when oceans rise



That morning I had been up at 5 a.m. getting one child to a dance rehearsal, another to work and myself to an 8 a.m. board meeting.  This is what time volunteers for a charity meet.  The Glamour.  Later, having rushed out of the board meeting, picked up more kids from home, gone to School Fair, chatted with fellow parents, shopped the White Elephant stall, supported the mission trip, taken the kids on 3,567,456 rides,  my mantra was “I am Mother, hear me roar!”  Then the phone rang.  It was my husband Dave.

“Don’t be alarmed darling.  I’m ok, but there will be an ambulance in the driveway when you arrive home.  I’m having another SVT episode which won’t stop.”

Insides turn to liquid.  Heart skips several beats.  Adrenaline begins coursing through my already frayed nervous system.

This same medical issue had occurred two weeks ago, resulting in an intensive care ambulance, a life support team on arrival, a hospital stay and a major life upheaval.  This was supposed to be our first weekend of normal living.

Conjuring up ersatz control,  I start barking out a household chore list to the kids in the car.  “I need that downstairs bathroom spotless.  Boys, your bedrooms are a disgrace.  I want beds made, clothes folded and floors swept, ok?”  All the time willing the car home safely and swiftly so I can see my precious husband. “Gabbie, I expect you to be responsible for tidying up all the random stuff scattered through the house, ok?”.

Once home, I see Dave lying on the couch…. sweaty, breathless, paramedics attending to him, monitors attached and beeping.  The paramedics are incredibly relaxed and measured which I find reassuring and intensely annoying.  Once they announce that they will need to transport him, my demeanour becomes all Sally Field in Steel Magnolia’s.  I am the picture of calm efficiency.  I am unperturbed.

“I’ll go then.” I announce briskly. “You will have your sirens on and will fly past me, so I’ll go now.  Let’s meet there.”  How very time efficient of me.  I cuddle Dave, kiss his precious face and tell him I love him, he’s in good hands and that it’s all ok.  Aren’t I just the picture of cool collectedness?  The paramedics tell me not to worry if they drive past very fast, it’s standard protocol.  I wave them away, casually dismissing their concern with my hand.  Yep, yep.  I’m totally across it, I’m not worried.

It’s all a lie of course.  A facade manufactured out of desperation.  About half way to the hospital I start shaking.  Should I pull over?  No, that won’t do….I have to meet the ambulance.  Jesus take the wheel.   Driving past the Putt Putt Golf range, I think, “Must organise one of the kids parties there.  They’d  love that.  Such a nice cafe for the mums”.  I’m dissembling.  An ambulance with sirens blaring streaks past me.  There’s a stubborn white Hyundai which WILL. NOT. GET. OUT. OF. THE. WAY.  I swear a blue streak cursing the Hyundai, its occupants and the sirens for not being loud and obnoxious enough.  The Hyundai eventually slides out of the way and I don’t see the ambulance again.

Arriving at the hospital I pull off a magnificent reverse park in front of a group of medical students on their break.  Giving myself a mental high five….there was a degree of difficulty of about 8.6 in that park,  I enter the familiar Emergency Department.  Keep it together, girlfriend. “Hi.  The ambulance just brought my husband in. Take a seat, the triage nurse tells me.  We’ll come get you when we’re ready.

I know the drill.  I get to sit out here with the various broken arms, twisted ankles and possible head injuries from Saturday morning sport while every resource of the hospital floods the Resuscitation Bay to fix my soulmate.

My soul sisters and I have spoken.  They scaffold me through the worst.   Cathy’s husband is just around the corner.  He will come and sit with me.  Rachel has dropped the entire comfort food section of the supermarket {plus, hilariously, a bag of spinach} off to the kids.  She has hugged them and reassured them.  Put a tub of Rocky Road icecream in my freezer with strict instructions “This is for MUM.  No one else! You can eat everything else, BUT this”.  Cathy drove through the treacherous gorge in her son’s ancient car to get to the hospital.  Beck calmly, lovingly {also armed with her medical knowledge} has talked me through what they’re doing, reminding me he is in no imminent danger.  Aileen has prayed and sees Jesus hand covering Dave’s chest.  She can even see the tiny hair follicles on His hand it’s so clear.

I am so very, very tired.  Sitting on the vinyl chair in Emergency, I finally reach out to God himself.  Your will be done.  Please tell me Your will is for him to come home to me and our babies.  I’m too tired to be angry, but nonetheless I summon the last dregs of resentment and spew forth with fully formed anger and bitterness…..

I’m sick of this f*$#@g hospital!!  If it’s not epilepsy, it’s asthma.  If it’s not asthma, it’s SVT.  If it’s not SVT, it’s a rugby concussion.  The staff here know me.  It’s embarrassing. I know that the coffee in the automatic dispenser is surprisingly good but the hot chocolate is awful.  I know where the secret parking spots are during peak time.  I know which triage nurse is abrupt and which one is thorough.  I know where the x-ray, cardiology, neurology and intensive care departments are and the quickest way to get there through the labyrinth of corridors.  I know that if you use the bathroom near the acute care ward, you’d better have some antiseptic wipes with you as the cleaning roster seems to forget about that one tucked away bathroom.  

Why so many medical dramas Lord?  Because you’re not in heaven yet.

Why me?  It’s nothing you’ve done.  People who miss out on medical dramas don’t deserve it either.

Make me strong.  Look who journeys with you.  Look at the army of  people I have put in your life.  

Make me peaceful.  I am your peace.

The doors open “Mrs Donkin?  We’re ready for you now.”  Alarmingly, she starts steering me towards “the room”.  You know the one with just soft chairs and a box of tissues sitting in the middle of a coffee table?  Where News is delivered. My heart leaps out of my chest.  She turns to me and smiles, “He’s all ok.”  Dear God woman.  Say that first!

She runs me through the particulars.  Cardioversion.  Drug therapy didn’t work.  We had to shock him.  He’s very  drowsy. Cardiologist will see you.     The cardiologist arrives and tells me that it was a tricky case.  He needs surgery sooner rather than later but he’s actually in no imminent danger.  From now on however, every time he has an episode of SVT, it’s an ambulance ride. “Good times.  Count it all joy.” I think to myself sarcastically.   New medication will be trialed in the meantime.  Fingers crossed etc etc etc.

We’ve glimpsed the beautiful abyss and now we’re back.  Who knows when this will happen again.  We dress rehearse tragedy and find ourselves wanting.  The only thing I know for sure is that God will never leave us.   We are surrounded by an army of earthly angels and when they can’t provide the answers and peace I crave, I know the One who will.


The enemy would love to use the events of the past month to throw my family off course.   We are committed to this space here and also the Lisa Harnum Foundation upporting families fleeing domestic violence.  What I know for sure is that the God who lead us to these endeavours, is the same God who will keep us there.


Live Brave, sister.

Meredith xo


3 thoughts on “when oceans rise

  1. Dear Meredy, I am crying with you and for you. Have prayed and I will keep on praying for His peace, His comfort and His courage to enfold and overwhelm you, Dave and your children. Keep on ‘trusting’ dear Meredith, He will sustain you.
    Its a dark road when one’s loved one is so ill but His Love is the constant. Bless you, Meredy dear and enjoy that icecream.XX


  2. My Dear Meredith, You are one brave woman who has shown great strength in the face of trial. Remember, the enemy was not victorious at Calvary. Under His wings you will find refuge …. no disaster will come near your tent (Psalm 91) Love you both. Aileen xx


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