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It's Been Quite The Year...Starting With My Husband Is Still Alive!

I know. Kind of a shocking title. But the truth is he is still alive from having a heart attack and then a quadruple by-pass last September. I don't mean to be over dramatic, but I also know it was a very dramatic episode. Or should I say incident? Or maybe situation? Honestly I don't know what to call it. It all seems so surreal; thus to call it anything that resembles normalcy is silly to me. But that's really not the point of this writing excerpt. No, this is a chance for me to offer my story. Maybe by me writing this I can understand more of my experience and...give voice to others who go through scary stuff.

The first thing you should know is my husband is kind. Maybe too kind. He let me have my first cup of coffee before mentioning he thought we should go to the ER. Later he will tell me he wanted me to get that caffeine in me as he knows I have a slight (his words...I would use full on) addiction and would get a headache; if said addiction was not taken care of. The truth is he made the decision based on his wanting to take care of me...and now you can judge me as I was upset with him for doing this. You think you might be having a heart attack you get your a$$ to the hospital! End of story!!!

We drove to the hospital and long story short for this part anyways, he was showing enzyme increases within his blood. He will want me to write he wasn't that high number-wise. This becomes very irrelevant, but he hangs on to this information for three days! He reminds me when I visit him in the hospital his enzymes were not that high; I remind him they stopped taking his blood for the enzyme count as surgery was imminent. It's all about perspective isn't it? He will also want me to write that he had a small heart attack. I will counter with almost all of his heart vessels were blocked. One was so blocked it began to grow another one for oxygen and blood to get through! Again, perspective. But this is the part were I start to feel alone.

My husband is also tragically optimistic. By that I mean, he will pull out of every negative scenario the positive. Who wouldn't want to live like this, right? But let me tell you, it's hard work trying to keep up with optimism when you worry your best friend forever might not make it. I felt so guilty for even thinking this given his optimism. I felt trapped in a world of mirrors. Smile so the person you love the very mostest doesn't feel your worry or fear. But when you get to the backside of the mirrors, suddenly you realize there isn't enough tissue available to wipe your tears of fear and sadness away. I tried to hide my most basic of thoughts: What if he doesn't make it?

The other part to this story is COVID. I could only visit him (though we did sneak one of our sons in), and I could only stay for so long (though I stayed longer). I felt strange to have my husband away from me during a pretty scary time. But I also felt relief. Can I even say that? The relief came due to the worry I carried with me in my heart of all the 'what ifs'. Of course these what ifs were never positive, and I felt ashamed. My husband would tell me he is going to be fine. He loves the Dr. (I did too). He knows he is in good hands and he has his faith. I know all of this as well...and yet I still feel this weird new weight of guilt lugging around with me. The guilt of worry. The guilt of 'what if 'he doesn't make it? And, the guilt of not being as positive as he was. Plain and simple: It sucked. I thought I sucked. I have since learned many things. One of which is we balance each other out. For example, if we were both too optimistic we would have no friends. Who wants to hang out with Mr.and Mrs. Pollyana? What I really learned is to be truthful. Also, it's ok to be scared AND positive.

Fast forward and my husband just had his yearly cardiac check up. He got a great review and the proverbial 'OK' until next year. I am not sure I allowed myself to breath much until I heard what the Dr. said. We went through some ups and downs this past year of determining what he should and shouldn't do. By all accounts he has not changed his routine much. As a matter of fact he is currently building a chimney chase, or something like that, and has been mostly working by himself. In the heat. Up on ladders or a rented lift (really high off ground). For the last two months. For hours a day. And we are back to the tricky part of tragic optimism again. I say "Maybe you should rest and give it a minute (or a week) before going back out there." He replies, "I'm fine." I drink my coffee. I have learned he'll let me know if he needs anything after I've had my first cup.


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