Thursday, November 11, 2010

Of Doctors, Viruses and Guardian Angels

Yesterday morning I drove my typical carpool to school. The kids have been sick and so, my eldest daughter decided to skip swim practice to rest up and recuperate. I got to drive to school at 7:30am instead of 5:30am as a result. But, that always puts me in rush hour traffic on the way back from school, making the drive twice as long coming home.

My plan was to come home and catch up a bit myself. On the long and quiet drive home, ideas flooded my brain for future writing projects. They were spinning through my head like a torrent. I wished I wasn't driving so I could have written them all down. So I called upon my guardian angel:  "Guardian angel, help me remember these ideas, please." I decided not to worry and continue to let my mind swirl with ideas; I would be home soon to jot them down.

We all know what comes of  our "best laid plans", they often get derailed. And, so it was for me. Before I was even able to sit at my desk to put fingers to keys, the phone rang. It was the younger girls' school calling.

Palpitations, I heard. Chest pain. "Do you want to speak to her?"

"Of course." I said, and had a brief but thorough conversation with my daughter.

She seemed responsive and not in pain at that moment. Yet, this wasn't the typical phone call from the school nurse.

I ended that conversation and quickly began another with the advice nurse at our doctor's office.

"She needs to be seen."

"OK -- I'll be there in 20 min," I said resolutely.

Off to school -- I called them en route to give instructions from the doctor to keep her calm.

We headed to the doctor -- which, of course, had no convenient parking space. So, I had to walk the child from the Back 40 to the entrance of the building.

"Mama, I'm tired."

"Almost there." (I should have grabbed my son's wheelchair, it would have been mighty helpful.)

The doctor said everything looked normal, but ordered a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia/pneumothorax. Chest x-ray means walking the child from the doctor's office to the hospital radiology department, or walking her to the Back 40 again, and driving her 50 yd. to the hospital entrance. Both were bad options -- we chose to walk to the hospital radiology department from the office. This would prove to be a good decision.

X-ray completed -- X-ray normal -- we headed back to the doctor's office.

On the way:

"Mama, I'm hungry."

Stop at the vending machines. Search the purse. No money.

"I'm sorry kiddo. I don't have any change." I said a little prayer to my guardian angel.

"That's OK, Mama," she reassured me, "I'm OK."

"Here's a couple of dollars," a strangers pronounces. "I throw dollar bills away." (Guardian angel moment?)

"I'd like to have your trash," I think, chuckling to myself. I tried to decline. The stranger placed the money in my hand. Stunned by her generosity, I offered to pray for her needs. "World peace," she suggested.

"You bet!" -- I asked right then and there. (I hope she gets her prayer answered.)

We started off again to the doctor's office after getting a small snack. As I'm reflecting with my girl about the kindness we had just received; what a grace and witness to people's ability to do good she says:

"Mama, my chest is pounding!"

We stop. I felt her chest. She's right, it was pounding hard, but only for a moment.

"I feel light headed," she said.

"Oh dear, help us again please, guardian angel!" I thought to myself. "Just a little more to go, kiddo," I encouraged her.

Finally at the office, I recounted our little adventure on the way back from radiology.

Doctor got on the phone. Cardiologist office made appointment.

This is getting more involved than I anticipated -- more involved than I am prepared for.

"Keep her calm and reassured," I reminded myself. "Help me guardian angel, just one more time."

We made tracks to the cardiologist. (Counter intuitive stop for lunch at fast food drive through first! I was  starving.  Kiddo ate lunch packed for school. Smarter choice, I should have shared.)

Cardiologist office was efficient -- in a room almost immediately. EKG was normal, blood pressure was normal, pulse was normal. Kiddo looked pale and weak.

The doctor entered the room. Big smile, nice man. He introduced himself to kiddo first, asked about her school uniform and her day -- totally put her at ease. He looked to kiddo for description of her symptoms, then, he started to talk to me.

The color drained from kiddo's face, she stared off into space.

"Are you OK, kiddo?" I asked, a bit alarmed.

The doctor looked over. "Lie down." he said gently and elevated her legs.

We were not crazy -- all the tests were normal, but she almost passed out right in front of the doctor. I was really concerned now. "Thank you guardian angel, he needed to see that."

A heart monitor for 24 hrs.was ordered. Limited activity; log events of chest pain and palpitations. This is probably all a response to a virus -- a virus that is effecting her autonomic nervous system. It should resolve on its own. It's better to monitor as a precaution.

We headed for home in rush hour traffic -- just exhausted after 5 hrs of doctors and tests. "Help guardian angel, please get me through this traffic and home quickly."

There were two of us in the car. HOV 2 was in effect. I got in the HOV lane and off we went! We arrived home, during rush hour, from the cardiologist office almost 15 miles from my home in 20 min. Unheard of!

We entered the house to share the story of this great adventure, and show off the nifty piece of monitoring equipment stuck to kiddo's chest. I listened. I pondered the days events. In retrospect, I'm sure this was the perfect plan for me -- lessons in charity, trust, prayer and service.

"Thank you guardian angel -- you've worked hard today." I smiled. "Just one more thing, can you please ask for this aliment go away quickly? Thanks again!"

Prayer to the Guardian Angels

Angel of God, My Guardian Dear;
to whom God's love commits me here.
Ever this day be at my side;
to light and guard and rule and guide.


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