Friday, October 31, 2008

Took myself to the ER

For the last three days, I have had very strong spasms in my chest that would not go away. I have had them before, but they were random and the longest they occurred was a few hours. After finally getting the courage to call my doctor's office, I was told by a nurse to take myself to the ER. I hate the ER so instead, I waited till the kids were home from school and went to an Urgent Care up the road. As soon as I told the receptionist why I was there, she told me in a whisper that the doctor there would only send me to the ER, so with reluctance, I went.

I have never done this on my own before, but Todd was on his way to Pittsburgh so I didn't have much choice. Honestly, I was really scared but I was determined to keep it together. The ER didn't seem too busy, but it still took an hour to get called for vitals. The nurse said everything seemed normal, but ordered an EKG to see if they could pin point what was going on. After the test, I had to sit for almost two hours twiddling my thumbs. I seriously thought about leaving before I was called, but I resisted and waited as patiently as I could. They had me put on a gown (these are the times when I think I should be more careful about what undergarments I wear :) and told me I could watch T.V. while I was waiting. I'd like to know who can really concentrate on what they are watching when they are in the ER? I watched the moving pictures on the screen and listened instead to the elderly woman in the hallway who repeatedly yelled "Help! Help me!" at the nurses who by this time were trying their very best to not show their frustration with her. She obviously had some mental disabilities brought on by her age and it was heartbreaking to sense how afraid she was. In some ways, it helped take the edge off of what I was feeling.

When the doctor came in he asked all sorts of questions and then looked at my EKG test. He said there was definitely an extra random heart beat there, but he was not sure why. Because I didn't have any other heart attack symptoms, he told me it was probably nothing to worry about, but offered to put me through more tests to see what was going on. I asked him what symptoms I should look for and then declined the tests after he told me the doctors office could perform them. It still took another 20 minutes for someone to release me so I was again subject to listening to the older lady yelling for help. I got my papers and quickly got out the door.

After picking up the kids from my mom (and a super rushed trip through Kroger), I went home and tried one suggestion of advice on the papers I received- Relax. Then, I remembered one of the things that the doctor said. He told me there was a slight chance that I had spasms in my esophagus caused by of all things- heartburn. Now, I have never heard of heartburn lasting three days (night and day) but since the spasms had not lessened I decided to take some Pepcid AC. One hour later, to my relief, the spasms stopped. I had a difficult time getting to sleep, because I was afraid they would return, but they haven't. I can't tell you how happy I am that it was only caused by heart burn! Though, I am disappointed I had to waste so much time at the hospital, I am very relieved that all is normal and that I don't have to go for further testing.

Thank you, God, for a quick answer to prayer!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wrapping Ourselves for Christmas?

This afternoon, Hannah and I had the opportunity to take advantage of a local theater's FREE Children's fall film festival. We went to see "Kit Kittredge" for the first time and I was not disappointed. Abigail Breslin plays "Kit", a spunky, bright, young girl that is stuck in the midst of the Depression and learns the hard realities as her family deals with the struggling economy. Besides being a really well done movie full of actors like Joan Cusack and Chris O'Donnell, it was a movie that had me fighting back tears as I watched the characters struggle with the realities so many are facing today. In one of the opening scenes, a family is kicked out of their home and a foreclosure sign sits hauntingly in the front yard. Later on, Kit finds a dog on the street with a homemade sign around it neck that says something like "Please take me, my owner can't feed me".

It used to be that bankruptcy and foreclosure were dishonorable and shameful and now it has almost become exceptable. It made me wonder how close we really are to that dark time in history, when we have "tent" communities being set up in states because so many people are without a home and job loss is a hard reality to so many. One temporary solution in the film for Kit's family, was to open their home to "borders". In a day and age when we don't know the neighbor across the street, I wonder how we would cope with strangers in our bedrooms, on our couches and eating from our table? Honestly, I don't think its a bad idea.

The idea to "share what you have and stretch what you don't" is very foreign to most of us. Even as Christmas looms ahead, our families on both sides will be cutting back and in some cases eliminating gifts all together. We'd rather spend "time" over spending "money" and I know the sacrifice will be worth it. Maybe we can somehow get back to the basics where we live life together again and the act of giving love or service far outweighs a neatly wrapped package with a bow. I admit that I want to give my kids wonderful things under the tree this year, but more and more I realize that if I don't find a way to teach them the simple lessons that the broken economy has presented us, they may grow up and never know what it truly means to live with less.

