previews of coming distractions
I’m not yet quite at ease with this new world onto which I have been dropped. Its gravity makes me hypotensive; its atmosphere at times is hard to breathe. I’m accustomed to more freedom, and it seems that I am to be tethered to purveyors of health safeguards. Real simply, I want to go home, but the mothership blew up.
I happened upon a free online movie this afternoon, His Girl Friday, with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. It wasn’t well synchronized, and looked dubbed, but it was fairly entertaining, transporting me from an acute episode of the reelies.
I reeled again this afternoon, learning that adrenal failure isn’t, after all, a simple pill-a-day thing. Chatting with my pharmacist, I learned that once I go on hydrocortisone, it’s only the beginning. There will be regular blood draws at a local lab to monitor the hormone until I am stabilized, then less frequent blood monitoring ever after. Some lucky young endocrinologist will be on retainer for life when my present one retires. Suddenly my husband and I can’t chuck it all and go be survivalists in the woods. God’s highest and best use of us is not there.
Just as I was about to make my dinner, I had a brief but unnerving episode of labored breathing. My ears were ringing and I simply couldn’t catch my breath. All the how-tos for Addisonian crisis are geared to people already on hydrocortisone and who have instructions on file for how much they need in a crisis. All I could think was, This can’t be that because I’m not on hydrocortisone yet and I have no instructions on file.
I checked my blood glucose and it was 99, so I knew I was nowhere near any kind of crisis, but brains and low cortisol can conspire in weird ways. I was breathing much too fast and hard, and afraid I would hyperventilate. But my mind stayed with me and I went into overdrive, emailed my husband, who has been a SCUBA instructor, and followed his instructions. I cupped my hand over my nose and mouth until enough carbon dioxide was present that I could breathe normally again. It’s a good variation on the paper bag trick for claustrophobics. He said if that didn’t work, to do a counterintuitive thing: hold my breath for 20 or 30 seconds. This will usually restore normal breathing; divers are taught this. Crisis belayed. I have a very low drama threshold.
We got an email update yesterday from a missionary whose labors we follow and uphold in prayer. He describes trudging through deep mud in a dense jungle, greeting people who have never seen white faces before in four unwritten languages, his joy palpable and infectious. He said, “You know you’re exhausted when you quit pulling off the leeches.” Go, brother.
This brother’s words and attitude mean everything to me. We don’t measure the days of our lives by the lengths of the tethers we’re given. What matters is that we keep pulling off the leeches.