Thursday, February 28, 2008

A New Lease on Life

I returned to work this morning, albeit the world was a bit foggy through my still sick eyes but by the time the day ended, I felt so much better, stronger and positive. Actually, the office was like being in a battle zone, though.....victims falling everywhere, of the flu, that is. There are empty offices throughout and those who have returned look a bit tattered as I am sure I did today. In all my years of working, I can never remember flu being so pervasive in my immediate surroundings. All in all, it was so good for my spirits to be with my friends and in my normal routine.

The heart palpitations which I have been having since LM's hospitalization have continued and have been quite serious during this bout with the flu so I am seeing my physician tomorrow morning. My BP is elevated. I know it is not good.

LM had a good day today and we just had a great chat! I should not be amazed, as I have always known what a strong spirit he has, but I am in awe of his strength and focus on getting better. He sees his cardiologist tomorrow and will also get to ride to Hyannisport to get his mail from his PO box and see a bit of the world he has been missing. He is apprehensive about possibly being exposed to illness, though, and I cannot blame him. I cannot imagine him having to endure this flu in his compromised state.

Had a wonderfully long and philosophical conversation with my best friend, Sue, tonight. We go back a long way and do not get to spend near enough time together these days but we make time for long chats every few weeks and keep in touch otherwise with e-mail. We both realize how very close we are to being at a point where we have to decide how long we will/can work and what will happen to us at the point when no longer have a paycheck.......that is a subject to write about another day. Tonight we had to decide to just be grateful for each day we have right now....knowing there is not much in either of our lives which we can do differently right now.

Time for me to go to bed.....very very cold here tonight.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Nabbed by the Paparazzi

Ms G has been caught napping on the electric blanket under the down comforter! She truly has been doing an excellent job of nursing me this week, though. Everytime I wake up she is right under the covers with at least one paw touching me. Very tender little girl.
Knowing full-well that we can become what we focus upon, I decided today that I better stop telling myself how sick I am....It is time to turn this thing around......sounds good in theory, anyway.
There is some progress as the head congestion has cleared out a bit. After calling work and talking with my dear friend, Nancy, I know there are many others there who are feeling just like I do! Right now, I am focusing on seeing myself back at my office welcoming everyone as they start their days TOMORROW! I miss human contact, I miss fresh air and smiles.

Good news on the LM front today....he has been really busy and went for his first walk outside with the help of his PT, Julia. He walked down the lane beside his house and is supposed to do it everyday now. LM says Bob has a big stick with which he plans to enforce the walk routine! I could hear the difference in LM's voice....he is getting strength back bit by bit. Today they also brought him a telemetry machine with which he can check all his vital signs daily and it will transmit to the Dr's office. He has also been tending to some Cape Cod Salties' business and planning the speaker who will come from Washington, DC next month. I just bet, LM will be able to attend that meeting. He is amazing.
I spoke with Dad today and he is doing OK. He misses our visits but he understands. A 2 hour drive right now is too much and I cannot expose him to this flu. His assisted living facility was in "lockdown" for 5 days last week. He was not allowed to leave his aartment and they brought meals and left them outside the door. Sounds rather like prison to me and he was so relieved when it was lifted on Monday. He remains so positive throughout each of those challenges he faces and I am contunually amazed at how well he has adjusted to living there at the age of 95. He is such a ray of sunshine to everyone each day and goes out of his way to make others feel like he cares and is interested. He could certainly be an advocate for assisted living.
The sun has come out! Amazing what a shift in focus can do!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Red Wings are here!

Sickness is still all consuming here. I tried to go to work this morning but never made it beyond the shower before I collapsed back in to 3+ hours of sleep. I am ready for this plague to move on!! I have things to to give and feel with LM, the 1st birthday of granddaughter, Samantha, to plan for and celebrate, a loving Dad to visit, and long walks to take in the fresh air!

