couldn’t have an ablation before I gave birth, whether I wanted to or not, and medical protocol didn’t have much to offer. Still, the Type A in me had to do something. Prove I was trying.

I went back to the lifestyle changes my doctor had initially recommended.

A heart-healthy nutrition plan.

Ten hours of sleep. (The house fell apart a little — at least I wasn’t falling apart.)

And at all costs I stayed hydrated. (“I drink like a camel, that’s why I have this hump.”)

The old me would have bought in with complete confidence: Yes! Healthy lifestyle! This is going to make everything better!

The new me felt lost: Pomegranate juice just doesn’t seem too powerful when you stand it up against cardiac arrhythmia.

I kept reminding myself that it was in Hashem’s hands. I hung on to that thought.

Maybe this would fix my heart, maybe it wouldn’t, but as a side benefit, I felt amazing. I was getting more sleep than a nine-year-old, I was eating right; even though I was pregnant, I was able to make Pesach with a skip in my step. Okay, I was eight months pregnant, so more like a skip in my stagger, but the point remains.

By Pesach, my natural optimism had reemerged. I felt great and the end was in sight. The biggest treat was that my sister-in-law was also making Pesach, and she invited us for a meal. Awesome, one less potato to peel. After Kiddush, we trooped into the kitchen, making small talk as we waited to wash.

“The frustrating thing about Pesach,” Mindy said, “is that I work so hard for it, but then I’m so tired by the Seder.”

I nodded in commiseration.

“I wish the Sedorim were on the last days of Pesach,” she continued, “when we’re a little more rested. I was literally fighting to stay awake.”

It was my turn at the sink. I picked up the washing cup and filled it — and my heart turned over and began to race.


I sank down onto a chair, closed my eyes. Again!

But — I had been so careful!

But — I had been so trusting!

I am not in control. Nothing I do makes any difference. The thought came, not as a burst of sublime inspiration, but as a reflexive fact, like when you drink spoiled milk and automatically spit it out.

Hatzolah came, did an EKG. Heart rate: 160, 170, 180. I fought the fear.

“Patient doesn’t want cardioversion,” the paramedic reported. He listened carefully to the drug protocol. “Okay, we’ll start her on that and bring her in.”

Out I went on a stretcher. The kids waved from the window.

“Maybe Mommy is having the baby today!” Danny exclaimed.

“No, dummy.” Sara rolled her eyes. “It’s not the baby, it’s just her heart.”

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 579)