Something quite scary happened to me this morning. I woke up at about 5am needing to go to the bathroom. About two steps from the bed, my head reeled and my legs gave way under me – I had collapsed. However, I did not lose consciousness and was aware that I had all my cognitive functions and there was no pain anywhere. After a couple of minutes sitting on the floor, I managed to complete my “business” in the bathroom, and returned to bed. I was in a sweat for quite a long time.
I have had fainting spells before in my life: standing for too long or just after a big meal in a hot and stuffy room, but nothing like this. I went to see my doctor and he checked my blood pressure – normal – and listened to my heart – perfectly regular and no anomalies. My real concern was the possibility of having had a TIA (transient ischemic attack or “mini stroke”), but I had none of the symptoms as the doctor described to me. Phew!
I need to go and have a blood test to eliminate the possibility of diabetes (which I didn’t have the last time I have a blood test a year or so ago). So, it’s off to “Dracula” again as my wife and I nickname our local medical analysis laboratory. All that being said, it was a case of hypotension, low blood pressure, because the regulating system didn’t kick in quick enough. In cases like that, you get up slowly out of bed, not forgetting to sit still for a few seconds before standing up and walking. You give your body a chance to react, especially when we start getting older.
I have always been blessed with a robust health, except (apart from the usual winter viral diseases) for small things like occasional gout attacks and psoriasis (which has behaved itself for several years, due in part to contact with seawater). I had to have a couple of operations for hernias, and that is all sorted out. Apart from that, I thrive in cold weather and love to be out and about in the boat, walking the dogs (yes, in the plural, because we have a new Jack Russell puppy) and doing the garden. When things do happen, we can only empathise with the suffering of those whose lives are dogged with poor health, and I think particularly of my Bishop and my father.
What is the point of talking about my health? Well, when I went down this morning, I thought I was about to die. How fragile we humans are –
Man, that is born of a woman, hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery. He cometh up, and is cut down, like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow, and never continueth in one stay.
Less than two years ago, my mother had a heart attack and died at home. My father collapsed in a shopping centre some years ago, and his life was saved by two paramedics who happened to have a defibrillator within reach. He received a pacemaker and has special medication. One moment we are here – and gone the next.
A subitanea et improvisa morte, libera nos, Domine.
As I collapsed, I turned my thoughts to God, but there was little to say. If this was to be my moment, no amount of prayers or last-minute fix-its will change anything. God is not mocked. He knows the secrets of our hearts. But, I recovered once I got back to bed. I’ll probably go and get a good siesta on finishing this posting, since I still feel quite wobbly and weak.
These are warnings to bring us to apply ourselves unto wisdom, to see what is most essential in life and what furthers our relationship of both filial respect and love with Christ. I ask you to pray for me, as I pray for all those who read this blog who suffer from poor health and pain.