Live always at the edge of poetic possibilty, even in the face of severe prose. - Walter Bruggemann

Friday, January 4, 2008

I've Converted!

It’s true. Just this past week on Wednesday evening a subtle shift happened. New life had come upon me and I am forever thankful.

OK. Before some of you wring your hands and beat your chests in sadness and dismay, and, before others of you raise your arms and hands joyously in triumphalism, let me explain….

On Sunday I was rushed by Magen David Adom Emergency services to Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem. This is not exactly how I had planned my Sunday. I was going to do all of the things that I didn’t accomplish on Saturday because I spent Saturday in bed. Atrial Fibrillation acting up again. Except this was a little different than the occasional flip flops of my heart. I kept thinking tomorrow this will all be gone.

Except it wasn’t. I couldn’t stand up without getting dizzy and my breathing patterns were less than normal. I managed to get next door to my neighbor’s apartment who immediately got her coat, ran upstairs and hailed a cab. I decided to lay down right there on the sidewalk! She got me to the closest medical center that gave me oxygen, did an EKG, did quick blood work, and then called for an ambulance. They said I didn’t have a heart attack. Can I tell you though; I refused to even think that I had had a heart attack. What were they thinking??

By 10:30 am on Sunday I was admitted as a patient to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in the emergency room. Quickly I was hooked up to a heart monitor that showed my heart rate topping 160. YIKES! It should be 70! They moved quickly and started an IV with meds, gave me the first of many more injections to my abdomen. Yes, as a matter of fact it was painful. But I was breathing easier and my heart rate had come down to 135-140. Not perfect, but better. They were hoping that my heart, with the added medication on top of what I normally take, would convert back to a normal rate.

No such luck. By 9:00 pm that night they started an 18 hour IV drip and I was moved to the Observation ward. Which means of course that I wasn’t going to get tasks done on Sunday that I thought I was going to get done. Fast forward 18 hours. Drip done, heart rate 130. I’ll spare you the few choice words that I was thinking. I couldn’t even say them there since SZ serves the needs of the religious community, Jews, Christians and Muslims.

At 3:00 pm on Monday they took me to the Jesselson Heart Center on the 10th floor of SZ. I was settled in a big room with two women. They kept trying different meds, increased amounts of meds to no avail. My heart rate went down to 120 but then zoomed back up to 140. OY. On Tuesday they had decided that if my heart didn’t convert to normal sinus rhythm they would have to intervene with a transesophageal echocardiogram – which sounds really nasty and a cardio version.

NOOOOOOOOOOO. Damn, that’s the shock paddles. Truthfully, I’m really surprised that I didn’t go into cardiac arrest right there in the Jesselson Center. So, I settled down for the night, after my injection in the abdomen. Yes, by now I’ve got bruises.
Sometime on Wednesday, late at night, I converted. My heart rate was 76. They were so happy. I was ecstatic. No need for the transwhatchamacallit or the cardio conversion. I was finally sprung on Thursday at 2:30 pm. I’m feeling fine now and very thankful for life.

The medical system is very advanced in Israel and I was in competent hands at all times. From the cardiologists, nurses, aides, everyone extended to me their utmost care. I’m most grateful to my neighbor who, on a Sunday morning responded to my needs and who visited every evening after her classes at rabbinical school.

So, this is why there have been no blog entries the past few days. I debated putting a blog on of this nature, but, what the heck, for a pastor it’s a great conversion story! L’heim!

PS: Dr. K in the US, my medical reports will be coming to you in a while – brush up on your


Nan said...

Wow - so glad to hear about the conversion! I had missed your blog posts these past few days and am so glad you are doing better. What a sidetrip, indeed! Thank God for advanced medicine and quick thinking neighbors!

robert said...

Well said. Love you, the family crier with a big heart.

Krista said...

Hi Susan-- first let me say that I'm glad you are ok & your heart & life are back to a normal rhythm. Second, let me re-introduce myself to you in case you forgot. My name is Krista. I'm a UCC pastor from Missouri-- we were introduced by Sister Ruth and had dinner together at General Synod-- in fact, you were kind enough to give me a ride so I didn't have to walk so far with me blistered feet. Remember? Any way, Sister Ruth sent me the link to your blog and I've really enjoyed reading through your entries and looking at the pictures. I should be writing my sermon for tomorrow, but since it was exactly a year ago today that I was in Israel for my first visit, I was feeling a need for an "Israel fix". Your blog has helped to satisfy that craving. Thanks! Hope you continue to have a good experience in this adventure of a lifetime. Peace, Krista

HAH said...

Well, what a way to start the new year! We are so glad that you are back home and feeling better. Please tell your neighbor thanks from us too! What a good samaritan!

Hope you are resting and your heart rate back to normal. You know, it figures that your heart rate went skyrocketing. You have such a huge heart, and are in such love with Israel, your heart wanted to let you know, hey, I am excited too!

Fell better. Keep us posted.
Heather and Nanette

chuck said...

Now you are REALLY giving me gray hair! Glad to hear you are better. Wish you weren't so very far away.
Happy New Year from the hot tub kidz. xoxoC&M

Suzanne said...

Thank you all so much for your love and support. I wish you all could have been here....even my blog friends. Your prayers lift me up and heal in the most wonderful ways.