T he paramedics were nice. They knew I didn’t want to go to the hospital. It was Shabbos for them, too, after all.

“Let’s do an EKG and see what’s going on.”

I really didn’t want to go to the hospital. No, I was terrified of going to the hospital. I was terrified of the cardioversion — it makes your heart stop.

“Up to 149… no, down again.”

I was terrified of the doctors, especially after one doc had prescribed medications that were unnecessary, and doses that were way too high.…

“Look at this printout, the P is missing.”

I was terrified of the nurses, who had administered meds with unforeseeable results. I was terrified of the unknown and the unknowable.…

“It’s hovering under 150, that’s not too bad.”

Maybe I wouldn’t have to go to the hospital. I really didn’t want to.

“Can you sit up?”

I put on my perkiest voice. “Of course!” I sat up. My heart rate flew up to 190.

We went to the hospital.

The kids stayed with my parents. “At least we don’t have to scramble on Shabbos for childcare,” my husband said. It was a small thing, but it felt like a reassuring squeeze, Hashem saying, Yes, I’m here.

As per protocol, the medics called a doctor from the ambulance. I begged, begged, begged them not to try the cardioversion. I told them I hate it, and it never, ever worked. A miracle, the doctor agreed! I’m here. They started an IV line, and injected a new drug that they hadn’t tried before.

My heart rate dropped suddenly, from 190 to 130 in a matter of seconds. Which was good, but felt awful.

I’m here.

I tried to hold the thought.

The nursing team attending to me was really nice. They puttered around, setting up machines. I didn’t want them to do anything. Right now everything was fine — sort of. Whatever you do could make things worse, why mess with it?

When the doctor came in, I repeated that the cardioversion never worked, and he agreed to give it some time and see how things progressed. “That’s what I said last time,” muttered one nurse. “Always listen to the patient.”

I couldn’t believe she remembered me. “You’re a pretty unique case,” she said in explanation. “So young. And usually the cardioversion works. We don’t know why this happens to you.”

A unique case. We don’t know why this happens to you. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 577)