Saturday is “Moving Day” in the context of professional golf’s typical four-day tournament, Thursday and Friday are used to whittle down the field of players to the final 40 or so who will play the two weekend rounds. Everyone who fails to make the cut goes home. Saturday is called “Moving Day” because it is the day when competitors try to set themselves us for the final push on Sunday.
There are a couple of similarities for me on this Saturday. Moving out of CCU is very likely according to the nurses and doctors I had seen so far. And moving to a semi-private room means I was one step closer to being discharged and one step closer to returning home to Atlanta. The implications of changing rooms and eventually being discharged were the dominant themes for the day. It must be similar to the golfer fielding questions about where he needs to be on Sunday in order to have a chance to win the tournament. But he hasn’t even played the 18 holes scheduled for today! One thing at a time, please.
Curt was trying to get a new plane reservation to fly to Atlanta on Saturday evening or Sunday, but there were long wait times on the phone. Eventually, he took a taxi to the airport and made a reservation for Sunday at 1:00 PM. Curt had been a great support and friend to me when I really needed him to help me. I thanked him for everything as he left my room that afternoon.
I had changed the station on the radio that Lind had secured for me. All day Saturday there was classical music filling the background in my room. The music reminded me of beauty being born of suffering as I recalled the struggles that had filled the lives of many composers. Perhaps beauty could come from my pain.
I had received an email message from my friend and fellow elder Brian Terrell saying that he was going to be making an announcement during the worship service on Sunday morning at our church. He had expressed his shock and disbelief upon receiving my email on the 10th that I had sent to elders and pastors at my church. Later in the day I sent an email with the following prayer requests:
- Thankful for wonderful care at hospital in Montreal
- Safe travel for Jenny & Jameson to Montreal on Sunday
- Good discharge from hospital on Monday
- Smooth flight home on Tuesday.
It all seemed so simple.
Again, I was told in the afternoon that I would probably have to leave my CCU room and move to the Cardiology section that was two floors up later that day. I would likely go to a semi-private room with one other patient. The hospital was experiencing high emergency demand with a flu epidemic and the usual influx of sick people on the weekend.
Rev. Terry Gyger was an old friend of mine who had spent many years helping folks plant new churches in major cities around the world. Terry had recently “retired” from a position as president of Redeemer City To City based in New York. He and his wife Dorothy had been using Atlanta as home base and now Terry would be working from there as well. He was helping my church in our transitions and we had just made the decision to hire him as our Interim Senior Pastor prior to my trip to Montreal. Thus, he was on my distribution when I emailed the Intown folks about my heart attack. Terry contacted a pastor friend of his who lived in Montreal to let him know of my situation. Consequently, I received a call that morning from Rev. Jean Zoellner who was traveling back to Montreal from Ottawa and wanted to come see me this evening. I was delighted to hear from him and looked forward to his visit. He came by after dinner and we had a refreshing and encouraging time. He lived in a South Montreal neighborhood with a L’Arche community. The L’Arche folks had converted a church into a day program center and the rectory was now the L’Arche residential house.
Since I now had my suitcase, backpack and a plastic bag of clothes (think large bag including boots and a winter coat – Montreal in January, remember!) that I had worn to the ER, moving me to another unit would not be a simple feat. However, around 10:00 PM, the nurse told me to go to sleep because they had not heard anything. After expecting to move all day, I was wondering what was going to happen. She said, “We’re keeping you here as long as we can because we know we are better when you are here.”
I was so struck by her comment that I immediately entered it into the notepad in my iPhone. I was not sure exactly what she meant, but I liked the sentiment.
Finally, at 11:40 PM, a couple of nurses and an orderly came in and said that it was time to move.
We gathered all my stuff, decided to toss my 3 different oxygen masks, and I sat in a mega wheeled chair and we were off. It reminded me of a Jeff Foxworthy story about his family going to Hawaii. I think he called it, “The Clampetts Go On Vacation.” When the elevator door opened to the 4th Floor I thought I had crossed into the tropics. The air was thick and hot. Where was I? There were even beds in the hallway and it was dark and seemed foggy, though I expect that was my brain having been awakened during my first rim cycle of sleep.
Soon, we reached my new room. It was smaller and there was sleeping person on the other side of the curtain. I got into a harder, flatter bed. It was nosier with new nurses who insisted on checking my vital signs and connecting me to an older, heavier transmitter for monitoring my heart activity. Unfortunately, I was not able to get much sleep that night.
Moving Day was finally over. It had been a really terrific day, but the ending minutes gave me even greater desire for Home.