Borrowing Time (A Visit to the ER)

We went to the ER last night with one of our adult daughters. If visits to the ER can be categorized I suppose this would go down as a good visit.

She was complaining of sudden dizziness, nausea, chest and throat tightness, and muscle spasms (among other maladies), and she was freezing cold (her temp was 93.3 when we took it). We could not seem to make her comfortable, so we decided to drive to the nearest ER and check in.

We arrived about 9 PM, and almost had the place to ourselves (it picked up a bit later); she was taken in quickly and the examination process got underway. Once she was given medication for nausea and blood work was done she began to feel somewhat better. Then an EKG was administered, and IV fluids started. Soon she began to joke around, and be more of herself again; the color in her face began to return, and she stopped shaking. This, of course, was very encouraging.

There were three of us there: her mother and I, and her older sister for a while. We alternated going into the exam room she was in (“two at a time” you know). The doctor (who I never spoke with, because she came in when I was out) was very nice, they said, and we began the arduous “waiting” game so familiar to ER and hospital situations.

But we noticed some commotion in the exam room next to us. Lots of attention was being directed to that room (firemen, nurses, etc.). And we also noticed that there were more visitors present than the maximum “two person” mandate allowed.

My daughter was released before 2 AM, and there was nothing clearly wrong with her. Possible dehydration, but her electrolytes were all in fairly good shape. We discussed the possibility of stress being a cause, and panic attacks were mentioned.

There is good cause for this, of course. We just learned this week of a close friend’s cancer. Then news came yesterday concerning the heart attack of a young woman (who gave birth two weeks ago) both my daughters had befriended in college. And the stresses and strains of work, diet, etc. have taken their toll as well.

Right now, as I write, she and her mother lay asleep in their bedrooms, catching up on the rest they missed because of last night’s ordeal. And I am grateful. Grateful that my daughter is home, safe, and that there are no apparent problems to deal with. Of course, it would be nice to know what specifically caused the ordeal, but . . . we may never know.

I am drawn, however, to the notion that we are all on “borrowed time.” Life is so delicate, isn’t it? One minute you are fine, and the next you can be longing for death to come. The 55 year old man in the exam room next to us did not go home with his family last night. This visit to the ER was his last.

We watched as the large assortment of family members left the ER in tears. Grief stricken. In shock and disbelief. The death of someone close does that to you. It takes you by the collar and shakes you until you break. Or it hardens you until you break. You get to choose.

I visited my parents’ graves on May 1st; it would have been Dad’s 92nd birthday. Mother would have been 89 yesterday (May 3) while we were at the ER. Now her birthdate will mark the passing of a father for the grieving family we saw there.

Time is borrowed.

As the writer of  Ecclesiastes reminds us so poignantly: “None of us can hold back our spirit from departing. None of us has the power to prevent the day of our death. There is no escaping that obligation, that dark battle. And in the face of death, wickedness will certainly not rescue the wicked” (Ecclesiastes 8:8, NLT)

And as the wise woman from Tekoa told King David, “All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him” (2 Samuel 14:14, NLT).

Time is borrowed. Whether you believe in God or not. Whether you believe in an afterlife or not. Whether you have any beliefs at all. You are not exempt. You will participate.

That which is borrowed will one day be returned. It is the way of life. And death.

I will begin this day with that awareness. And I will celebrate life while it is in my hands to do so.

About ivanbenson

I am a former singer, guitar player, writer, story teller, voice over talent, and a current heart attack survivor in the Atlanta, Georgia area.
This entry was posted in Family History, Fathers, Stories, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Borrowing Time (A Visit to the ER)

  1. ivanbenson says:

    Thank you, Nancy.

  2. Nancy Vaughn says:

    I’ll never forget the day I was in the emergency room getting stitches or something for my son and someone in there passed away. The sounds of grief was so disturbing. Chuck and I were glad that we were going home, all of us. Thanks Ivan, well said.

  3. ivanbenson says:

    Thank you. I know you see this in your work all the time.

  4. natemcm says:

    Ivan, I especially enjoyed reading this one today. An eloquent reality check for sure.



  5. ivanbenson says:

    Absolutely, Michael. Thanks for the memory of that lovely lady.

  6. Michael B. Semore says:

    As our late dear friend, Mrs. Ruth French, could be heard saying often, “This world is not our home,”

  7. ivanbenson says:

    Tks, Barry.

    Sent from my iPhone

  8. ivanbenson says:

    NLT, New Living Translation

    Sent from my iPhone

  9. Jo says:

    It is very true. I like those 2 scriptures..don’t recall reading them before. If I may ask, what version of the Bible did the wording come from? Thanks. Glad your daughter is ok.

  10. Barry A. Doublestein says:

    Good Words. Thanks Iv.

  11. ivanbenson says:

    Thank you, my dear. Celebrate today!

  12. Suzanne says:

    So very sad…thanks for the reminders to treasure each moment…love you!

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