I had a conversation with Hannah, just yesterday, and had to explain to her the changes this year. She really wanted an ipod Nano and was told she would have to earn half of the money in order to receive one. When she decided there was an immediate object that she was anxious to spend part of her money on, I explained that she would have to ask one of her grandparents to help with paying for the ipod because she would not have enough saved. I told her that would mean that she might only get one present this year. She was tearful as she struggled with her decision and I was tearful knowing that I wanted to give her everything but couldn't. In the end, she did spend a portion of her saved allowance, but she seemed to be content with the smaller number of gifts that lay in store for her.

I'm not sure where this leads me. Maybe to another round of questions and considerations, but I really want to experience Christmas much differently this year. My heart is heavy but it is also hopeful that we can really live out love in a new way as we give people what they really need. Each other. I'm just not sure what that looks like yet.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Living Out Love

Recently, I was reminded of a post I wrote almost a year ago. It was about the pain that Christians can cause when they become judgmental instead of showing love. If you haven't read it or even if you have, I suggest you take a few minutes to see where I am coming from.

I have several friends who have come under attack from other Christians because they revealed that they are voting for Barak Obama for president. Now, please understand, I'm not talking about Christians who simply give information or share why they are not voting for Obama. I am talking about those that have called some "mentally retarded" because of their choice. I am talking about the comments like, "You've got to be kidding me!" and continual badgering. I wonder who Christ would vote for? Are we really so sure of who Christ would stand with that we are willing to declare one candidate more "godly" than the other? Just some questions for thought.

I realize that there are a lot of tough issues on the line in this election and I have been doing my best to seek God as to who I should cast my vote for. I still struggle with who that is, but I have peace that when I get to the polls and I cast my vote, it will be for who I believe can lead this country to new and better things. I challenge those that have come on the offense to take a step back. If we truly believe that God is in control, we have no reason to fear WHO is elected president. No matter what, God will work his plan and we are simply called to seek His face and follow after Him.

Stop living in fear and start living out love.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Boy

(Caleb is the cute one in the center!)

I just realized that Hannah has been the center of several blogs lately so I wanted to add some great things that Caleb has accomplished. Caleb has been playing for the first time with Upward flag football. He loves football and several people have said they noticed that Caleb has a natural ability. Though his team has not won a game all season, I love what he has learned. They teach that winning is not as important as doing your best, having a good attitude and being a good sport. At the end of each game the coaches award stars to each player they feel reflects those qualities. This week, Caleb got 4 flags (one after falling down and getting back up) and he was awarded "Best Defense" and "Best Effort". I really love this league and can't wait for Caleb to start Basketball in December.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fall pics Continued

Since Hannah is the only one who is enthusiastic about modeling for me, I took these pictures of her today in the woods behind our house.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Amen Sisters

Our church has a service called the Family Summit that is held between the first and second service. This past weekend, I was asked with two other women to pull off a version of the song "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy". We wore wigs and Egyptian head pieces (and of course lots of eye make up) and even sported fake eyelashes. It was a lot of fun and the kids really seemed to get into it. I am in the center.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Polically Tired

I am not one to argue politics. I have always stood with one party and voted for their candidate and called it a day. At least when it came to important elections like this one. This year, however, has been very difficult for me. I came up with a strategy (inspired by a bumper sticker) this time around. I am voting for the presidential candidate that "sucks less". It may sound harsh, but that is what I have come to. Never have I been so torn between the two sides. I have issues that I feel strongly about supported by both presidential candidates and so deciding which one I will actually chose has been a strenuous process. Though, I am almost certain which name I will mark my "x" next to, I still have doubts that he will lead the country out of this growing economic hardship and into prosperity. I feel very strongly that we need to protect the unborn but also do not want the war to continue for many more years. To be honest, once I heard that McCain was drawing out of Michigan, I really wanted to go back to my original decision- to not vote. I know that makes many people angry, but I felt that my decision for who I thought "sucked less" was just lessened. I mean, if I voted for McCain, he wouldn't win anyway. If I voted for Obama, it wouldn't make a difference. After I got over that issue, I decided that every time I become aggravated over having to chose from the two candidates, I will think of the women over seas who don't have a vote. I will hear their voice in my head and even though I can't vote for them in their country, I will vote in honor of them. I hope that somehow that will make my vote less about who "sucks less" and more about the beautiful, strong country we live in that allows me to have a say (however small) in our government leaders.