Thursday, September 7, 2017

So long, hospital room view, our man is home

He was discharged yesterday, with a fat sheaf of instructions, six prescriptions, plus the infusion medicine that will continue for six weeks. Without putting his private medical information in the public square (more than I already have) he was a very sick honey. The night before surgery, he thought it might be his time, and then he decided no, his children still need him, and I do too. He decided.

He's home, now, the incision scar on his chest knitting together nicely, black stitches peeking out. He woke this morning and pronounced the night in his own bed "the best yet." Our son had arranged his pillows just so, and its architecture, combined with his dad's utter and complete exhaustion, worked its magic. No doubt his first shower in days also helped. No more sitting on a bathtub bench. He's standing under the water again, his back strong enough, the painful spasms mere ghosts now. The medicine is working. Of course, he's still weak; he walks slowly and gingerly. It is extraordinary to watch the body coming back online after its functions were essentially paused, as machines breathed for him and pumped his heart. I am shocked, happily so, by how far he has come in six short days. On this day one week ago, we did not yet know that his doctors would crack his sternum to perform open heart surgery on him the following morning.

Both our children were here with us last night when the infusion nurse came to show us how to administer the IV treatment. In between these twice daily treatments, he is to walk outside twice a day, two blocks to start, increasing the distance every day. We are lucky to live in a complex with garden paths, and benches along the way. This will be good for me, too. I will certainly walk alongside him, and by the end of a month he is to be walking a mile daily, which means I will be, too. File under the category of silver linings.

It turns out my husband's insurance is good: The at home treatments are one hundred percent covered. He has also racked up an impressive number of sick days at work, almost a year's worth, which he will burn through before having to go on disability. All things being well, he will be back at work long before that happens. File under the category of things I am insanely grateful for.

Meanwhile I am worried about our family and friends who are in the path of that monster category 5 hurricane, Irma. It already blew through Antigua and Barbuda, where my husband is from. Our family in Antigua seems to have come through okay, but Barbuda, their tiny sister island, was ravaged, almost leveled. Photographs my brother-in-law sent us show a torn up landscape strewn with sticks and debris, very few houses left standing. Now, as yet another hurricane takes aim, this one a category 2 named Jose, due to arrive on the weekend, they are evacuating the entire population of Barbuda. I cannot even imagine it.

At this moment, Irma is over the Virgin Islands, heading for the Bahamas, where we have more relatives, and then on to Florida where a whole contingent of our family lives, from West Palm Beach up to Orlando. My Aunt Beulah's funeral was supposed to be in West Palm Beach this Saturday, but they've had to postpone it because of the hurricane. My uncle, his youngest daughter, and her wife boarded up the house in Ft. Pierce and drove to Atlanta yesterday to catch a flight to San Francisco, where my cousin and her wife live. They left at noon and it took them till past midnight to get to Atlanta. The highways were bumper to bumper with evacuees.

I haven't yet mentioned that one of my mom's two remaining sisters had a stroke on the same day my husband went into surgery. She is mostly okay, no brain bleeds, just weakness on one side. She is in good hands as she lives with her children. Another cousin, Aunt Beulah's middle daughter, when she heard the news of my husband's heart surgery, said, "Our family is really being tested right now." And we are, but so is the rest of the world. These are difficult times. And yet there is still so much that mitigates our trials. My son mused, "Do bad things really come in threes or do we just start over counting when we get to three?" I found that oddly profound. For myself, I find everything a little easier to navigate if I don't actually keep score.

To my dear Florida friends here, please know I'm sending prayers for your safety through the coming winds and the rain. I hope that monster storm gets blown off course, way out to sea, and that all you receive from it is a watery kiss.


My daughter sat on the windowsill of her dad's hospital room watching the sun rise the morning of his surgery. We got to the hospital at 4:30 AM to be sure we would see him before the gurney arrived to transport him to the OR. 


The surgery lasted six hours. We were drained and exhausted with worry. As the hospital is nearby where we live, we went home for the first four hours, then headed back to wait for news in the cardiac floor waiting room.


The monitors and drips and wires in the intensive care unit were something to behold. I asked the nurse what each number meant then sat there watching them obsessively as they dipped and rose, dipped and rose, all day, all night.


My son finally made it home from the hurricane that had trapped him with a wedding party in Cabo, Mexico. By then his dad had been moved out of the ICU and into a private room with a view.


My daughter's boyfriend was a prince, there for us the entire time. During the surgery, my daughter was my rock. He was her rock and I am grateful to him, so much more than he can truly imagine. 


