My cardiac rehab story… Chapter 2 – Sweet Sleep. NOT.

[I won’t be posting multiple chapters on most days, but I have a bit of a backlog as I’ve written eleven chapters and just started posting them this week. And Chapter 1 was another intro of sorts. Anyway, here you are.]

Initially, I was lying in bed propped up as if in a hospital bed. When my mouth was closed my breathing would slow and I felt anxious – afraid that my breathing would stop. What made this scary was my appreciation of the fact that what I was experiencing was mechanical and not psychosomatic. I wasn’t imaging that my breathing was slowing; it was slowing.

Of course, this was complicated with my knowledge that there was still some excess fluid still resident in my lungs. During and after my heart attack, my heart had been less efficient moving my blood through my lungs and the heart chambers. This led to a build up of fluid in the lower part of the lungs. I was taking Furosemide (Lasix) which is known as a “water pill” to aid in reducing the fluid in the body that had build up due to heart failure. So, I was taking 20 mg per day which meant I was making more trips to the bathroom, but I was breathing better. The end did justify the means in this case.

Eventually, I gave up on the bed and tried the recliner in Justin’s room, but that was more similar to a bed than a chair. I was beginning to see that any time my posture was slumping toward reclining that there was added pressure on my breathing. I suppose my hunt became a bit like the story of “Goldilocks and The Three Bears” when Goldie was trying to find a “just right” bed to sleep in. And, like Goldie, my third try was successful.

The chair in our den where I ended up sleeping.
The chair in our den where I ended up sleeping.

I ended up in our den sitting in a winged-back Princess Anne leather chair with a pillow on each side of my lower torso and leaning my head against a “wing” of the chair. This is similar to how I had slept the previous night in our hotel room in Montreal.

While learning to give thanks to God’s Spirit for the comfort and healing being wrought in my body, I wondered anew what all of this meant for my life expectancy, my vocation and my family. Taking my anxiety to God refreshed me enough to allow few sweet hours of sleep. I was so glad to have been given the gifts of intimacy and prayer that had grown in my relationship with God over the past few years. I don’t know how I would’ve survived those times of solitude before we fall asleep at night and are tempted to worry and loose perspective. Understanding that our monologues can be dialogues with our Creator gives oxygen to our metaphorical hearts that is just as vital as the O2 that our physical heart and brain needs. Being reminded that I am part of a larger story is a comfort that resonates deep within my soul.

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Jimmy Locklear

One seeking to live from his heart as a follower of Jesus. Son, husband, father, friend. Writer, marketing and fundraising strategist. Veteran of corporate, agency, and high impact organizations.