On Wednesday of this week I wrote of the importance of celebrating life’s moments when we are in the midst of them because they are transient and we never know when we might lose them. Less than two hours after I penned those words I received a call from my husband. He had fallen ill at work and needed me.
By the time I arrived at his office he was slumped over his desk vomiting violently and continuously. His clothes were so drenched in perspiration that it looked as though he had worn them into the shower. His skin was gray, his vision impaired and ears ringing. He was weak and dizzy and unable to stand even with my assistance.
When a fifty-year-old presents symptoms like these the first thought is the heart. I fed him an aspirin and got the ambulance on the way pushing aside any thoughts of heart attack other than the things I needed to do for him just in case. In the back of my mind I kept telling myself his heart is strong. I know it is. He is in great shape, has no bad health habits and eats a pristine diet. His heart is strong.
In the end the diagnosis was labyrinthitis, acute onset of a virally caused ear infection deep within the labyrinth of the ear canal. His experience was what they termed “the far end of the spectrum”. He was sedated to calm the convulsing waves of nausea and quietly lay shivering chilled from the exaggerated output of perspiration earlier. He looked smaller, more vulnerable than I was used to seeing him; battered but not broken. His heart is strong.
I sat looking at him in long stretches that day, and maybe really seeing him for the first time in a long time. Twenty-seven years of marriage and family life lulls you into complaciency. So many runs for eggs and milk. So many garbage days and utility payments. Things that must be done tend to trump things that ideally should be done. Our perspectives blur.
Twenty-seven years gives ample time to know a person’s habits. Things that once amused us tarnish with time losing their appeal. Silences that once were filled by dreaming of the future can empty over time becoming merely silence.
I watched him sleep and thanked God that his heart is strong. God spoke to me telling me we need a disturbance in the labyrinth of our marriage. By throwing us off balance He has given us the opportunity to reconnect beyond the busyness of day to day routines. We are meant to connect at the heart which we can do because our hearts are strong.