In the Midst of Life…

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.

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14 Responses to In the Midst of Life…

  1. Dear Father Anthony, you are in my prayers. May God bless you & pour out his healing love upon you.

  2. Rubricarius says:

    An unpleasant experience. Something similar happened to me once – the cause being hypotension due to a GP prescribing medications that interacted – I lost consciousness for a second at most but found myself on the floor with worried people around me. It was the shock of the experience that was worst.

    I hope you are feeling back to 100%.

  3. ed pacht says:

    Another one checking in. Prayers are ascending. over 2 years ago I had something similar — unlike you and Rubricarius, I have no medical diagnosis. I tried to arise on a Saturday morning to attend something I’d been planning for for some time. I discovered that I could not stand for more than seconds and very nearly passed out. Did nothing that day. Really couldn’t. I think it was an attack of vertigo, which I have to an ongoing but minor extent, but never before (or, thankfully, since) came on that strong. I said all that just to say that I know how scary such an event can be, and can put some teeth in my prayers for you.

  4. Fr. David Marriott SSC says:

    May your guardian angel watch over you, and may he remind you not to stand up so quickly that you immediately fall down again… are in my prayers. And, as we have just celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving, perhaps giving thanks that no organic cause can be ascertained.

  5. ian westby says:

    Dear Father, It is worth asking your doctor to check out all your Thyroid functions ‘hyper and hypo’. The thyroid is a complex piece of equipment and should not be ignored.
    Good to read that you are feeling much better. I also enjoyed reading about your latest aquisition in finding another boat.

  6. Warwickensis says:

    Praying, Fr Anthony! Keep well, please!

  7. The Rad Trad says:

    Be well, Father. Prayers are with you.

  8. Jim of Olym says:

    My prayers for you, Father! As I’ve gotten older I’ve had some minor attacks of vertigo and weakness, but getting on thyroid medication has helped a lot. We are surely ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’, ain’t we!
    Rdr. James Morgan

  9. I would like to thank you all for your prayers and good advice to get my thyroid gland checked out. I’m a lot stronger this morning after a good night’s sleep and getting up at a sensible speed. I’ll be getting my blood tests this week and find out what’s going on. I’m not too used to fussing about my health but events like collapsing remind us that we do have to take reasonable care without going to extremes.

    Spiritually, it makes us appreciate life and look for the most beautiful and positive things. Now … the rudder for that boat … 🙂

  10. Father Anthony you are in my prayers.

  11. David says:

    I’ll remember you tonight at Vespers.

  12. Christopher Little says:

    So sorry about your scary episode, Fr. Chadwick. I had one the other night myself, and spent a little time in the ER. Prayers for you.

  13. Martin Hartley says:

    Keeping you in my prayers Father. We know not the length of our days, and we can ill afford to lose your sane well thought out writings. I will ask my parish priest (Ordinariate) to remember you at the ‘memento’

    • Thank you for your kind thoughts. I feel a lot stronger, as something like that takes a lot out of you. The important is that it was not a heart attack or stroke. I should be getting the results of my blood test today, so I’ll find out whether something needs follow-up or watching with particular attention. Otherwise I just need to be less sudden with changing posture…

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