped the CPAP mask off my face and focused on steady breaths. I tilted my bed up and tried to keep from panicking. I didn't know at the time, but my pulse was around 177
Zoe was sleeping on Shelly's side of the bed because she missed her mama. Shelly was in California. I told Zoe, "you're not going to like this babe, but I have to call the ambulance. "
My mother-in-law, Jean was there as well. She called 911 and it took 15 minutes for the ambulance arrive! The entire time, I could not catch my breath. I felt like I was on the verge of passing out.. And I was afraid that if I passed out, I would never wake up again.
Once I was on the table at the ER, they struggled to stabilize my heart. One of the nurses asked if she could cut my shirt off and I said no. I didn't want the situation to have to be any more dramatic than it already was.
But for several hours they struggled to stabilize me. At one point, one of the doctors told me that they may have to shock my heart to try to get it back into a regular beat. It wasn't going to be the full cinematic gel-on-the-paddles someone yelling "clear!" scenario… But she said it would be dangerous. This was a shocking moment of clarity. Was I ready to go? Did I have any doubts or thoughts of regret? No.
Luckily, they did not have to shock me, but they did have to give me a lot of medicine to get my blood pressure up.
There were several points in this four hour period where I thought might die. I was never resigned to the fact, and I was never right on the brink of death. But it was terrifying.
Here is what I know… Christ has given me the grace and the peace to know, even in the face of death, that his promises are true, our future is secure, and if we invest our all in him, his peace will reach us even in our darkest of moments
I say "if we invest our all in him" as if it were a simple choice to perform. This is obviously not the case. And it has not always come easily for me. There have been plenty of times when I have invested myself in selfish and ultimately destructive ways. If you know me and Shelly and our story at all, you know that we had a three month old daughter die in 2005. I broke my neck in 2007 and have been in a wheelchair ever since. After these events (and many other times in my life) I have dealt with pain and suffering in unhealthy and unbiblical ways.
But as I have chosen Him more, He has revealed himself more to me. I have begun to see 2 Corinthians 4 as a reality, not just an ideal.
I was raised in a strong Christian home. I had two parents who were biblical examples of integrity, faithfulness, and love. But I also grew up with a very immature view of pain and suffering and therefore…God. In my entire extended family there was no cancer, heart disease, divorce, or much suffering at all. Even though it's not directly what I was taught, I thought that if you loved and served God, bad things would not happen to you. This made it very difficult when I got to be a little older and started experiencing suffering to have a biblical understanding of it.
But God has let me see just a fingernail sized sliver of his light, and he has been relentless in his pursuit of me. Just enough that I know where to look in times of darkness. This following song COULD NOT ENCAPSULATE THIS ANY BETTER. Don't leave this post without listening to at least the first verse.
Thank you God for your relentless pursuit of me.