I was in such a fog of discomfort yesterday and this morning that I barely heard the distinct sound of the red wing blackbirds, yet their high-pitched calls reached me and took me right back to the times I have felt "saved" by that sound. I love seeing their beautiful bright red and yellow wings lighting up the winter marsh grasses as they sway and feed in the late winter breezes. Today I will take hope from their hardy spirit and stark beauty and feel that I am on the way back to feeling whole again. They symbolize relief from the darkness of all that has happened since Feb 13 and seem to be lifting me out of the fog.
LM is doing well today. He seems excited about doing his breathing exercises and the fact that the stitches from the chest drain came out today....the stitches in the big incision from his neck to his sternum are inside and will remain to hold the chest together. It feels like our conversations are bringing us back together bit by bit.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Caught by the Flu

I am down for the count here....mostly in bed. This is weird....I started out with a bad cough, general aching and weakness, coughed all day Sat and Sun (did sleep almost all day), then Sunday night the stuffy head descended on me. In the midst of all that at 4 am today, violent stomach pains brought throwing up and diarrhea.....not so hindsight, I think LM has had this during his recovery from the surgery. Even down to the feeling that our skin was crawling and painful to the touch....I will survive but it does not help the general depressed feeling I have.
Anyway, LM is doing fairly well and calling often. He feels so terrible that he cannot be of help to me right now. He seems to have one good day and then one slow day. Predictable, I guess.
I really miss our laughing, loving and sharing the adventures of each day. I feel selfish even saying that. He has been through so so much and has such a challenge ahead.
Hopefully, I can work tomorrow. It keeps my mind busy.
Back to bed...

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Comfort does seem to be elusive today....LM has been having a terrible time sleeping and that is not good, Good rest is vital to his recovery. His mattress is VERY firm so in an effort to correct that, today I acquired a memory foam topper, a new cushy mattress pad and pretty blue-on-blue satin finish sheets. I also brought 4 movies for LM and Bob to watch, tried to pick comedies. Hopefully tonight will be better. Mental comfort is the other state which seems to be absent. LM is so worried about not working, about his friend, Bob, who is his caregiver and a very good one at that, and about me. Now today, I have come down with some sort of malady...bad cough, general exhaustion and very unsettled digestive tract....It could be most anything so I am trying to rest...after a visit to install the new bed comforts with Bob's assistance, I made a quick exit without touching my beloved in an effort to keep him from catching whatever I have. Today he is much more tired than yesterday but I think this is due to how much he accomplished yesterday and also, recovery will bring up and down days. He was much better than when I saw him on Thursday and is moving around more. He has so many sore places on his body! We did discuss how hyper-sensitive his body is right now....just to have someone touch his skin is very disturbing....another aspect of the elusive comfort. The pill swallowing seems to be much easier now.

My sleep was very fitful last night and I think this whole ailment thing with me is due to such prolonged stress. I am trying to rest this afternoon...had to attend the funeral of a dear friend this morning...there is a post about her entitled "Settling" in my early posts from last year (11/29/06). Sad to lose her but she went very peacefully to sleep in her favorite chair last Friday. Our friendship saw us though some tough times and we laughed a lot and had some fun shopping expeditions. Often I would walk to her house at lunch and she just loved to gossip about all her neighbors...her opinions and observations were very entertaining! We shared similar liberal political views and she was often on her soap box in that regard. I will miss those lunches!

Tonight I will be staying at my boss's beautiful home to care for his two retrievers....Boss and wife got stuck in Fl when flights were cancelled due to the snow in Boston yesterday.
I am happy to help them out and they compensate me very generously. The dogs are very funny, loving critters and the diversion will help as I am feleing so lost without my usual weekend time with LM. He is saying often how much he misses "us" too and thinks he may try to come here next weekend.

This whole ordeal of the past 11 days had made me so aware of how reluctant I am to call friends or family to just talk about how I feel right now. When I think of doing it, I feel I am creating such a burden for someone, and being a nuisance. Yet, I have spent countless hours listening and comforting these same people I could call. This has to be a fault and I do not know how to overcome it. I need support and should feel fine asking for it. I will be happy when I can talk with LM again without feeling like I am impeding his recovery. He has been such a good sounding board, and I for him. I did talk with one of my sisters today, and my dear daughter, Anne, last night and that felt Ok but something is missing here with me...feeling bereft. I suppose it goes with the territory and my lack of comfort cannot be solved by buying comfy bed will return and if I just focus on taking care of myself.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Are we on the other Side Yet??

