Facebook and twitter are great, but news is only conveyed in bits and pieces. Over the past few weeks, people have noticed a few of my posts mentioning things like “ER,” “Stress Test,” “Hospital,” etc and have wondered what in the world is going on. So here’s the run down:

For the past three weeks, I have been having chest pains almost daily. I tried to ignore them (you aren’t supposed to do that), but after three days of chest pains, I decided to see the doctor. I called for an appointment but was told the ER is the place to be. At the ER, they confirmed that I was not having a heart attack and told me to make an appointment with my doctor. My doctor scheduled a stress test and told me to take it easy and take some aspirin everyday. That was a week or so ago.

On Thursday, I went to the Elephant Room conference. I enjoyed it, but really didn’t feel well. I attributed that to the fact that I had to get up at 4am and drive three hours to get there. However, on Friday, I wasn’t feeling much better. I was tired and I felt like I was breathing with a ton of bricks on my chest. I opted to work at home, finishing some sermon writing. Unfortunately, that didn’t get any better. I was breathing shallow and feeling dizzy. In the afternoon, a family needed some financial assistance and I agreed to meet them at the church. As I returned from that meeting, I was completely out of breath. After walking the steps to my house, I was on the verge of passing out. I fell on the couch and told my wife “I just need to rest.” My wife knows that I am the most stubborn person when it comes to getting medical help for myself. She told me I had two choices: doctor or ER. Then, she called the doctor. They agreed to see me right away and we headed there.

The doctor examined me for about an hour. My EKG, blood pressure, etc. were all good, but I kept feeling pressure on my chest. It took a lot of effort to breath. He admitted me to the hospital for observation.

I spent Friday night in the hospital, being poked and prodded. Basically, they were making sure that I was not on the verge of anything life threatening. All the tests came out fine, and the rest seemed to do some good. On Saturday, I was released with orders to rest for a few days; including taking Sunday off.

Today, I had a nuclear stress test. I was able to complete the test without any problem, though it didn’t exactly feel good to get my heart rate and blood pressure up so high. I’m now waiting to hear from the doctor. So far, every test has come back good, so all signs point to this being a reaction to stress and acid reflux. If that’s the end result, I’ve got a challenge ahead of me of learning to relax and handle the everyday stress of pastoral ministry.

So now I am quite thankful. I am thankful that I was not experiencing a life threatening illness. I’m thankful for some friends from church who brought me pajamas at the hospital. They knew that nobody likes hospital gowns. What they didn’t know is that I am most comfortable in a nice pair of pajamas. Their gift was more blessing than they know. I’m thankful for two great pastor friends of mine. One of whom came and visited with me in the hospital and another who sat with me this morning before my stress test. I’m thankful for my friends from all over that read this on facebook and offered their prayers. I’m thankful for all the concerned calls my wife and I have received. I’m thankful for two good friends who visited me in the hospital and later had my wife and I over for dinner. They offered fellowship, free medical advice, and prayer, and I am very grateful. I’m thankful for family who have been concerned and helpful. I’m thankful for my wife who pushes me into the right decisions when I’m less than willing. I’m thankful for Christ, who still seems to have some use for me.

So, most likely the road ahead is going to be learning to do things a little differently. It is amazing what stress can do. I’ve got some things to learn.