United States of America
What more is there in life, my love …
It was an extraordinary story he told, but I was not surprised. I called my old friend Mike Wright, having heard that he had had some serious health issues in the last couple of weeks, and those I had spoken to confirmed that he was lucky to be alive.
Four heart attacks in less than a week had Mike thinking seriously about his funeral service and Millie’s widowhood, the same dark thoughts that troubled Millie as she held Mikes hand in the dim quiet of the hospital ward knowing that she must be braver than she felt. The last attack resulted in Mike struggling to hold onto life as his ambulance raced down the hard shoulder of the M62 to Leeds, blue lights flashing, the insistent siren demanding clearance, giving the lie to the nurse who told Mike there was no emergency but Mike knew better, seeing, as it were in vision, his funeral, and Millie weeping alone.
The heart surgeons at Leeds Infirmary hit Mike with clot busting chemicals and took him down into the bowels of the hospital where they pull off their everyday miracles. He saw his heart on the screen pounding reassuringly, saw the murky puff of radio-opaque dye squirted into his arteries, then endured the surprise of the hot flush start at his head, rolling down his body, and exit through the soles of his feet as he wondered what the heck that was.
As the surgical team talked amongst itself, seemingly insouciant, a slender wire snaked its way through the hole they had punched into his femoral artery and wriggled into his heart, aiming for the stenotic section of cardiac artery plainly detailed by the fluid. A miracle of micro engineering called a stent sat at the end of the catheter and, when in position, the balloon inflated spreading the expanded metal keeping the cholesterol plaque apart and restoring circulation to the coronary arteries. A check by the eminent surgeons and a second stent was shunted up behind the first to secure the site from closure, then, a night in the Coronary Care Unit, and Mike was on his way to recovery and eventually a more leisurely return trip by ambulance this time sans siren and lights to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary
Millie entered the room with apprehension. She did not know whether Mike was going to make it or not and after so many years even the fleeting thought that her best friend and husband might not survive pushed her heart up into her mouth and causing her to tremble with fear. She scanned the glimness, finding Mike in the futuristic gloom surrounded by tubes and machines that interpreted and reported his condition, peeping and chirruping to the accompaniment of a flashing demonstration by multitudes of micro-sized Christmas tree lights as they did so.
The nurse technician scrutinised the screens and illuminated displays, his face betraying his anxiety, as he perceived some behavior in Mike’s heart that should not be. Two nurses were holding Mike’s hands, one either side of the bed, as Millie fearfully drew near. One reached for Millie’s hand, placing Mike’s hand in it as her counterpart laid Mike’s hand on the bed and left.
At the very moment Mike and Millie touched hands, the scrutiniser gasped, exclaiming that the screens and indicators had suddenly shifted to register all his readings just as they should be.
“Let go of his hand and let me check it when you are not touching him!” he said, his voice urgent. Millie laid Mike’s hand on the bed and he checked the screens again. Mike’s heart beat a little faster but apart from that all his signs remained steady and first-rate. Millie took his hand again and his heart slowed to normal limits, and everyone relaxed. There was some muttering and head scratching from the care team at what had transpired.
The touch of a hand of his True Love had calmed his troubled heart. He had lain passive and terrified among hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of equipment designed and built by human genius. Nursing, medical and radiological experts who had jointly spent more than two hundred years developing their skills and cunning had treated him. He had received hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pounds worth of wonder drugs to calm him, break up the clots that had caused the death of parts of his heart muscle, medicines to stop the pain, calm his anxiety and prevent the formation of new clots, and while all these had been essential in bringing him back from the edge of the grave, it was a miracle that no individual brilliance can reproduce, no drug can imitate, and no machine can generate: a miracle only achievable by the touch of the hand of one who is truly loved and who truly loves.
How much have I remembered you?
As much as night and day! Not any thoughtful moment have you Ever been away. From sunlight to moonlight, and From darkness to the dawn, Your image and my love for you Have always lingered on. What more could I have done, dear one, To show my feeling true? What more is there in life, my love, That I can offer you?
Maybe there is nothing more that anyone could offer – except, perhaps, life itself, through the touch of a healing hand when only True Love will make the miracle. For the God of Miracles wrought the greatest miracle of all when He sent His only Son so that we should not die, because He is the God of True Love.