Monday, February 6, 2017

Showing up for Life

Last week, my dear, sweet, husband had a "warning stroke" formally called a transient ischemic attack or TIA for short. In the space of a few minutes our normal daily life changed.
The not so quick version is he had had what he calls "squiggles " (kinda like floaters but elongated) in his eyes that afternoon and usually a nap will make it go away. We have always attributed it to eye strain. So instead of a nap he decided to drive an hour and pick up some things to continue working on our living room. We had just had our new wooden floors put in and Edmund was doing the finishing work.  First stop was the flooring place just 30 minutes away. Stopping there to pay for the great job they did. He walked in sat down and as he was trying to talk to the guy at the desk, edmund realized that what he was trying to say wasn't coming out of his mouth it was he says as if he was "speaking in tongues". Edmund thinks the guy thought he was mentally challenged and was very patient and kind to him.  Finally got the transaction done and edmund left, got in the car and drove home to me frustrated because he could not think remember things and peoples names.
I wasn't expecting him for another 3.5 hours so I was shocked as he walked in the door...but more was the look on his face...I asked him who died and he said "No one yet. " That concerned me.  He took off his shoes and came into the living room. He asked me to come talk to him and not freak out. That heightened the concern. Then he told me his little story. wow.
I said we're going to the hospital. He said no he would take a nap. I said "No you are going to go to the hospital."
" No that is ridiculous. I am going to take a nap. "
So I asked him who his brothers and sisters were...he couldn't name them or their spouses. I asked him my kids names he could only remember one, I have 7 kids. I asked him his parents names...a very long pause and he  finally was able to do that. He was concerned cause he couldn't say the Gettysburg address which he proudly can do any other time. So I called his nephew who is an ER doctor in Philadelphia and talked to him.  We are in Colorado. He agreed we should go to the hospital. He talked to Edmund and a few minutes later we were on our way to the hospital 15 minutes away.
He had test after test each coming back with relevant, but not so good news. They found a small aneurysm in his brain and Bigeminy which is an irratic heart beat...and his triglycerides were higher than they would like and the PFO which is the small hole in the wall of the atrium of the heart that usually closes day after we are born, had never closed. 2% of people have that problem and it allows unoxygenated blood to flow into the left atrium from the right without going through the ventricles  and out to the brain/body...so that is not good.
Concern continuing to build in my mind, the decision was made for Edmund to stay in the hospital for the night under observation. That night his breathing was so irratic that he had to be on oxygen.
All of this was happening and all of our surroundings were new to us.  We didn't have our own Dr. We didn't know the hospital. We didn't have family close by and we were just beginning to make friends in the area having moved here to Divide, Colorado in September.
I had contacted one of my kids and started an email thread and called my husband's older daughter and spoke to her. So we were connected...and they reached out all our kids that night...it was good to feel surrounded by their loving concern.
One of our new neighbors called me out of the blue and said she was on the way home from work would I like her to stop and get anything. I told her no thanks we are actually in the hospital and she came to check on us and brought us something healthy to eat. So so thoughtful.
The next day more tests and following two dr consults we were released with prescriptions and appointments for follow ups  in the next few weeks. Taking the medicine.  Rested for a day. Back to regular routines.  Being retired that is easy. Fielding calls and so grateful for family reaching out to us and caring how we were doing. Still four days later and last night what had happened hit me like a ton of bricks. I had a total panic attack. Edmund was a gem. He cared for me, calmed me down staying up beside me late into the night until I finally was able to sleep.
This experience and our families ability to keep showing up for us brought the power of love and family right to the forefront of our lives.  We are so grateful for this warning and the ability to more fully care for ourselves. Keep showing up for one another. It is a beautiful thing from this vantage point. I am so grateful for and blessed by all of you in our lives.