After 6 long days my husband shared a secret. The secret that almost cost him his life. He had been having chest pain that was radiating down his arm. My husband who is a strong man tends to wait until the last minute with everything. He's a mechanic and when he gets something in his head....
So the evening before our 16th Anniversary there we are, him kicking and screaming, as I demand he get in the car and seek medical advice. I, who just became aware of this, was concerned but unsure because of it occurring 6 days already.
Upon entering the Emergency room they immediately hook him up and start a EKG. The ER Doctor immediately is assisting, which leads me to further concern. After just a half an hour and some more tests the doctor insists my husband must spend the night in order to run a battery of tests in a timely manner. The doctor escalates our fears as he suggests my husband could be heading towards a heart attack. Being a dedicated employee that my husband is and an even more dedicated husband he is now upset and wanting to go home. Its definitely not the way we intended to spend our Anniversary but I know we must stay and insist upon it.
The next morning (Friday) is our Anniversary. After a tiring night we awake bright and early for a stress test among others I can't even pronounce. The stress test appears normal, which immediately in my husband opinion, is reason to go home. Several hours later the hospital informs us they are working on discharge papers when another doctor making rounds stops by and has some serious concerns. She believes the stress test may be inconclusive and asks us to stay for one more further test. Something not typically done but would show a blocked artery on some kind of a cat scan used for hearts. My husband agreed only because he wanted to go home and continue on with our Anniversary plans. Less than 2 hours later she gives us the blow were no longer expecting. The test shows a blockage and she immediately starts blood thinners and moves us to the cardiac care unit and schedules surgery. We are both in shock and scared to death. At 45 years old and a strong family history we know this is serious. My husband began to focus his concerns on the fact that our anniversary is now officially ruined. I, on the other hand, seen it in a different manner. I agree we wont forget this anniversary but more positively because this is the one that will save his life. After only getting 2-1/2 hours of sleep the previous night one would think I would have completely crashed. However, as my nerves got the best of me that proves to be a difficult task. Sleeping in a hospital recliner is no help to my mission and after a restless night I basically end up with a 2 hour nap.
Saturday morning they come and get him a half hour before the scheduled 9am surgery. The surgeons are ready. The plan is to start with an angiogram and then move into placing a stint if the angiogram confirms the necessity. I'm told the entire procedure will take about an hour. I await in a hospital waiting area alone for one hour as I continue to pace while talking occasionally to family. The first surgeon eventually comes out and confirms he will need a stint.He informs me the blood is barely making its way through the narrowed artery and its over 90% blocked. The surgeon says its truly a miracle. Most people do not have any warning. He believed had my husband went to work Friday or exerted himself in the least there was a great chance he may not have been with me today. I feel relieved they've found the problem but also realize were not by any means out of the woodwork. Looking at the clock I begin my pacing again until the second surgeon appears. He basically says the same thing but adds they've placed 2 stints in. Surgery has went well and he's stable I'm told. It will be a long recovery and he needs to take it easy.
EASY... our life? Wow! Wake up call!! Now you may have read my latest blog on "my life as a caregiver" you can about imagine my husband is the same way. He's a mechanic. He loves working on cars and when he's not at work it seems someone is constantly needing his assistance or expertise. Not to mention there's always something going on here.
As I start to walk down the corridor to my husbands room I see him ahead of me being wheeled into the room. He smiles at me as he catches a glimpse. I smile back as I can't help but think how he managed to dodge the bullet. As the nurses are getting him adjusted I say a silent prayer to God and thank him for watching over us. For the next 8 hours my job will be to make sure he doesn't move his leg or head. Apparently doing so can cause a person to bleed out and die rather rapidly. I can't stress enough what a difficult task this can be when the person laying there is on morphine and not in their right mind. Not to mention he believes he's working n a car and is trying to pull off a "zip strip" which happens to be the very tube for the angiogram that I am trying to keep in place.
Today is Sunday and he looks great. I can hardly believe he's just been through heart surgery less than 24 hours ago and here we are waiting for the doctor to see him. I anticipate we will be staying yet one more day and head down to the vending machine. As luck would have it I come back ten minutes later missing the doctor. Apparently my husband has persuaded the doc into letting him check out and is rushing them to discharge so he can make our youngest grandsons baptism at church. I can't believe he feels good enough to go but the doctor ok's it.
Service starts at 10:30am and its already 10:00. With no time to stop at home we make the brave decision to head straight to the church which is a 20 minute drive. This all sounds fine other than the fact we look terrible and he's in pajama pants and an old t-shirt. We decide God isn't judgemental and hope our family and congregation won't be either. It was quite the surprise to family as we walked through the door. I have to admit I felt at total peace. It was almost like a calling. A new beginning to a wake up call. At one point as I held my husbands hand and we all sang I looked up at my husband and we both had tears in our eyes. It was such a special service and a blessing to have the whole family gathered together for such a joyous event.
In less than a year so much has happened. My Mom with Ovarian cancer, her remission and now this. It really puts a perspective on life and confirms life is never promised to anyone. You never truly do know when tomorrow will never come. For us we are vowing to slow down a little and enjoy life a little more. We vow to eat healthier, quit smoking and not concern ourselves with people who make our lives unhappy. We've decided there are people who for some reason seem to cause us a great deal of stress and we are done allowing them in our lives anymore. Sometimes because a person is a blood relative they believe they are more important then anyone. Or that they have a right to butt in where they are not wanted. It was because of certain individuals my husband had hospital staff ban individuals from coming in his room. It was also his desire I not blog and none of us post anything on facebook regarding his health until we were at home. Its sad that a person must go to such lengths to keep the poison away.
I've always said that I would do anything for my family. And I will. I will do anything for others in general as long as they are good people who are respectful to my self and family too. But cross that line and I will shut you out forever. Well my friends.... Blood is NOT thicker than water because you are disposable. We have some of the most amazing family and extended family and blessed friends that we consider our family. We will not ALLOW you to poison us anymore.
I look forward to stopping to smell the roses just a little more often and finding fun and exciting things to do with my husband as we go on walks or find more physical activities to participate in. Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers.... I look forward to spending many, many more anniversary's together as we continue to grow old together.