For the first time since I was an infant, I was in a hospital as a patient. In the past week I have been having problems with vertigo, dizziness, and on Sunday, intense chest pain. I had to say the words I never wish to hear; namely, "honey, take me to the emergency room now," and "hi! I think I am having a heart attack."
Oddly enough, just saying those words gave me some measure of peace. But these few words were probably the hardest words I have ever said.
After the dust has cleared, it appears that I did not have a heart attack, but that the heart was suffering the effects of high blood pressure on it. I am on medications to control my pressure, but I still feel weak as a newborn kitten. An MRI done of my brain confirmed what one of my partners always suspected, that there is nothing in there of any concern.
For the first time in my life, I got to experience a hospital from the other side. I never realized just how vulnerable one is as a patient, subject to midnight blood draws, blood pressure measurements, and the mysterious 4:30 wakeup to ask if I had had a bowel movement yet. Throw on top of that the sleepless times, filled with worries and fears about the future - more often about how I would provide for my family than about any future suffering. Add to that the recriminations about not exercising more and eating less, second-guessing my doctors, and just the constant question 'why?'
After much prayer, especially the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, it is apparent to my wife and I that while only God knows why He gave me this little cross, there are indications that He was preparing us for this little sidetrip. At the last moment in January, we changed plans for vacation and took our children to see Mother Angelica's cloistered nuns, and the Benedictine monks in Alabama. We then took our children to see my grandmother and my youngest brother in Florida, something which may never be possible again. A lot of what we did we may never do again as a family.
All the while, we treated this as a pilgrimage, begging God to send us more children.
God always answers these requests in His own way. The last time we stormed Heaven with prayers with this intensity and purpose was in 2004, when we were praying for the Little Flower to intercede for us. Did she ever. On the final day of the novena my wife had a severe gall bladder attack. She had surgery to remove the offending organ, and within three months was expecting our youngest daughter.
So now it looks as if it is my turn to suffer a bit, hopefully as a prelude to another Noisykid. I don't think I will need surgery for my present ailment, but that is not clear at this time.
What is clear is that the next girl, whenever she shows up, will be Faustina.
Thank you for your prayers.