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A Change of Plans

Did you ever have your day planned out and suddenly all bets are off and you discover much to your chagrin, your plans have changed?

Well, it happened to me recently on a Sunday morning. Below is my journal entry from the day I got out of the hospital.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 7:11 AM

A Glimpse Into the Heart (cardiac)

The technician was of the friendly sort; originally from Arkansas, with just a bit of deep south accent.

I was in the hospital for an echocardiogram, a type of ultrasound for the heart. The technician was explaining to me, patiently, what he was doing and how the machine worked.

I had ended up in the hospital because I woke up with chest pressure and shortness of breath. I attributed the symptoms to my environmental allergies and asthma, both of which are usually under control.

But on this particular Sunday morning they were not and the shortness of breath concerned me and concerned my wife. I did not argue with her too much when she said we should go to the emergency room.

The emergency room doctor was undecided as to what was going on with me. I felt better after a breathing treatment dealt with the shortness of breath. Still, the doctor felt he needed to rule out heart issues and I ended up spending the day and the next in the hospital for testing. The echocardiogram was the last of the tests I had to go through.

Echocardiogram 4chambers

Not mine, but gives you an idea. Echocardiogram 4chambers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I confess that I had some low-level anxiety. You end up answering a lot of the same questions and many of the questions relate to family history. In my case, they wanted to know about heart problems.

I just turned 59 a few weeks ago and had in the back of mind that my great-grandfather had died at the age of 54 and that my grandfather died at the age of 59. I consoled myself with the fact that my father broke the trend and lived to be 78 before he passed on.

Nevertheless, there is something sobering about being in the hospital and being tested for heart problems that gets you thinking about what could come next.

The fact that my trip to the hospital was unexpected and unplanned was unnerving. Most of us go through life thinking we are in control and just go through life with our daily routine. In my case I was getting ready to go to church on Sunday morning like I always do when God reminded me that ultimately he was in control and that my plans are subject to his.

I thought of what it might be like to die, but honestly, I spent more time thinking about how my wife would make out should the good Lord decide that my time here on earth was up. I was satisfied that she would be taken care of and didn’t spend in ordinate amount of time thinking I would die.

Maybe it was a denial; a kind of mental insulation or a delusion that told me I was still in control.

Whatever it was, the echocardiogram procedure brought me face-to-face with ultimate reality.

This image was selected as a picture of the we...

This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Farsi Wikipedia for the 46th week, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The technician was knowledgable. He rattled off numerous statistics about the heart. I learned that the heart beat about 100,000 times a day. The tech encouraged me to do the math on what that meant to someone who lived to age 80 and I confessed to not being a math whiz and so said it must be in the billions. He said, that was his point and how he was in awe of the organ called the heart.

He went on to say that the heart was an organ that functioned even while forming in the womb. I guess I knew that but never really considered just how magnificent and amazing the heart is. He used to word “fetus” instead of baby when he explained it and I wondered why.

After all, the heart functions even while forming suggests something more than a fetus just as the heart itself suggests something more than a blind evolutionary process.

The technician had me turn over to face the machine. I was going to be able to watch the whole process on the monitor. I must admit it took me a moment or two to comprehend the fact I was watching my heart beat on live TV. My first thought was, gee this is kind of creepy.

Yet, it was fascinating as the technician moved the wand probe around my chest to find the spots he was recording. I could clearly see my heart do its thing time after time relentlessly pumping, keeping me alive. I thought how weird it would be if my heart suddenly stopped while I was watching it!

The tech explained that the wand gave out 3,000,000 impulses per second in order to produce the detailed image we both were looking at. He was impressed with the technology as was I.

Yet, as he further explained the technology my eyes returned to my heart. I was amazed as he looked at my heart from every angle. Colors of red, blue, yellow and orange would occasionally erupt as he moved the wand. He explained their meaning but I confess I forgot what he said as I was mesmerized by watching my heart function.

Finally, the technician stopped explaining the technology and said something like he was amazed by the organ we call the heart and how he loved his work.

I said something like we are often fascinated by outer space but often do not realize the miracles within our inner spaces.

My thoughts turned to my Creator and what he just allowed me to see. He had allowed me to see his handiwork. It was almost like he was saying to me, be impressed with the technology you see but be more impressed with how I created you and your beating heart. I could not help to think of Jeremiah 1:5.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
And before you were born I consecrated you;
I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5 NASB)

Shortly after the technician left the nurse came in to tell me that the prior stress test was fine. She went on to say I could go home and that the results of the echocardiogram would be sent to my primary doctor.

I know now first hand why pro-choice advocates reject the idea of a mandatory ultrasound for pregnant women considering abortion. It has nothing to do with rights and everything to do with the fact that seeing life on the ultrasound is powerful, visual evidence not only of life but evidence of intelligent design and a Creator whose technology dwarfs ours by comparison.

Anyone with a functioning conscience would have a hard time denying the miracle of life and that’s why pro-abortion advocates don’t want anyone to see first hand the a heart that is functioning and yet still forming.

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