Lessons from the back of an ambulance

An ambulance is disorienting. You are face up in a bed on wheels with rails with your head toward, well nowhere. Laying face up on the gurney is a little disorienting, as you feel you are being sucked feet first into something.

Also, there are a lot of steel silvery gadgets hanging, along with white cabinets. Then, looking sideways to see the face of the healthcare professional that, probably sees a lot of suffering in one day. My healthcare professional was looking at me upside down, sitting on something in the ambulance, smiling and trying to put me at ease by sharing stories.

“I’ve also fainted,” she said with empathy. “Since I was a child I’ve had brown outs, which are kind of like black outs,” I look up at the steel gray ceiling.

On that hot July morning, I was sitting in my office and felt something I hadn’t felt since my last car sickness experience – nausea. Getting up slowly and remembering to keep my head up, I walked to the bathroom and then, felt “it,” that swimming feeling experienced right before your body does something really unexpected. This time I couldn’t anticipate its next response.

And then it hit me, vomit. Running quickly to the toilet just a few feet away, I blacked out for a few seconds and then again. My husband couldn’t immediately revive me.

A lot panicked, my husband called 911. Now during this time, two beings appeared in my mind, don’t know if it were while I was out or in, but I could only see their silhouette. They were calming and it felt like they were both observers and caretakers. Maybe these were the paramedics. But that’s not who they were, the paramedics came later. Who were they you ask? I don’t know. Don’t know that to this day. Just explaining what happened and that their presence gave a sense of peace.

By the time the paramedics came, I was conscious and thought, “The drill is over. Everybody go back to what you were doing before.”

But my husband wouldn’t hear of it. “You need to get checked out,” he said. So, reluctantly and with tears in my eyes, the paramedics took me away in the big red ride – a ride just-as-expensive-as-a-limousine ambulance.


The day in the hospital gave me a chance to hydrate and to take note (e.g. note to self: dehydration + exhaustion = body shutdown) of my life and to ask a few questions 1) what is really so urgent that it all has to be done today and right now? 2) who am I trying to please? who else is driving my decisions and actions – is it truly the Lord or some other voice? 3) is this what being hydrated feels like – hm?) and 4) will I ever stop running? and finally, 5) who were those unnamed silhouettes who showed up at the fainting?

This happened a year ago. Some of my questions are still unanswered.

One thing that has changed, I’ve become more aware of how I’m making decisions and more importantly, “why.” I once heard an author say that the root cause of a lack of prioritization is “improper motive.” She further explained that people say “yes,” to things they should say “no,” to because they want to be accepted or approved by someone, versus choosing based on interest, desire or passion about something important to her.  Some things we have to do – such as keeping the lights on, eating right, taking care of children. But signing up to participate in that bake sale when you have no desire or interest in baking or the sale or the cause for the sale should be questioned.

We are all on this journey of discovery – the discovery of self.

I’m working toward an aligned life – where my thoughts, words and deeds are all aligned, and that I’m facing life full force with passion, rigor, interest and love.


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