The sky was spitting yesterday morning as I escorted my husband home. While we waited for the car to pull up, he walked out to the sidewalk and into the light drizzle. "Come back inside," I begged him, but he turned his face up to the gray sky and said, "No, this feels wonderful."


28 comments:

  1. I am so happy for you. Silver linings indeed.

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  2. How amazing is that. Open heart surgery, home in six days. Home is so much better than hospital.

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  3. I am so glad to read this update. I am glad your husband is home and on the mend. It must be with a big sigh of relief. Your family came together in love and support and it is a beautiful thing to see. I do hope your Aunt is okay. Sending you a big hug with prayers for strength and peace.

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  4. Oh my I have been holding my breath! I am so glad that he is at home now, able to stand for a shower, it is the little things that make the really big things seem OK. My love and best wishes go with you, WHEW for now! Lovely supportive family is everything and your is the BEST!

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  5. Praise God, he's home, sound and safe. I'm sad for all the rest of what is happening there but lifted by the love of your family and glad that you are a little less worried. Your son's (I just wrote sun - both so true)profundity and your husband's joy at such simply things is amazing and heartens me. Keep truck'n on dear Angela. My best to you.

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  6. Well, you've made me cry again with your words and with your pictures.
    Yes, we are all being tested and that's just the truth. All we can do is hold on to each other and do what we can.
    And love. I keep thinking that and I know it's true.

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  7. The pictures of your children brought tears to my eyes. It's the first picture I have seen of your daughter where she is not shining her beautiful glow.

    I am grateful that your beloved is getting better. 💕

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  8. So glad all is going well! We used to say the threes, but recently they just seem to keep on coming past three, past four, and on and on.

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  9. I am so glad and relieved to read all this news. So happy to know your husband is home and on the mend. If hugs can come through these words, they are here. Sending you and your beautiful family all the best get well wishes and more.

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  10. This is one of those life events where your world shifts into before and after. I am so very glad your husband is doing okay now. Take care of each other ... But I can tell you are already doing that. Wishing you continued strength as your husband heals and you keep going forward into the after.

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  11. I am really happy for your husband that he made it through the surgery just fine and is on the road to recovery! You and your kids are very blessed to have him around :)

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  12. I'm thankful that everything went well and I hope your extended family stays safe. I have a cousin who just moved to Florida and I'm worried about her too.

    Take care.

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  13. I love it that he let the rain fall on his face, savoring it. I'm really happy that he's home, but oh! These photographs give us a glimpse of all the stress and worry. Tenderness and family and closeness, too. It's all there, in your words and these pictures.

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  14. Oh my god I'm so grateful he and you and everyone are okay and recovering. You were thought of so much!! The boyfriend is a keeper. So is the man.

    So are YOU.

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  15. The miracle of modern medicine is truly impressive. Being home is good medicine too. Nothing is better than being in your own surroundings and sleeping in your own bed. Walking daily is great. Doing this together is makes exercise pleasurable. It would be nice if Irma would go out to sea or do us all a favor and become a mild tropical storm. Susan

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  16. My goodness. Those words and those pictures and that love. So glad. So, so glad for your family!

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  17. I have been waiting for this news! So pleased to hear that he is home and improving rapidly. Here in England we are all worrying about Irma and the terrible devastation that is being wrought. Whenever friends meet is it mentioned. I hope that your family and friends will all be OK.

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  18. Ugh - what a story. SO glad he is out the other end. xx

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  19. I'm so glad he's come through the surgery and is back home. These ARE trying times. It feels so strange to be on the opposite side of the ocean, when virtually everyone I know is going through so much back in the states.

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  20. So glad he is home and with you all. x

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  21. Oh such wonderful news! Hope all your friends and family stay safe. We are hunkered down as best we can.
    Xoxo
    Barbara

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  22. I was just thinking about you and yours. Sending love.

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  23. Wonderful news! Your kids (and their beloveds) are such support; that is a blessing.

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  24. Your beautiful words brought tears to my eyes. I'm so glad all is well and your husband is at home.

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  25. Oh gosh. I'm getting caught up here. You must feel that much of the past several days has been a living hell. I am SO glad to hear your husband is recuperating. Your family is in my thoughts.

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  26. Didn't realize that I was holding my breath and my tears of relief until I read your words that your dear man had turned his head up to the grey sky in gratitude. So much is overwhelming right now, and still there are moments of grace. Sending love to you and your family.

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  27. Oh dear, what a shocking post, and I am thankful your dear, strong husband made it through the serious surgery. How good that mist or light rain must have felt to him.

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