I've Been Gone…

for a while and not of my own choice.

In the week before this my heart began thumping, not in the anxiety attack style but more like I had been running for days uphill. At times it would stop, then it would start again. Finally Sunday brought me to the doctor, embarrassed to think it was just about nerves, pride wounded a bit, and I was attached to an EKG. The doctor returned with a reasonably somber face and said “You need to get to the hospital immediately your heart is in atrial fibrilation.”

I arrived at the emergency room at United Hospital and they already knew I was coming. Shirt off. Vitals taken. Hooked up to a new EKG. Nurses and doctors in and out. Atrial fibrilation, apparently, gets you to the front of the line at ER. Then we waited. More people came in and out. My heart popped in and out of sinus (normal) rhythm. They were going to discharge me, then not.

Its an electrical thing with me. As I stayed in the hospital my heart was x-rayed, ultra-sounded, blood work was done, and no cause was found. I have a perfectly normal, undamaged heart except for the fact that the top part and the bottom part can’t seem to find a way to get into sync. Though it seems weird there’s no danger to it, apparently I can live the rest of my life with it and just make sure that my blood stays thin and I’ll be okay.

But it hasn’t stopped yet. The hope is that my heart will set itself back into a normal rhythm but to date it hasn’t. Medicine keeps it from going too fast, two aspirins keep the blood from clotting (the only real danger from prolonged a fib is that pooled blood in the atrium may develop clots) and when my heart rate was stabilized I was sent home.

So what now?

Well now is rest and now is staying at home to get my strength back. Exertion is a problem and stairs wipe me out. Work is out of the question this week and I have lots of time to think, ponder, pray, and watch westerns on TV. There are a lot of questions about what the future will bring. I don’t want to be an old man until its absolutely necessary.

Yet it happened, for no known reason but it still did. I’ve been amazed at how many people were praying for me, the people that stopped in, and by the love of my wife. I hope some day, by the grace of God, to be healed, to have a heart that returns to its normal rhythm but for now I’m like a bird trying out new wings, flapping them a bit more and more to see what happens. Stand up. Walk. Stretch a bit. Let’s see what my ticker can take. Eat like a rabbit and sleep whenever the urge is present.

I have no idea what will happen next. The doctors have told me that this is not life threatening, but it is life changing. I have no intention of cursing God and dying as Job was advised to do. I have a thorn in the flesh that I presume was allowed to help me draw close to God. In some ways I am more alive than when I went into the hospital.

So we’ll see. Everything, including my life, is in God’s hands. Just remember me in your prayers because if nothing else I want to make it to church this Sunday.

4 thoughts on “I've Been Gone…

  1. Wow John! I’m glad you’re doing better but please do be careful. We love ‘ya man! I guess it is a reminder that none of us are getting any younger. You and Jane will stay in my prayers.

    In Peace,



  2. Hi, Padre.

    I have a-fib. The nerve kind. And when it hits, I feel like I’ve run a marathon. It’s exhausting. And it’s hard to remember to take it easy when I otherwise feel okay…and everyone around me forgets that I’m sort of not. It’s hard not to walk through life gingerly…although theosis has taken a sudden step forward as this heart-thing does tend to keep repentance in the forefront and remembrance of death before me. 😉

    Please remember me in your prayers? I will remember you in mine, such as they are. We are all on interesting journeys, yes?



  3. John- Finally found you. And now this. First off, eliminate ALL excitotoxins- Aspartame, caffeine. Secondly, your body craves MAGNESIUM. Get a calcium-magnesium supplement, and start eating foods with his mag. in them.
    Thirdly, (and you have to decide this yourself) do NOT take blood thinners. They merely kill you.

    I’ve been here and done that, and rarely (I mean, rarely) have any episodes nowadays.
    In Christ, and for his Kingdom.

    Fr. John M.


    1. At the present the only blood thinner I’m using is aspirin. Other than that I am currently on cardizem and digoxin as they wait for my heart to slip back into sinus rhythm. I have an appointment with my GP this week and am setting myself up for a holter monitor sometime this week and then an appointment with my cardiologist later. I feel as if I am in good hands. I am so very grateful for the prayers and good wishes I have received.


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