For ten days I was sick. Well, in all honesty I had been very ill for some time, and it was worsening at a rate that my nurse’s training kept telling me was, well, not good. But for the last ten days I have felt like I could be dying, and my worry turned into alarm. I began to prepare myself, and I told John with frank honesty how many symptoms I was having. I had not ever told him before, because I did not wish him to worry, but John of course, was a witness to all this suffering, as my lungs filled with fluid, and my body began to shut down. He can attest to how truly ill I was. His own worry and apprehension deepened, and the concern in his eyes troubled me, I could not breathe laying down, I was coughing up horrendous amounts of mucus, my belly began to swell, my heart was constantly irregular, I was weak and could barely stand. At one point I almost fell, and fell against the sink in the bathroom, knocking a seal loose on the pipe of the sink. I thought: My heart is failing. This is end stage Congestive Heart Failure.
Yesterday on Christmas Day, I told John that if I made it through the day, and I was still feeling as I was, that I would go to the hospital. Those of you who know me well, know that I loathe doctors and hospitals. It is annoying, inconvenient and expensive to be ill. I avoid going to the doctor unless I feel I am dying. But I felt I was dying. I made it through the day but in the evening I told John: I cannot make it, we must go now. An urgency filled me, a sense of panic almost and my only thought was: Get to the Hospital NOW. I prodded John once: Hurry John. He was so moved by my sense of urgency, his own deepened, and he almost ripped the phone cord out of the wall as he grabbed his phone and shoved it in his pocket and rushed to the door. I had grabbed my purse and stuck on a coat — I did not even put on shoes. I stumbled to the car, holding onto John for support. I felt at any moment my heart might stop. Once in the car I told John my sense of urgency was because I believed I was dying and I was afraid it would happen in the house and he would not be able to carry me to the car. But if I was at least in the car, then they could pull me out at the hospital.
We got to the hospital and I told them: I may be having a heart attack. They hurried to help me and put me in a room and began the routine of triage for heart failure. I told them: please call a priest. They stuck me with needles, opened a port, put me on the monitor, drew blood for the lab. I told John: get my rosary. He ran to the car, got my purse and pulled out my rosary. I held it in my hands and leaned back and began to pray: Our Father, who art in heaven….
As I lay on the exam table, every so often would whisper instructions to John. “I want no Heroics.” “We are taking care of that.” he replied. Again I laid back, peace began to wash over me. I whispered: “I trust any decision Mysi will make, please tell her this.” He composed a text to send her, read it to me, and I approved it, adding merely: No heroics. No tubes. No shocks. He sent the text.
As they continued to run tests the peace continued to wash over me til my voice was a weak whisper every time I had to reply. It was not the same type of whispering as before, however —the struggling to breathe to speak that had been happening the last few months as I struggled for air, It was a whisper that was as one asleep and in a glorious dream who awakens for a moment and then falls into peaceful rest. I asked God: Am I dying? Is this death?
I leaned back and suddenly I saw around me a glow and the presence of people and angels and I closed my eyes and I could feel tears streaming down my face. John saw all this from his seat nearby. I told him quietly: “I think they gave me something. I am so peaceful. Perhaps they gave me Valium” (I found out later they had given me nothing up to that point, and only two baby aspirins after the doctor confirmed the x rays were normal). I honestly thought in the rush of bodies around me that they gave me something in the port to my veins they had opened on arrival to the room.
I held my rosary, began again the familiar prayers on the beads. “Hail Mary, full of Grace, The Lord is with thee….”
More and more I felt this head to toe warmth, as if I was in a fresh warm bath. I would on occasion try to glance behind my head to see the monitor, and each time I did, the greater desire to just rest in this wonderful warmth and peace overcame me.
Finally, the doctor entered and only confirmed what I already knew. “All the tests are normal. Her lungs are completely clear. Her heart is completely normal.” I said with a voice that when the words exited my mouth shocked me at their strength. It was a voice I knew. It was my old voice. The voice I had years ago before my heart had begun to fail. “You are certain?” I asked. John began to ask trivial questions, and at first I was annoyed, but I waited and again asked: “You are QUITE CERTAIN?” Then he began to blather about options to be sure but my mind was elsewhere. It was praising God. I turned to John. “John, did you see me when I began to cry?” He said yes. Then I explained. That was the moment John, when I felt the Holy Spirit begin to wash over me.
I began to laugh and I was certain anyone who heard it from outside the room probably thought there was a madwoman in the room. “What a GIFT!” I exclaimed several times, in between episodes of laughing. As I sat up I could breathe… deeply and clearly and it felt so good! I was in no pain, I felt strong. John returned after talking to the doctor and said: “They can either send you home or put you in a medical eval unit.” There was no need. I was well. I told John this.
To John I said: “It happened this way John, so you could witness it. It happened this way so that they would confirm it for me. It happened this way John, because it is Christmas.”
And to myself: It happened on a Thursday, the day on the rosary where we remember The Baptism in the Jordan, The Miracle at Cana, The Preaching of the Kingdom, The Transfiguration and the Holy Eucharist.
“I am well, I want to go Home.”
Some of you will believe this tale. Some will scoff. For some it will be a confirmation of their own belief and Faith in God. For me it was a Miracle. Witnessed and confirmed.
There is more to tell than this, of course. But I have been given the greatest gift of all on Christmas this year. A gift of the Holy Spirit.