“What? How is that possible? 2 heart attacks in 2 days???” I sat there in complete disbelief. I realize I don’t have much medical knowledge but that just seems so CRAZY to me. And with that realization came the punch in the gut reality that this was also very serious and I felt my General trying to come out but I could feel an internal battle beginning. As much as I tried to go into that mode I was just too overcome with shock, fear, and sadness. I just kept thinking that there was no way he could make it thru this.. it’s just too much. The way the nurses looked at me and spoke to me it was very obvious they felt the same way.
As I waited for them to bring him back it dawned on me that I sent everyone home… and I felt terrible. This is precisely why I won’t leave his side. So now, I have to make yet another horrible phone call. And, to be entirely honest the timeline of how this part went down is pretty sketchy in my memory. I can understand why because this event was more draining and shocking to me than when it all started. It hit me harder and I didn’t have the General to help me. I was pretty exhausted by then and honestly just not prepared. Like I said, how do you just have ANOTHER heart attack?? I’m not even finished dealing with the first..I haven’t even taken a breath!
I’m not sure how much time went by before they brought Hubby back but I had not called anyone yet because they hadn’t officially told me what was going on with him. I had a quick moment alone in the room beforehand and I remember looking up at God with disbelief and this look of “WHAT kind of plan is THIS????” I was still just having such a hard time looking up to Him the way I should have. Our human side in situations like this.. of trials.. of hard times.. tends to do that to us. Tends to push our Christian side out of the way. The side who KNOWS that our faith will get us thru and He knows what He’s doing and to be patient and to pray. But, I’m embarrassed to say at that moment I still didn’t pull from that faith.
During my unproductive human sided conversation with God they brought Hubby back in. I jumped up quickly scared to hear what they were about to tell me. I looked over at him and he looked even worse than when he left. They explained to me that they just brought him back so they could tell me what happened and what is going to happen. Apparently, he suffered another heart attack due to a blood clot that formed and had to have another stent put in. So, now he’s full of all these stents, has a balloon pump going up thru his leg and as if that wasn’t enough now they inform me that he is just here so I can see him and fill out papers before they work on him again BECAUSE.. (deep breath).. he now has fluid in his lungs and has started to go into respiratory failure and needs to be intubated. And as I looked over at him he looked so distressed. He was breathing with his shoulders and his chest…it looked so labored. He seemed so uncomfortable, and if he was aware at all, I think he looked scared and my heart was breaking. They said to say my goodbyes because they had to get to him quickly. Yet again, I got that feeling of gloom and doom… like they weren’t very hopeful and you could hear it in their voices. This time they sent me to the waiting room because they didn’t want me there while they intubated him.
The hospital waiting room… I could literally write an entire book on stories from there. I must say that hospitals need to do a better job providing for loved ones of critical patients. I became painfully aware after so long that the reason they don’t make it comfy cozy there is because they generally don’t want you to stay there. Not only do they not like the distraction and commotion from family members but they really encourage family to go home and get REAL rest. But let’s face it, most of us won’t do that so we just stay there in depressing, smelly, backbreaking, inhospitable misery. And that doesn’t even include the worry you have about your loved one.
I for one think they should allow 2 family members per patient to stay overnight. Possibly provide COMFORTABLE recliners in the waiting room and an actual bed for one family member in the patients room. And for the love of humanity PLEASE provide a shower! When I referred to smelly.. boy was it ever! And I will most definitely include myself in that category. As much as I wanted to go home and wash the hospital stench off me I just couldn’t leave him and I am sure all my fellow stinky waiting room friends felt the same. There is just that continuous fear of not being there when something were to happen or them waking up scared and not having you there. It just wasn’t worth it to me. If you ever have to visit intensive care, think about bringing things to leave in the waiting room. Like goodies, toiletries or games and books. Or anything that could brighten a moment in such a dark time. You could really make a difference..trust me.
And then.. there are actual human angels who magically appear in waiting rooms….
As I made my way to the depressing and much too small waiting room I looked for the most isolated place to park myself. Luckily there was a corner chair open with no one sitting close. I curled myself up in that chair and suddenly felt like I did on my gut wrenching drive to the hospital. Like someone turned on a faucet.. I just let loose. I just couldn’t compose myself enough to call the kids or even operate my phone. I was also painfully aware of the fact that I wasn’t the only one in the room and didn’t want to make a fool of myself or make others feel uncomfortable.. so I broke down as controlled as possible.. ya know like when you feel like your face may explode off your head because you are holding the antics in and the pressure builds up like a boiler? I am sure I looked like a pressure cooker ready to blow!
