When my daughter moved out, I was moving from a three bedroom apartment into a one bedroom apartment in another building in the complex in which we lived. Fishing about for help who had a truck, I found everyone I asked had to work or they didn’t have access to a truck. I began walking across the parking lot to the new building carrying what I could of the boxes and totes, then I moved on to small appliances, small chests of drawers and small tables. I was at work one Sunday the day before I had to be moved out of the old apartment worrying about moving the furniture which was heavy. The more I worried, the more my body seemed to feel strange. Then it dawned on me what I was feeling.
You’ve heard people say that everyone says that until it happens to you. You brush it off because it never happened to you. When it does happen to you, though, those cliches don’t seem like cliches, but the truth. That Sunday as I felt every last sign of a heart attack happening to my body, I wanted to say “but wait! This only happens on the news, it only happens to other people!” I lay on a gurney in an ambulance with tubing in my arm, an oxygen mask over my nose and mouth and a very worried paramedic clucking over me. I remain convinced to this day that if the man had not slipped a nitroglycerine tablet underneath my tongue, I’d be dead. At the hospital, the dedicated doctors and nurses rushed about taking their tests, getting answers and taking care of me. That gurney seemed the only solid thing to me in that surreal day.
As I studied the materials they had given me in the hospital in the days that followed, I understood something I had never thought of before. I was walking to work anyway, so gentle exercise was already in my life. I was a diabetic, so a healthy diet was already in place. What wasn’t was stress relief. I was doing what the hospital materials told me to do in sleeping enough, getting gentle exercise and eating right. The realization hit me when I found myself without the capacity to worry. I had gone online to a site I knew had relaxation pages in an effort at stress control just like the hospital materials said to do when I understood, finally.
I am a believer in angels. Lying on that gurney, I felt as if I had been taken out of my body and could see myself in all my worrying glory. I was worrying about some bits of wood and cloth, worrying about what the people who had given me the bits of wood and cloth would think of me if I left them behind, and I worried myself right into a heart attack. Lying there, seeing the results of all that worry, made me understand what was important and what wasn’t. The kids who had given me the furniture I couldn’t move would love me anyway and understand. The day they stopped loving me would be the day to worry. I felt those angels around me, loving me and suddenly I understood. Thanks, guys.