Just may be on that other was much better for my dear LM. He had a shower and shaved early this morning after another sleepless night. In reading about conditions after heart by-pass surgery, it seems that everything which he has been experiencing is fairly common and things are basically on track. Late morning the visiting nurse, an occupational therapist and a physical therapist began arriving at their appointed times and I think all that combined to bring about a much happier and more settled feeling day. LM was almost jubilant when he called me to say he now feels as if he is on the mend and feeling much more himself and that he will sleep tonight. This is all such good news and he was even able to eat a delicious meal of baked haddock this evening. Not a lot of food but enough to make us all encouraged. His swallowing pain has eased out considerably, too.

I am staying home tonight and letting LM have uninterrupted time to rest. I will cook myself a nice dinner and let some of the stress of the past week ease away. I am looking forward to talking with my daughter from Florida and then I will gather up Ms. Graysea and cuddle up in bed to read with my dear little friend whom I am certain is wondering where her second favorite person has been these last two weeks....he is very conspicuous in his absence....the house seems hollow as this time on Friday nights we are usually sharing a nice dinner and each other's arms. This afternoon LM mentioned that he is looking forward to a visit here very soon, even if it is brief, he wants to grasp some sense of our life back.
It feels like fate has given us a good shaking up these past 10 days, and although it felt at the onset that we just could not deal with one more thing, we have come through, we have made major adjustments, and are now being guided toward whatever new challenge is in the wings. Day by day....we have to rely on the inate abilities we have, trust love and let go.

There is a storm raging outside my window tonight, yet for the first time in awhile, there is not one in my heart....just a few waves to remind me I am human - happily so!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


LM's first night home was very unsettled. Swallowing continues to be a major issue, thus taking the many pills is agony and eating anything more than broth or apple juice is not possible. I am worrying about the fact that he has had no protein which is so necessary to healing. Anemia is also an issue and he needs iron. He had little or no sleep because he had the feeling his heart kept stopping. This seems like it is anxiety related and not reality but I have no idea if this is a common feeling post-heart failure/surgery. From his description, I would surmise that the feeling in his throat may be a gland which is inflammed due to the breathing tube. These are issues he needs to take up with the Doctor on the phone tomorrow as the VNA nurse just seemed to ignore discussion of them. LM is easily stressed, sporting a deep frown which doesn't seem to leave his face. So hard for him to get comfortable but Bob and I did our best tonight. He has such awful bruises on his body and the area where they inserted the heart catheterization
probe in his groin is very sore.
Today was a very stressful day for me, too. At times I feel like I am looking down on this whole ordeal for LM, and other times, I feel it so intensely that I feel like running away and hiding. There is no way I would. We will get through this and I feel guilty for even thinking about myself, but I do know if I don't, I will not be able to be there for my love. Tonight the man I love is not there....just pain and unrest.....he will emerge from all this and we will come back around together united in his recovery. I miss our life together.....there is unrest all around.

PS....I really needed to come back and say there were several glimmers of my LM today...he called my office and, as in the pre-surgery days, he said "Ah, I love that voice" when I answered the phone. Then tonight he looked at me once and gave me his cute double raise of the eyebrows, and he wanted to touch me tenderly for an ever so brief time before his unrest grabbed him again. I am just gratefully going to sleep now....what I wrote earlier seemed grim and I had to shift my focus to look back on those sweet moments. Gratitude wins out.

Seeking Balance

The scales which hold our lives are banging and clanging back and forth wildly right now in an attempt to regain center. Everything seems more intense, emotions are running high but we struggle to control them to keep some sense of order and a strong focus on recovery. LM returned home a little after 6 pm yesterday and by the time I arrived at 6:40 or so, he was wrapped in his favorite "blankie" in a wing back chair awaiting the bowl of chicken broth being prepared by Bob. Stress, exhaustion, anxiety and annoyance would best personify my love as I sat across the room watching him. All at once I was so relieved to see him home but so overwhelmed by the changes and how far he has to go yet. For the first time all the incisions were uncovered, bruises and angry red marks mar the body I so treasure. I couldn't seem to reel in my concern and tendency to project on all that is ahead for LM and "us". I struggled to get my emotions in check, to let Bob be LM's caretaker and gracefully leave for home without dissolving in a lake of tears. So much has happened, so much to come. After some sweet glances which seemed to emanate from a veil of pain and uncertainty, LM and I said goodnight and as always he said, "please call me when you are home so I know you are safe and I love you". I could barely see to drive home, the tears flowing as my body and soul repeated my mantra of "stay in the moment", don't project what looks like could grateful for the tiny moments of progress....actually major progress, from a week ago.

