GENDUSA COLUMN: Those watershed moments

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, September 20, 2023

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I am writing to you from a room that needs refreshing. The paint color is not horrible, but some of it is gone.  I would get right to work if I had a bucket of good latex. However, applying putty to fill many nail holes and climbing a ladder from a hospital bed is problematic. When one is imprisoned and chained to hoses, wires, and whatever that thing is above me, forget doing anything.  Trust me, I tried escaping, but sirens blared, and police dressed in scrubs quickly cuffed me. Darn.

Everything was just fine Saturday morning after a great night’s sleep. My day was planned to the minute. First, I would exercise with the girls in my garage gym, change bed lines, do laundry, and wash my hair.  I couldn’t wait till the evening when I was to meet old friends at a charity benefit. 

However, I never returned to the house to accomplish a thing. I, instead, made it to the back of an ambulance with a handsome young paramedic named Ian.

The last minutes of our exercise routines usually require mat work. After doing a few without a problem, I suddenly became faint. Couldn’t get my head together to save my life. I would almost pass out whenever the girls tried to sit me up.  My friends and husband grabbed a blood pressure cuff to check the numbers. 

I don’t have high blood pressure, but for some strange unknown reason, it decided to blast to the moon for a visit with ET. Trust me, rocket rides are not for the faint of heart … literally. 

So, Ian and his ambulance, a fire truck, and a few strange men and women found themselves at my gym. Poor things lifted me onto a gurney, and I pray they have a stash of Ben Gay in their homes. 

Uh-Oh! Now, folks were coming at me with needles, machines, dye, and other contraptions I cannot explain.  I learned quickly that a patient defying the norm requires many tests. I now have sincere empathy for the mighty lab rat. 

Doctor after doctor asked the same questions; they seemed more bumfuzzled each time. One brilliant one said it could be related to “old age.” He is now in the room beside me, suffering from well-placed punches.  “Sorry ‘bout that, Doctor Young’un.” 

No, it doesn’t appear I will be “moving on up to the deluxe apartment in the sky” just yet, but who knows when our show will be canceled. I understand now that most things we go through have a purpose. 

Life is full of watershed moments, and this could be one. I have always been a strong caretaker, and the thought of needing aid was unthinkable. Nope, it will never happen; I was invincible. Why else would I keep lifting weights?

To tell me to slow down is perfectly ridiculous, but for a minute or two, the scrub police say I must. Darn.

But, alas, I realize I am the same as everyone else. We can fall, fail, fumble, or faint at any moment. And when we do, we need help, even when we hate to ask. 

I know life does not last forever, but when there are wires, tubes, and peeling paint around you, it puts an exclamation point on it. So, we must live it to the fullest while we are well enough to do so. And never take the air we breathe or the people we love for granted. 

Appreciation and empathy are born from experiences and mainly from the bad ones. I now have an intense desire to free a lab rat. 

As I stare at the ceiling tiles, I hope at the end of my life journey, I find someone’s life was touched by my words, been forgiven by those I hurt, and tossed a dose of kindness into the air. Most of all, I pray that God smiles when He greets me at the deluxe apartment in the sky. 

So, this whole experience humbles me to remember that I am but a speck on earth, like everyone else who exists for a moment in time. We must live, love, and learn till the end and make our hours count for the good of all.

“How do you know what is happening tomorrow? For the length of our lives is as uncertain as the morning fog… now you see it; soon it is gone.” James 4:14