Heart Attack

Yes, I had a heart attack. It was a Friday, June 21. I was happy to have a free day to run some errands. Taking care of something on my computer, the darn thing locked up. And I blew up. Not like a volcano, but maybe like a cherry bomb.

Sometimes I hate technology.

At that moment, I felt something funny. When I shared that with the emergency room doctor, he asked me, “What do you mean by ‘funny’?”

“You mean you didn’t learn that in medical school?” I replied.

Actually, I didn’t say that, but those thoughts go through my mind even when I’m having a heart attack. Instead, though, I told him that I suddenly felt bad, like I was getting hit with the flu. Then my chest began to hurt like terrible indigestion. But I had pain in my shoulders and arms, too.

From Banner Gateway they transported me by screaming ambulance to Banner Heart Hospital where the cardiologist told me they’d fix me up and I’d get home the next day. Five days later, after two angioplasties, they finally sent me home.

The following weekend I preached two services at Grace Bible Church in Sun City, a huge Arizona retirement community, for those of you who may not know. The pastor leading the services asked me in advance if I had any special needs. “A book table—and an ambulance waiting for me in the parking lot,” I told him.

He replied with a smile, “With our aged congregation, we have one those on standby every week.”

So, I had a 100% blockage in a secondary or diagonal artery, which they repaired with a stent. I returned to normal activities in a week, and a few weeks ago my doctor gave me an “all clear” and a future. My heart functions have returned to normal.

Of course, these events give us reason to pause and reflect. I’ve done a lot of that since June. As much as anything, I’m surprised I had no fear facing the possibility of the end of my life. Marilyn and our kids were pretty troubled, but God gave me a great sense of peace from the first “funny feeling” to the day I was released from the hospital.

I won the heart attack lottery, because fully one half of everyone who has a first heart attack doesn’t make it. So now more than ever, I’m committed to living out my life serving God’s kingdom purposes—and thanking him for every new day.

You never know. Every day could be your last.

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