I guess one could say I am exhausted, anxious, stressed and annoyed that the bubble of love we had been living in until this happened, feels threatened. Perhaps it was my feelings I was projecting onto LM last night. This morning I am switching my focus to all the good that has come from this. One minute, one second at a time today, I will be grateful for the stength I have found through this experience. Our love will be healthier, after a fashion, and we have come through a major life threatening/changing experience together and I will forgive myself for the times of weakness which I have felt....a very hard thing for me to do but it must be if I am going to be whole and balanced to help LM through the myriad of challenges he faces...I am now picturing his very happy face as he exercises and feels the strength in his body return.

I am rambling....time for work.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Now we can have Valentine's Day - A True Celebration of our Hearts

This was the craziest day yet in the whirlwind surrounding LM's heart. Actually the morning started with the news that it would be the day for LM to go home; we waited, and waited, LM shaved and showered and walked, even climbed some stairs and felt quite good. By lunch he was really tired and settling in for a nap....still no word on discharge. Finally, around 3 they told him he would be going to a rehab hospital, OK....within half an hour, he was told no and that he would be going home to Bob's. As far as I know right now he is on the way. He will call me when he is home and settled. Evidently, the results of all his tests today revealed clear lungs, good healing and all systems "go" so home is the place and rehab will be though the VNA. It was a bit rocky and I think some pieces of the treatment fell through the cracks but I could hear the exultation when I received that last call about going home...that familiar loving lilt was beautiful music to my ears.
More later after my eyes actually see my beloved in his home and settled. WHEW!
Interesting that this all comes full circle on the full moon and the night of an eclipse. There is significance there somewhere.

Lightened Hearts

It must be the beautifully clear Snow Moon which lit my way home from LM's bedside last just must be, and of course, all the prayers, and thoughts which have lifted us up and allowed us to finally find our way out of the darkened woods we have wandered in this past week. At 6 am LM's sweet voice was on the phone telling me he had a good night....the noisy neighbor was moved out of the unit and the best news of all, albeit a bit daunting, is that he will be released today, MAYBE...right now I am on this end waiting for the final edict and he is in his room at Cape Cod Hospital counting down the minutes. Be back later when I know more news. Bob has been alerted and he will be the chauffeur. What difference 12 hrs makes!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Nitty Gritty

Oh, this day was tough all the way around. This morning I had all I could do to stay at work. I had to rehash the past 6 days over and over as friends arrived for work and expressed their deep concern for LM and for me. Not only was I teary but my stomach has been so rocky all day.

LM seemed to be having a good day and he had some company but he is very tired and becoming annoyed with his surroundings. He had a nice shower for the first time today and that felt good but he has a severe outbreak of thrush in his throat and mouth. He has a medication for it but it is not allowing him to eat or swallow without a lot of pain. When I arrived he said he had been counting the minutes until my arrival. He knew I would leave my office at 5. I just spent the time trying to make him comfy, and I cut his toe nails and massaged his feet and legs as we talked about our respective days. He is in a great deal of pain from the healing of the chest incision. I can see that the knitting process is taking place and it is really uncomfortable. He is now down to the hardest part of the recovery and with that comes some depression and frustration and the dreaded homesickness. He seemed like he just wanted to close his eyes so I left a bit early, stopped for groceries (heaven forbid I should come home without Ms Graysea's supply of Whiskas Temptations....we were totally out!), then stopped at Lou's house to drop off some cardiac aftercare information for Bob to look over before homecoming day. I was just leaving Bob's when LM called me and he was really sad, barely talking, wanting to say "I miss you so much and I just want my life back ". Each time I have had surgery, I have gotten to that point in recovery and I know exactly how he feels. It is awful and you just want your own bed and quiet. Enough is enough.
To compound matters, at the hospital there is a patient across the hall who talks loudly on the phone to his DOG, yes, his dog!! He gets his wife on the phone and demands she put the phone to the dog's ear....remember I said we liked bizarre? Not this bad, please. The man also plays his TV very loudly as early as 6 am. It really is awful and exagerates LM's discomfort. So hard.

