Tuesday, October 29, 2013

When I am Weak...

I hate to be weak, needy or seen as a sissy!  I REALLY hate it.
view from my hospital room
all I could think was HOME was out there beyond those hills

As a child, self-reliance was a survival skill…asking for help showed weakness and made one the object of ridicule. I did everything I could to never, ever look weak.

Now...I see myself as tough, resilient and resourceful. (most of the time) As a farmer, all these qualities are more than a little useful and often put to the test.  I like to think I am made of good pioneer stock---that I can stand up to any challenge.  My ultimate aspiration, much to the Boss’ great consternation and chagrin, is to be seen as “badass”.  I know…sorry.  But, the word doesn’t conjure the same mental image for me as it does for him.  To me, it would grant me the ability to be impervious to the inner anguish caused by the unkind words and deeds of others, not bothered by anything...really tough and strong.
So, when I found myself gazing up at the ceiling fixture of an ambulance, nitro glycerin tablet under my tongue and tears sliding down my face, with young medics watching my vital signs and calling me “ma’am” every third word, I was about as far from…that word the Boss really doesn’t like…as one can get.  And that made me realize just how weak and needy I really was.

No amount of resourcefulness could slow my heartbeat.  No amount of farmer toughness could make the dizziness, the pain and the nausea go away. That good pioneer stock was useless against the tightness in my chest and the pain in my jaw and left arm. And, it didn’t matter how…well, you know…I wanted to be, that big medic wasn’t going to let me change my mind and get back out of the ambulance.  Nope, there was absolutely nothing I could do except go along for the ride and wait for someone else to fix this one. Embrace the weakness…that’s about all I could do.

...and that was really hard.

When the ER doc told us that he was going to admit me, that I’d have to have some tests and stay the night, I wanted to just sorta pretend it hadn’t happened. I really hoped someone was going to tell me that it was all in my head and I was being silly.  I was also trying to figure out how we could still get all the farm stuff done for Saturday’s market.  The Boss decided to post the current situation on Facebook. I didn’t stop him, but I really didn’t want him to.  It would make me look weak and needy and it would worry some folks needlessly.  No, he was doing it.  He reasoned that we needed the prayer power.

I think he was right.

After a couple EKG’s, X-rays, a couple of blood tests and another nitro-glycerin, they wheeled me to a room, where I was supposed to settle in for my stay.  The Boss headed out to find something to eat, since it seemed that we were here for the duration.

Not five minutes after he left, the nurse came in and said, “I don’t know how this happened…but, you’re going to have your stress test…RIGHT now.”  As in, right now, the guy was rolling a wheelchair in the door, RIGHT NOW. She added, “This means that they will most likely send you home this afternoon.”

Answer to prayer?  Maybe

With the stress test out of the way, they had the answers they needed about my heart issues.  While the plumbing system is fine, the electrical system does this “rapid-fire” thing from time to time.  The proper name is atrial tachycardia. Even though this is truly frightening and more than a little annoying, it is not quite as concerning as blockages and/or very high blood pressure. The condition can be regulated with medication, so after scheduling an appointment with a cardiologist, they sent me home.

When I got home, I was astounded to find bunches and bunches of caring messages, kind thoughts, well wishes from a whole lot of very concerned folks.  At the Market the next day, I got hugs and cards.  No one will ever know quite how much that meant…means…to me.

Not to get all preachy, but that made me think of the Bible verse: “When I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Cor. 12:10)and it made me wonder if perhaps my whole view of strength and toughness might not be a little skewed. Without being weak, admitting weakness or feeling needy…I may have never known that all those people cared. I wouldn’t have found out that I do indeed have a health concern.  I wouldn’t have met all the kind professionals that provided for my care throughout the course of the day. Maybe weakness is not a bad thing after all.  Is it possible the outcome of the entire event was changed because of that? Maybe what I thought was strength really isn’t…?

Something to think about…

So, while it was a really expensive way to get some insight, and I am still bothered about just how many people in Augusta County have now seen my underwear, some good really did come out of that incredible scary, freaky Friday.
thanks to www.farmon.com for the photo


  1. I just loved this and I'm so glad you are doing better and know what the problem is. Thanks for sharing your insight with us. I know I for one need it. Take care sweet friend!

  2. Hi Dixie from Ohio here and glad to hear you are feeling better. I too have thought through out my life that I was tough, and have always been the go to person for family and friends and always tried to help out where needed, Recently have been diagnosed with Stage 3 Kidney disease and have found out I wasn't as tough as I thought, God is good and he is my shepherd and will take me through what may come and he will be with you also, Keep well my friend and so enjoy your blog, Oh by the way getting older isn't for sissies :)

    1. Oh my goodness, Dixie! That sounds scary! I will keep you in my prayers.
      I can't imagine trying to get through any of life's trials without the strength of God. He is definitely the GOOD Shepherd.
      I know what you mean about getting older. ugh! We used to know an old man who would say "old age ain't so bad...but, it's awful inconvenient" I beg to differ. lol
      Thank you for the kind thoughts and know that prayers are being said for you from the Valley.

  3. Mrs. Womack, we're sorry to hear about your scary heart episode! Thankful you are doing alright now.

    1. Thanks, Hannah! I'm doing fine. Hope all is well with you and yours.

  4. Thank you for sharing this. I am sorry to hear about your recent troubles but am glad to know that you are doing much better. It also seems that you took an important lesson or new understanding away from all of the unfortunate events, and that is a good thing. Even the strongest, sturdiest and mightiest of things will weaken over time. That is why you are surrounded by loved ones and caring neighbors, so that they can help keep you strong!

    1. You're right, Colby. I've seen some great things from our friends and neighbors in the past...I just wasn't the direct recipient.