Sunday morning I arrived at our church building without my wife, which almost never happens. When a friend asked me about her, I explained that we’d gone out to plant a plant in our back yard and that I’d had to quit because of pressure on my heart, which made Sharon finish by herself, leaving her without time to shower and get ready for Sunday School.
Since I’ve dealt with a couple of earlier bouts of atrial fibrillation, I was pretty sure that’s what my problem was. It’s not really a serious condition as long as my blood is thin enough to prevent clogging, which it is. The only real effects on me are shortness of breath, a lack of stamina, and a strange feeling in my chest.
Not knowing what my statement meant, this friend went to one of the teachers of my class and mentioned it to him. Next thing I knew, the teacher was leading me to the room where volunteer RN’s and LVN’s station themselves on Sunday mornings. He insisted that I sit in a comfortable chair and wait for a nurse to arrive. When she did, it took her only a few seconds to confirm that I was in atrial fibrillation. I thanked her and told her I’d dealt with it before and would call my cardiologist to see what he advised doing about it.
The condition itself is not the point of this post. Atrial fibrillation simply means that instead of contracting properly, an atrium is sorta fluttering and not pushing blood back into the ventricle as strongly as it should. Sometimes the blood left in the atrium from this will coagulate and form a clot, which is the only real danger from the condition. I’ve been taking warfarin for several years to prevent that, so there’s no real danger.
The situation Sunday morning has stayed on my mind, not because of any danger, but because of the concern of these people. I’ve said many times that Christians need to be in fellowship with other Christians—not just as part of a huge crowd in a church service, but in smaller groups or one-on-one sharing, where they can come to know one another and care in a more personal way than you can care for a face in a crowd.
When I mention this need for fellowship, I normally talk about it from the standpoint of building one another’s faith, but this incident reminded me of another very important benefit of fellowship. These men and I have come to know one another to the extent we each genuinely care. Whether or not I had an urgent need to see the nurse was not really all that important. The truly important thing is that the first man cared enough to tell the teacher, and the teacher cared enough to seek me out and lead me to where I could be seen by a medical professional.
Do you have Christian brothers and sisters with whom you share on an intimate enough basis that you truly know and care about them? People who would have taken you by the hand and led you to see a nurse in this situation whether you saw the need to or not?
If you abide in Me and My word abides in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
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Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.
David, I just read your e-mail. Has your heart gone back into normal arrhythmia ? I hope it has, and it is wonderful to know that your friends cared about you so much . We learn valuable lessons through many different ways. I hope to see you soon when Barb is there. Love, Jane
Got an EKG today, Jane. Normal.
You know I see the word “clot” and kind of freak out a little, right? I know the joys of warfarin *sarcasm* and I’m glad this is treatable. But holy, moly this post gave me a start.
Thanks for caring. It needs to be dealt with, but it’s nothing to be scared of. This is my third episode in the last 15 years. I think what you’ve been through is probably a lot more traumatic.
I especially have the loving support of my sweet husband David.