My back hurt. A lot. And I shrugged it off as too much exercise. I lifted something heavy. I threw my spine out of whack.
But it kept hurting through ibuprofen. And more ibuprofen.
And I couldn't sleep one night.
My beloved pushed me to go to the ER. And I resisted. I didn't want someone thinking I was a pill seeker. And I didn't want to find out I was over=worrying about nothing.
But I went anyway.
I was in the waiting room with people who were bleeding and clearly sicker than I. I wanted to leave.
When I got into the triage room, my temperature was high. My breathing was shallow. And my heart rate was higher than it should have been.
(Of course, I thought to myself. I'm in pain.)
They thought it might be pneumonia.
They thought it might be gas.
But I couldn't sit still during the EKG. And the nurse who was trying to get off her shift got more and more upset with me.
My heart was fine. Just beating too fast.
I don't remember how fast it was. But it was fast enough that I became the star patient of the night.
There were a dozen people standing around me when the doctor said they wanted to stop my heart. You know, to calm it down.
I want to tell you that I panicked because that's a reasonable response. But I smiled, cracked a joke about how it would feel.
"Like the worst seven seconds of your life."
I turned and saw a respiratory therapist behind me...waiting to revive me, if needed.
I asked him if I would need him. He shrugged and said he was there just in case.
My husband had to stand far behind all of the specialists and I could tell he wanted to be by my side. I smiled at him and told him it would be okay.
They pushed the drug. We waited.
They decided to do another dose.
My unstoppable heart.
Drugs were injected to soothe my pain and that eventually got my heartrate down.
No answers yet.
I fell asleep. Strong pain meds will do that do you.
I woke up in a CT scanner. I had my arms above my head.
I woke up again in a room with my husband. I had to go to the bathroom, but I wasn't allowed to move. He got me a bucket and helped me pee.
We laughed. We joked. I dozed off.
The next day I was wheeled into a room and told I had clots all over my lungs. I could have died. I would have if I hadn't gone into the ER.
It was Brigid. And that's the moment I pledged to myself to live differently.
I want to say I was able to change things immediately, but that's not the way things work...for me, anyway.
But I am different.
I know the stubbornness of my heart.
I know the feeling of the edge.
I know grace in the scariest of times.
I bless the moment today.
I thank the moment today.
I take a deep breath.
"Forged in Flame: Creating a Reclaiming Beltane Ritual" - Creating Ritual issue of Witches and Pagans