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You Can't Do It All: Finding the Courage to Ask for Help

By Richella Parham

God's Brave Women - Richella's Story

My knees shook as I walked across the room. My hands shook as I picked up the phone and dialed 911. My voice shook as I answered the dispatcher’s questions.

I still get a little shaky as I remember that day, now many years past. My husband had just gone through major open-heart surgery and seemed to be recovering well. But this day had been long and hard – hours spent in the surgeon’s waiting room for a post-op check-up, then the ordeal of having 52 staples removed from my husband’s chest. Finally we’d arrived back at home, where my husband rested while I prepared dinner for us and our three sons.

We’d just said grace before dinner when my husband’s eyes narrowed. “I don’t feel too well,” he said. “Y’all go ahead; I think I’ll go lie down.” The rest of us began fixing our plates when we heard an alarming thump from the next room.

Unbeknownst to us, some post-surgical swelling around my husband’s heart prompted an incident of arrhythmia. His blood pressure plummeted, and the thump we heard was his body hitting the couch as he passed out.

Somehow I managed not to pass out as I called 911, then opened the door for the EMTs who arrived via ambulance. I’ll never forget how it felt to climb into the front of the ambulance for the ride to the emergency room while my husband was being treated in the back. We’d been home from the hospital for just two weeks, and now here we were again – my husband confined to a hospital bed, me stationed by his side.

And yet, of all the things I did that day, only one stands out in my memory as an act of bravery. I look back on everything I was called upon to do, and one thing took more courage than all the others combined.