Doctors get a bad rap. Sure, no one likes to go to the physician’s office to be poked or prodded, but when our bodies betray us, sometimes we’re left with no choice.


Yesterday, I woke up feeling fine, albeit a little tired. But these days, who doesn’t? I had my coffee, tossed back my vitamins, and grabbed a breakfast sandwich as I headed off to work.

But then I noticed that it felt awkward to breathe. As I sat at my desk and prepared for my day, suddenly my neck and shoulders seized up, and I felt nausea building. Sweat poured off me as if I had just run a marathon until my shirt was soaked and I was dizzily tried to get myself to the doctor.

Thankfully Rebecca, a coworker, wouldn’t let me drive and took me to the clinic where I had made an appointment. When she realized it was a chiropractor’s office, she knew I was in the wrong place! “This isn’t something a chiropractor can fix,” she protested.

Rebecca bundled me into her car again and rushed me to the ER where the triage unit checked all my vitals, then put me in a room and hooked me up to machines that monitored my blood pressure, heart rate and breathing.

While I waited for my wife and family to arrive, Rebecca squeezed my hand and we tried to talk about anything else just so I wouldn’t get too paranoid about what was happening. But the pain became sharper, my breathing more labored, and all I could think was that I was too young for this to happen to me.

Fortunately, I didn’t see a bright light at the end of a tunnel or watch my life flash before my eyes. Yet I did know that I had far too many things that I wanted to accomplish in life like have kids, publish my novel or travel the world with my wife. Through it all though, I tried not to cry, yet I was terrified that I’d never get the chance to accomplish any of those things.

The faces in the room changed as my family arrived and Rebecca left. I clung to their hands as I felt my anxiety continue to rise.

When doctor Shanna Spence came in the room, however, she was calm and explained that my vitals looked good, but she wanted to run some tests because the symptoms were similar to a heart attack, but it could be a blood clot or something else.

Technicians took X-rays and ran blood work, but in the end it was a breathing treatment and medicinal cocktail that finally brought everything back into balance. My diaphragm had seized up and it had embodied many of the same symptoms as a heart attack. Thankfully the medical team could tell the difference. But after treatment, I could breathe easier and my body finally relaxed.

The lesson I learned in all this and which I want to share with you, however, is that I didn’t need to fear the hospital room or the people in the scrubs or behind the surgical masks. Of all the people I encountered at CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital yesterday, each of them had kind eyes and gentle hands. Even when they poked me with needles to draw my blood, it was done with tenderness and the utmost care.

No, there is nothing to fear in the hospital. What we do tend to fear is our own mortality. So while we all strive to live our lives to the full, let us remember how important it is to take care of self, get regular checkups and be proactive about managing our own health, rather than letting it manage us.

Who is your favorite doctor in Texarkana and why? We want to know! Tell us below.

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