One year ago today…
Tuesday, August 26, 2014. I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of several babies, as well as a new apprentice named Kendra. My husband Larry had decided to leave town the next day to attend a nephew’s wedding and to visit his mother on the family farm. I was disappointed that I could not go with him, but I could not get away because of those babies I mentioned; I was on call. We also figured that with Larry gone, it would be easier for me to spend more time with my new apprentice in order to get to know her. So I had planned several hours of orientation with Kendra, as well as some fun activities to introduce her to the Corpus Christi area.
My biggest concern at the time was whether or not Kendra and I would be a good match. I did not want to face the prospect of a continued search for a new apprentice if things didn’t work out between us. I also had some concerns about how I would get through the next few months with so many babies due in a short period of time. That would be a challenge with a brand new apprentice who was both young and inexperienced.
Little did I know that my world was about to be turned upside down, and that it had nothing to do with my business. The good news was that nothing that was about to happen would come as any surprise to God. He had even already equipped me with everything I would possibly need in advance to get through the next few difficult weeks and months. I just didn’t know that yet.
The following day, Wednesday, August 27, 2014, my new apprentice, Kendra Lucero, arrived. I was hoping she would be able to meet some of my clients, but she arrived after the day’s appointments were over. So none of my clients had the opportunity to meet Kendra that day. Larry and I had decided to take Kendra out to eat after showing her the apartment she would be living in for the next few weeks. She was staying with me for a “trial period,” but had also expressed interest in a full time apprenticeship if all went well.
We went to Jason’s Deli and enjoyed a nice dinner and visit. Afterwards, I asked Larry what he thought of Kendra. I’ve learned over the years that my husband is a very good judge of character and able to catch “red flags” that I sometimes miss. So his first impression is very important to me. As it turned out, Larry really liked Kendra. I did too. We were both felt good about our first meeting, and though we still were a bit cautious, we were now optimistic.
After dinner, Larry and I went home and Kendra to her apartment. Larry and I settled in to watch a little TV before I went to bed. Larry still had a little packing to do before he would get on the road the next morning and head up to Dallas.
After TV, we went to the bedroom. But instead of getting ready for bed, Larry said, “I need to tell you what I’m feeling.” He then proceeded to let me know that he was feeling a heaviness in his chest, and that it had radiated to his jaw and then down his left arm. He described the sensations as not actually painful. Even so, I knew we could not ignore these obvious signs of a possible heart attack. So I insisted we go to the ER. Larry actually surprised me a little when he agreed to go. So I knew he must be concerned too.
Over the next few hours the reality of what was happening began to slowly sink in. At first I thought maybe this was just a symptom that he might have some heart problems, if we don’t get things checked out. But it turned out that he was actually having a heart attack and the fact that we responded so quickly probably saved his life. All four of his arteries were seriously clogged and he could have suffered a severe heart attack with any amount of stress.
The next day, Thursday, August 28, 2014, a left heart artery/ventricle angiography was done, which determined the level of blockage in his arteries. The results led to quadruple bypass surgery, which was performed the next day. By the next morning I was notifying family.
I also called Kendra early the next morning to tell her what had happened and asked her to help with my clients. She was literally thrown into my practice much like a child might be thrown into a pool and told to “swim” without a single swimming lesson! She did an amazing job at “swimming” too. I was too busy to even talk with her much and so we did most of our communication by text message that first week. But Kendra communicated with all of my clients on my behalf and rescheduled appointments. She addressed prenatal concerns that came up and always ran things by me (via text) before saying anything on my behalf.
Larry came through the surgery fine. His recuperation was a process, and not a quick one. I had lots of support from family and friends to get me through it all. Even though we had babies due, the timing worked out perfectly. Because my family came to help out with my husband’s care, I was free to go to work as needed and remained on call for all the births. Not a single one of my clients was left without care, and I attended every single birth without having to leave my husband at any critical time during his care.
As I looked back over this chain of events, I felt humbled because I still need to be reminded of how faithful God is. The truth is that I still have a tendency to worry about things I have no control over. When I do not intentionally choose to put my faith in the Lord, I tend to worry about many things in my life, my job and my family, just like I suppose everyone does.
But no amount of planning on my part could have prepared me for what was in my future a year ago and that is still true today. No amount of worry ever changes anything. So even though today I have a whole new set of things on my mind, the reality is that I do not know what tomorrow will bring. I could wake up tomorrow to a whole new set of circumstances. I can make my plans. I can try to figure out all the “what ifs,” but I still have no real control over my future or any power on my own to deal with what is thrown at me.