I then contacted our kids and told them to come back. I didn’t want them to panic but I also wanted them to realize how even more serious things had become and they needed to be here.
Like I said, I must have looked terrible, so much so that this sweet woman sitting across from me feels compelled to speak to me, “Honey, are you alright?” she asks me in this soft sweet and most angelic southern voice. I look up and I swear she was glowing.. and to this day, I believe she was sent to me at that precise moment. As I looked up at her thru my tear and mascara soaked eyes I felt an instant calmness and a feeling of rescue.. like she just caught me from a free fall in her arms and was about to rock me to sleep.
I began to explain to her all that was going on and it felt so good to talk about this with someone non biased.. someone I didn’t have to nurture as I spoke. And as I sat with her I could feel myself becoming stronger. I could feel the General knocking at my door. I felt myself rising up with a shred of confidence that I could regroup and pull myself together.
Through our short conversation I learned that this angel of a woman was also at the hospital for a loved one. Her Father had suffered with heart issues for sometime and had to be readmitted. Even in all her worry for her own family she not only took the time to minister to me but had done so with others. And she had many stories to tell me about the others who sat in our same boat in the isolated world of that waiting room. In fact, I was shocked to discover that there were other patients there even younger than my Hubby. Specifically, one who was only in his early forties and had been battling severe heart issues for a while. They had already tried so many procedures and surgeries on him and nothing seemed to be working. He was so physically,mentally and financially drained that he was starting to give up and didn’t want to go thru it any longer. I eventually met and spoke with his wife and watched the life drain from her day after day as she struggled to be strong for her husband and herself. And I would look at her with such empathy and a fear that I was looking in a mirror at myself… wondering if I was looking at my future. And as I took up residence for that long 17 days in a place I would have never believed I learned so many valuable lessons. I learned so much about people and that you are never the only one in this world with problems. And there Is ALWAYS someone worse off and someone out there you can help.
My Heaven sent friend asked me if she could pray for me…ASKED ME.. her charity and sweetness just oozed out of her..she wrote down my name and Hubby’s name and asked if I was on Facebook. Then my phone rang. I excused myself and answered and it was the doctor who just finished working on Hubby. My new friend squeezed my hand, smiled at me with her usual glow and said she would see me later and gave me much needed privacy.
The doctor explained to me that even though things are as serious as you can get that he felt my husband could come out of it eventually. He said his heart will more than likely forever be compromised and that it will be a very long road, especially with the added challenge of diabetes, but that there is hope because he is young and it was his first health emergency. But he very strongly stated that he wants us to remember that he is not out of the woods and he is still very very critical.
I don’t remember how long I was in the waiting room but they came and told me I could go back in and see him. When I walked in that room things became real serious.. quick. I looked at him and it was almost more than I could handle. He was no longer awake and he looked like he was in a coma. Seeing that tube coming out of his mouth and hearing the breathing machine just took everything to a whole new level. And as if it wasn’t bad enough to be standing there seeing him this way myself my mind immediately went to the family coming back and witnessing the strong, funny, goofy, and larger than life man they always loved lying there lifeless, hooked to everything and not able to breathe on his own. My heart sank knowing what was coming and I had to figure out a way to pull together to help them get thru it. Then I remembered my new angel friend and how she helped me.. and I look over and the blonde angel nurse came in to start her shift.. and I looked up at God with a much better attitude and look on my face and said in silence to Him, “I can do this.. I hear You.. and I will try harder.”
I sat next to Hubby holding his hand and talking to him completely normally just in case he could hear me. He still had the magic softball in his other hand. The doctors and nurses all were touched by it and always made efforts to keep it there.
Although I realized Hubby was in the hands of professionals I had this constant need to be very aware of what was going and I asked many many questions. Some nurses were patient with me and some weren’t and I totally understand. But, I felt as if because Hubby couldn’t speak for himself that I had to make myself aware of everything and be his protector.
As I sat there I started to notice all the sounds of intensive care. All the beeps and alarms and clicking of keyboards. There is also a silence underneath it all that reminds you exactly where you are…just-in-case you try to forget.
I began to think of how Hubby and I met and what a funny story it is….. then I look up and the kids and my Mother-in-law are here.
I will tell you the funny story a little later. General Char just came out and we have a job to do….
Until next time.. be a blessing.. share a blessing.. be blessed xoxo