Getting a pacemaker for Christmas
by Marguerite Cline, columnist
December 19, 2013 10:15 PM | 1135 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A popular Christmas song is “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth.”

Well, that is nowhere close to want I want for Christmas. I want a mailbox that opens on both ends so I do not have to step out in the street to get the mail.

A brightly covered checkbook cover that would make it easier for me to find my checkbook during one of my endless searches for it would be nice, too.

But a gift I already have received was not on my Christmas list. In fact, it was a totally unwanted surprise. I got a pacemaker.

When some friends learned a pacemaker was in my very near future, they were not terribly concerned. They had their own pacemaker and considered it old hat.

But it was not that simple for me. After all, it was my body that a doctor was going to cut open, attach wires to my heart and glue me back together.

I was not surprised when I learned years ago that I have heart disease. My family has a history of it and I have had heart related problems off and on for years.

But that was not on my mind when I was in the midst of getting ready for Christmas. Basically, since I somewhat retired, I have become a homebody and yearlong Christmas shopping is my hobby.

But thoughts of Christmas were far away a few weeks ago when something strange happened to me. I became disoriented and was having problems seeing. It was scary and resulted in my being admitted to Kennestone Hospital.

After being poked and prodded for a night and a day, multiple tests found nothing wrong with me. In the words of Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson, that made me, “Happy, happy, happy.”

However, my doctor was still concerned. She decided I should wear a heart monitor for 30 days to see if anything out of the ordinary was happening.

Only a few days later, I received an unwelcome call. The monitor had sent a message to my doctor’s office saying at times my heart rate was entirely too slow.

Then was when I learned that I needed a pacemaker and I needed it soon.

Of course, I had realized I was getting tired more easily. A year ago, when I walked on a treadmill, I could walk three miles an hour. That had gradually diminished until I could walk only one mile or even less in an hour.

Plus, it seemed I was always tired. Whenever I passed a sofa or a chair chances were good I would sit down and not be eager to get up again.

As usual, I just attributed it to getting older.

The day for the surgery came and as my friends had said, it was not bad at all. I slept the entire time and was home later on the same day.

For the next few days I was so sore that I felt like I had been hit by a monster truck. Now the soreness is gone, I realize I have more energy than I have had for years. While I am not running races, I can keep up with the crowd.

While I prayed for God to be with me during the surgery and thanked Him for its success, it was a few days before I paused to acknowledge that a miracle had occurred in my life. The quality of my life had been improved and my days on earth were probably lengthened.

I believe there are miracles all around us everyday. They have become so common place, like pacemakers, we fail to recognize them.

A cancerous lung is removed, a heart is transplanted or a bone marrow transplant saves the life of someone who is dying. Cancer and AIDS are no longer a death sentence. The listing goes on and on.

Things like those are just a few of the gifts we are given by our maker.

But none of those gifts can compare to the gift mankind received ages ago.

As we read in the gospel of Luke, “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; for there was no room for them in the inn.”

God gave us the greatest gift in the history of the world, his beloved Son, who came to earth to die to save us all from our sins.

So, as a Christmas card from one of my children says, “May God’s gift of His beloved Son outshine all the worldly, shiny trinkets this Christmas season!”

Marguerite Cline is former mayor of Waleska.

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