When Randy was having his heart procedure last week, I had big plans for my time in the waiting room.
I was going to get a good jump start on writing one or two blog posts that I’ve been pondering lately. Catch up on some email, peruse a magazine I had been saving just for this morning, maybe even read a book for a while.
What’s that they say about the best-laid plans again?
Randy’s heart had been doing its typical misfiring while he was being prepped for the procedure, so we had good reason to think this wouldn’t be like one of those days when you take your malfunctioning car to the shop and it refuses to act up for the mechanic. Plus, the nurse promised to call me every hour or so with updates.
Now all I had to do was wait. And be productive.
I got some coffee and sat down in a quiet corner. Shortly after discovering the hospital’s guest wi-fi wasn’t working on my laptop, an older man and his friend sat down next to me. The man’s wife was having a test run on her heart and the sweet woman with him was there “to pray” (she said).
It seems she also was there to talk to me, because that’s exactly what she did. I spent the next hour or two (I lost track of time) mostly listening and nodding while she discussed the widest range of topics I’ve ever heard in one sitting.
Although I’m an introvert, I rather enjoy talking to strangers. I’ve been known to strike up (or at least participate in) conversations at the grocery store, the DMV, in lines at amusement parks, at crowded polling places on election day, standing outside in the rain at the local Five Below store waiting to buy a Fidget Spinner—you know, all the usual scenarios where people might chat casually.
But this conversation stretched even me. She covered everything from vasectomies, the nasty sounding concoction she drank to relieve kidney stones and whether I’ve ever had a colonoscopy to how she can’t take Benadryl, how putting up mirrors in your bedroom helps to reduce anger and how her sister still holds a grudge against her ex-husband.
The nurse called me with her first hourly update (everything was going well so far), but I didn’t note the time because my neighbor started chatting again as soon as I got off the phone. At one point, I got out my Traditional Home magazine and started flipping through pages, hoping that maybe we could pause the conversation for awhile.
It didn’t work.
At last, the man and lady left and I was left alone in the quiet. It was only mid morning, but after all that, I didn’t have much energy left to write. So I just texted my friends, sisters and mother-in law, read my book and marveled at how calm I felt.
It’s true. While Randy’s heart was getting “zapped” with radio energy, mine was at peace. And I know it was because people were praying.
(Much later, it occurred to me that talking to the lady in the waiting room also may have contributed to my lack of anxiety. While the conversation was at times bizarre and even a bit uncomfortable, it did take my mind off what was happening in the cath lab. And I’m very grateful for that.)
As time went on, though, I started to wonder when I was going to get another update from the nurse.
It has to have been at least an hour and a half since I heard from her, I thought. I’m sure she’ll call anytime now.
It’s been more than two hours. They must have run into complications of some sort.
Why hasn’t the nurse called me yet? What’s going on in there?
I wasn’t in panic mode yet, but I was getting antsy and impatient. When I start feeling this way, I usually text Randy and ask him to pray for me. Since I couldn’t do that this time, I decided to put some of these thoughts in writing. And when I opened the notes feature on my phone, this is what popped up on the screen:
“The Lord will fight my battles for me; I need only be still.”
Apparently, a personalized version of Exodus 14:14 was the last thing I had jotted down in my phone notes awhile back, and now here it was—just when I needed it.
I wrote about the conversation I’d had with the talkative lady, my earlier expectations about my waiting-room experience, and how the verse I just read had “hit me right in the feels,” as Randy likes to say. Finally, this:
“Whatever is going on in the cath lab, God is with me. He is with Randy. He will fight the battle for us. We need only be still. I feel at peace. I just want to hear from the nurse.”
That was around 11:30 a.m. At noon, the doctor (not the nurse) came into the waiting room to tell me he was done. The job was more extensive than expected, but it went well, he said.
Randy came home the next day. While the procedure seems to have worked, there a few lingering issues that need to be addressed. But that’s OK.
We ain’t scared, remember?