Monday, July 29, 2019

You Never Know

I think I met an angel at a garage sale the other day.

When you and I last met, I mentioned that my long-awaited knee replacement surgery was finally just around the corner. There were a couple of pre-op visits with doctors to get through and then my friend Marcia would arrive in town, we’d have a few days of fun and then the surgery.

Things didn’t happen quite like that.

My primary care person looked at the EKG that had been done in March and said there was an issue with my heart and surgery might have to be postponed. NO, I replied. We can't. I have so many ducks lined up by now that it looks like a waterfowl convention. (I didn't say you had four months to figure this out, but believe me I wanted to.) That was on Friday, and they scrambled around and found a cardiologist who could see me on Monday (one week before surgery). 

Saw the cardiologist (a bit of a saga of its own, him being or at least looking 12 years old), who ordered an echocardiogram and a nuclear stress test. Finished the tests Thursday afternoon, after which he had his assistant call me and say that there’s an issue with my arteries and that he would see me in a couple of weeks when he got back from vacation to discuss how to proceed and my knee surgery is cancelled for now.

Um, no. 

It was the bit about his vacation that pushed me over the edge. I showed up at the heart clinic on Friday and very politely kept in their faces until I got an appointment with him that day. Long story kept (sort of!) short, they need to do an angiogram to find out what’s actually going on. If it's minor, they’ll put in a stent and I'll be okay for knee surgery. But if it’s something worse, I may be looking at a future bypass. (The fun just never stops, you know?) And the doc somehow was able to schedule this angiogram for August 7 at 7 a.m. I had the impression he was hoping I'd say oh no, that’s too early in the morning, but he doesn’t know I usually get up about 4 a.m.

Okay, you’re saying, so where is this angel you mentioned?

Marcia and I had a couple of hours to kill between the time we showed up at the heart clinic and the appointment time with the doc. So you know exactly what we did – we went to some sales! I spent a whole quarter at one place for this massager thingie. 

It feels great gliding over your tense back muscles and I figure I may be feeling some tension in the coming days.

It was actually our very first stop where we got to talking to the lady minding the sale. One of those conversations that hops, skips and jumps from one topic to another, and my postponed knee surgery came up. Turns out she has the same orthopedist as me and was telling me about how great he is. Then when she heard about the heart stuff, she said, “Now I know why we met this morning.” She came out from behind the table set up in front of the garage, and I said something like oh, I get a hug. “Yes, that too,” she said, “but I'm going to pray for you.” And she laid her hand on my shoulder.

Here’s the thing. I certainly have spiritual beliefs that I hold dear, and happily discuss them with people close to me, but I do not participate in organized religion. So I was a little uncomfortable with being prayed over. But I could tell she was sincere and well-meaning so I smiled and stood there, and she began to pray.

And it was lovely. It was not pushy or proselytizing, but rather a heartfelt call to the universal spirit to take care of me. I don't remember exactly what she said except for asking for the “best possible outcome” for me. It was exactly what I needed to hear and remember. She and Marcia and I stood on her driveway in the warm Oregon sunshine as her voice drifted up to the heavens. And then she said amen, and we squeezed hands, and someone walked up and asked her about something that was for sale, and off we went.

Today should have been the day of my knee surgery, and I'm disappointed that I've got to walk around with grumpy knees still. But I certainly plan to wake up alive after that operation and if something else needs fixing first, I'm glad we didn’t find out the hard way. It's never easy to let go of our expectations, but I can do it in favor of the best possible outcome.

And I'm pretty sure the middle aged lady minding that garage sale was an angel in disguise, there to tell me what I needed to hear.

You just never, ever know what you’ll find, shopping on driveways.


  1. I love this driveway shopping tale! As my husband would say "way leads to way"! You never know when you will run into an angel in disguise. Blessings to you on this journey. Shirley in Washington

  2. Love your posts, being a garage sale person it always fun to hear about someone else's finds. Have had two stints put in, on the day of my 50 year class reunion. Went in at noon on a Saturday and was at home at noon on Sunday. Luckily my husbands cardiologist was on duty that weekend and did the stints. No issues since and that was 4 years ago. Today I had gel inserted in my knee to see if that will help with the arthritis. Good luck with your surgeries, I will be thinking of you and keeping you in my prayers. Monna in Ohio

  3. How aggravating, but I am sure you will get there soon enough. Drat!

  4. Wow that was some garage tale! Better to know upfront what the issue is then ... you're correct not know and suffer the outcome. Keep us updated.


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