Heavily pregnant with my 1st son, a colleague begged me to cover his shift at another hospital. He was due for an interview and his boss would only release him, if he found a substitute doctor. Most doctors were attending the interview and only my 34 weeks pregnancy kept me away. My husband was out of town and the thought of going into labour in front of the panel was frightening.
He asked how much I would charge him and I laughed.
“Can you pay for the inconvenience of dragging my big abdomen to a hospital I have never been to?”, I asked.
He shook his head.
The hospital was quiet and that day, there were very few patients. I spent most of the day, reading a book. Then the nurse came in to drop a folder. The patient was a pastor who was being managed for Cardiac Arrhythmia. His symptoms were palpitations (awareness of your heart beat), tachycardia (rapid heart beat), chest pain, poor sleep and so on. He had done an ECG and other tests, which showed nothing was wrong.
After several weeks on drugs that should correct his cardiac symptoms, he was no better. Also, his blood pressure was only slightly above normal. I asked him about his church.
“I was sent to start a new parish in this town”, he replied. “I have to meet a target number of members. In addition, I have a full time job”
“How many members do you have now? “, I asked.
“Not many. We are just trying to win people”
“Do you have a family?”
“Yes, a wife and kids”
“How are you coping? ”
“It’s not been easy. Even tonight, I have an all night prayer meeting. I left work just to see you. After work, I will go for the meeting”
“Are you able to take a nap 1st? How do you have time to prepare a message? ”
“It’s well. I do my best. Sometimes I struggle with sleep at work”
I concluded that Pastor was stressed. His previous diagnosis was based on the fact that he said he could hear his heart beating fast and slept poorly. I felt he had too much on his plate. I made a diagnosis of Peptic ulcer disease and changed his medication. Partly due to other symptoms I discovered he had. Then I called his doctor and informed him.
Many of us are trying to meet unrealistic expectations. Trying to wear designer clothing on a meagre salary. Driving a car we don’t need. Putting our kids in schools with ridiculous fees just because our neighbours did the same. Working so hard that your family cannot remember what you look like. It goes on and on. We must remember to be patient, to pace ourselves. Yes, we must aim high, but we need to remain healthy to get there.
Any goal or ambition that keeps you awake at night, makes you lose appetite, makes you irritable, or speeds up your heart rate, deserves review. Are you in debt? Negotiate for a payment plan you can cope with. Is your job far too hectic? Plan an exit strategy. If leaving the job will reduce your income, start living on a smaller budget to get your family used to it. In the end, the life of a man does not consist of the abundance of his possessions, said Jesus.
One day, I got angry and gave away all my 6 inch heels. Why should I totter from an unrealistic height in the pain sorry, name of fashion? I see ladies suffering cringe- worthy shoes on uneven ground and I pray they don’t fall. If the designers won’t make what you like, boycott them. We must not all wear boob-flashing dresses!
Today, examine your life. Set priorities. Don’t be too busy to pray, spend time with family and friends, or to just read a book. Headaches, back pain, Ulcers, Hypertension, Miscarriages, Infertility,Acne, and many more conditions are stress related. Even with medication, if the stress is not dealt with, you will not get better.
Jesus slept in the boat, attended weddings, ate dinner where the food was great (a la Zaccheus). As we celebrate Easter, remember He died that we may live.Please bite off what you can chew. Cheers and Happy Easter!