Praying for a clam day

One of the things about discovering that you have a medical diagnosis is that you learn that there are a lot of other people who have the same diagnosis. Since Susan discovered that she has A-Fib, we have hear story after story of people who have had the same diagnosis, and of the family members and friends of other folks who have some familiarity with the condition. We were told by the doctors that the condition is relatively common and that they have a lot of experience treating it, but we have been a bit surprised to discover how many people have been living with the condition.

The sharing of all of the stories is done with the best of intentions. People tell us about their experiences with the condition as a way of saying that things are going to work out all right for us. They want to reassure us that we have a good chance of returning to our normal life and schedule. I am grateful for their support and for their stories.

However, as we rise on the morning of Susan’s return to the hospital for the ablation procedure, I don’t need others’ stories today. I am aware that our situation is unique to us. We’ve never had this experience before. We’ve prepared in our own way for this day and we’ve checked with the doctors to be confident that we are ready. We’ve consulted and researched and feel that we have made the right treatment decisions in consultation with doctors whom we trust. And we’ve made our own plans on how to face this day and the period of recovery that is to follow. We are surrounded by a great network of family and friends and church who are providing us with very support that we need.

Part of our situation is that, despite being an avid journalist, who publishes my journal every day, I am really quite a private person. I deal with a lot of life’s challenges by facing them in my own way. I’m not much for crowds. I don’t mind telling my story, but I”m not much for telling it over and over again. So I have intentionally taken today and tomorrow off from work. I’ve thought through how I intend to share the information with those who need to know. I should do better with communications than was the case when we first discovered Susan’s condition. By staying away from the office and giving us time to be with each other, I’m allowing myself to experience the process and to deal with my own anxieties and worries in my own way.

Many years ago I was burned in an accident at my mother’s place in Montana. I received prompt care and have no lasting scars from the incident, but at the time it was fairly serious. It took a couple of hours in the emergency room to have the burns treated and I required a repeat trip to the emergency room the next day due to dehydration. During the whole procedure, I didn’t say much to anyone outside of my family. I had plenty of support. I even had the prayers of a friend who is a minister. When I got back to our church, I realized that I had neglected to communicate my situation to the members of my congregation and found that I had to tell the story several times to bring folks up to speed. A few folks, including the secretary I was working with at the time, expressed a bit of resentment of my lack of communication. I learned that just doing what I want and responding to my desires is not the best way to be a responsible member of a community. My getting burned affected more people than I realized.

This time around, I’ve tried to be more open and more communicative of our situation. But I don’t want to share my deepest feelings with everyone. I have a wonderful circle of support and that is enough. I don’t mind sharing the broad outlines of the general story, but I’d rather not give a play-by-play of my emotional reactions. When asked, I report that I’m doing OK. I think that is accurate.

I am aware that we are being studied by the members of our congregation. How we deal with a family crisis is a model for the congregation of how crises are faced. People look to us to see how we face adversity and challenges to our way of thinking. I’m comfortable with that. I don’t mind being seen as an example for others. But I’m reluctant to share too many details.

For the most part the congregation has been very respectful of our privacy and we are grateful for their understanding.

I expect that today will be one of those days that seems like a really big deal in anticipation and, when it is over, I’ll think, “That wasn’t all that much - just a routine medical procedure.” Generally, the things that make me anxious in anticipation don’t turn out to be all that big in retrospect. And there are plenty of big events in my life that I don’t anticipate at all. I didn’t see the events of a month ago coming. I expected a short, smooth hospitalization with a few adjustments to medications and it was anything but that.

Jesus advised his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” It was sage advice. He went on to say that worrying doesn’t add anything to a life. Worry doesn’t make you live longer, or eat better or be better clothed. Saying “Do not worry,” however, doesn’t keep us from having a few anxieties. Knowing that we should not worry doesn’t calm every fear. I love the way that bit of advice from Jesus ends. He says, “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” I think Jesus showed a bit of his sense of humor in those words.

I prayer for today is for calm. A quiet calm day in which there is not too much news to share will suit me just fine. We’ll deal with whatever comes as it comes.

Copyright (c) 2019 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!