May 19, 2020 at 8:47 pm • Posted in UncategorizedNo comments yet

On Friday morning, I woke up before 6am and could not fall back asleep, so after a while, I went downstairs. I got a drink and sat down to work on my computer in my recliner. At 6:40 I started feeling intense pains in my chest. It was an 8 out of 10 to start and really the only other time I have had that much pain was after a knee surgery where the anesthesiologist did not do a block on my leg where they had snapped by bone.

I text my wife Jessica right away to let her know I was having chest pains. She was downstairs just minutes later. I was laying on the floor by that time. 

I am the one to handle medical things in our house. I grew up with a dad who was an EMT and in the volunteer fire department. I had spent much of my childhood there and learned a lot through drills too. All my years as a pastor along with 7 surgeries between 30 and 40 and I had become quite comfortable with medical stuff. I have always done well in crisis. When the kids are hurt or sick, I play doctor. Blood, broken arms, no problem, Vomit, now that is a different story. Jessica and my daughter Abby will both tell you they don’t do so well with medical stuff. So, when Jessica got downstairs, she asked me, ‘what do I do.’ I responded saying, ‘nothing right now, but if I pass out, call 911 right away.’ I would later think to reminder her where the wills were located…

Of course, Jessica got right on the old interwebs to find out what was wrong. At least she got on Mayo and didn’t google it. I knew something was wrong, I was just trying to figure out how big it was. I don’t go to the hospital unless I am sure I have to, especially considering we are in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic. After 40 minutes of intense pain with only 5 second breaks here and there I knew it was time to get a second opinion. Moving and changing position made no change, so I asked Jessica to call my doctor. At this point, talking and breathing were harder and the pain moved into my shoulder, neck and arm. 

After asking a series of questions, my doctors office told us to call 911. Not to be outdone, I asked if we could just have Jessica drop me off. I was trying to figure out still if I really needed to go and if it would be better for my health and wallet if I were to go via ambulance or have Jessica drop me off. They said she could take me if we left right away. 

After Jessica got off the phone I decided that I should take my blood pressure. My apple watch was showing my heart rate at this point to be in the 190-210 range. I was not sure how accurate it was (turns out, 100% accurate). I laid down to do my blood pressure while Jessica used the restroom. Multiple attempts, battery changes, both arms and all I got was an error message. No bueno. 

I got dressed and prepared for a trip. I went downstairs to sit in my recliner to wait for Jessica. Micah had gotten back out of bed (he had been on the couch and moved upstairs due to my screaming). Jessica came down. I looked at her and as if I was ordering a pizza said, ‘its time to call 911.’

Jessica does not do well with medical stuff.

She stayed on the line with 911 and Micah went out to meet the ambulance. Abby was still asleep as it was before 8 and that was best because she would be a mess. Jessica did wake her up after the ambulance got there.

The medics arrived and the 3 of them came in and hooked me up to the heart monitor to get an EKG right away. When the three of them looked at the print out, their faces said it all. Something was not right. 

They were fantastic and one of them eventually said, ‘hey, don’t I know you?’ Story of my life.

My heart rate was 210. They started the IV right there and tried to get it down using a variety of exercises. Nothing. 

I thought for a moment, ‘hey, this might be it.’ I gave Jesus a shoutout in my head to let him know that this was not my preferred timing. Not even massive chest pain stops me from having an opinion!

Jessica went up to wake up Abby and the head medic stepped out to call the issue in. The other medics explained that they were going to give me a medicine and it was going to hurt bad. It would likely stop my breath. It was a medicine that would instantly restart my heart, much like rebooting a computer. They said it was needed to reset the electrical system. I’m always up for an adventure but was annoyed that at the time in my adult life when I was the healthiest physically minus about 15-20 pounds that this was happening. We decided not to explain all this to Jessica. The third medic did not hear that and would later explain it to her and the kids. I later told Micah he missed out on pushing the button for the restart. Thats how he and I roll. 

The pushed the med through the IV. That was an experience to say the least. I felt every moment of it as it moved up my arm, across the shoulder and down into my heart. Each step had a very different feeling. Quite and experience. There was no doubt when it hit my heart. I told my best friend it was like having someone inside my heart firing a nail gun at random. I could not scream, that would have sent Jessica and Abby into a meltdown. I have never felt anything like it for sure. Within second of hitting my heart I was back to feeling almost normal (*normal for me!). Just a little soreness. It dropped my heart rate down to 140 instantly. 

I walked out to the driveway to get on the stretcher to take my trip to the hospital where I would spend 6 hours getting tests and it took 5 hours to get any food or drink! I saw the cardiologist who explained the condition and that it was somewhat a fluke thing. No damage. No heart attack. No structural issues. An electrical issue. My heart decided to take a different path for its electrical than the normal path. If that does not scream #onlyYouMarcus, I am not sure what does.

Since then I have been mostly fine. Taking half of a low dose med and have some ‘just to be safe’ tests later this week. It may never happen again. It may happen again. If it happens a lot more, it means a minor surgery. In the meantime, minus being tired for 3 days and sore for a day and a half, its back to life as normal. 

An hour after getting home I was on my usual 3.5 mile walk. Jessica came with me to babysit since she was convinced I would drop dead, a fact that Micah and I still like to make jokes about. #onlyYouMarcus #Genetics

I am thankful for access to medical care, the great medical team with the ambulance and at Parkview Regional. At no point did I feel fear. In all this transition of job, life, Covid-19 and more, I have had my moments, but since mid February, I have found for 90% of the time, a peace that passes all understanding. I of course want to drink at my grandkids wedding, but I also live without any regrets knowing that I have done all I can to make the most of this thing called life. It was just another opportunity to be thankful for my family, my close friends, my church and this amazing life I get to lead. 

Just another adventure.

Yet another story.

It will make great sermon material and a few more #onlyYouMarcus posts.