A week ago tonight, I was at LM & Bob's house and we were all sitting around laughing and in high gear. What a difference this week.
We are so grateful for all the love and support. It has truly been amazing with people from around the world offering prayers, positive thoughts and little cards and gifts.
I plan to drift off to sleep and creatively visualize a peaceful and more energetic day for LM tomorow and wake-up refreshed for the first time in a long time.

Dim the Lights, PLEASE!

Life has been under the brightest spotlights this past week and I am ready for the lights to dim a bit as reality is too harsh at the moment, overwhelming for both LM and me. I was so so tired last night but could not close my eyes, couldn't reach LM on the phone, couldn't eat, although I was very hungry, and body shaking, my mind was racing to all kinds of bizarre what ifs. Bizarre is fun but not when it is a reflection of what one's life is right now or what it could be. Around 10 pm LM called and tearfully described his evening of yet more milestones on his current road....all systems in his body are now working on their own and he is exhausted, but very grateful. Finally I slept for a little while.

This morning at just after 5, the phone rang and there was the sleepy voice of my love saying good morning and telling me about his night. He got up by himself to use the bathroom! We just talked for a little bit....tightening our thread of love and he drifted back to sleep. Once again, I was sobbing but with renewed hope as the sun began to come up over Oyster Pond and brighten my room, I was able to get up and start my day. Back to work....still cathartically sobbing inside but I know I will be surrounded by love and encouragement with my work friends, and tonight I will be back by LM's side to hold him and see his smile. He has lots of company coming today.

Maybe it takes having the bright lights on life to realize just how special and precious it all is. I guess I would rather truly feel than walk through this world in a vacuum of numbness but lets have the intensity be reflected in faces which are loving, not in a struggle for comort and life. I'm such a dreamer.....just talking out loud here to save my sanity.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Music to my Ears

After 6 hours of deep sleep I was preparing for my trek to the hospital this morning when my phone rang at wonderful to hear my LM say good morning, Love. Beautiful music to my ears. I arrived in Hyannis at 9 and found LM in his chair, free of the chest tube and having some breakfast....more music when I heard he had a great night's sleep, too. He had a very busy day today and some painful moments until about mid-afternoon. After breakfast he shaved and brushed his teeth on his own, and he worked with the occupational and physical therapists, and took a great walk! It was a lot and then they removed his pacemaker, and his large IV lines. He then had to return to bed and lay still for 2 straight hours which were painful hours as his throat was causing him a lot of pain and anxiety as he just could not swallow easily. Slowly he found some ease and then the nurse came to announce he was being moved to the surgical floor and a regular room. We packed up all his things and he walked to his new accomodations!! Great progress and he was quite delighted to settle in. I went for a long walk around the hospital while that was going on and when I came back he wanted to talk and go over the details of all that has happened, most especially, the night his heart stopped and he was brought back. That set off a torrent of sobs from me and I am still struggling to get a grip on my emotions. He gave me his heart pillow and told me to lay my head on it....very sweet, and he said it would be nice to have that pillow to hug tonight so he could feel close to me. After that his friend, Bob (with whom LM lives) came in and we discussed how Bob felt about caring for LM when he comes home which may be in a few days. I think it is fine with Bob and should be the perfect solution. I have to return to work tomorrow and it feels like jumping off a cliff to not be there all day but it is necessary and LM understands.
I think I will research how families cope with this type of trauma. I do not want to be stressing LM with my unchecked emotions yet I need to let them out. Very hard, so profound and I am most certain it is normal after such an event. I have so much support out there but I feel terribly alone in this. Very unusual feelings. Perhaps when I return to work and my incredible network of friends there, I will be able to center myself. My instincts tell me it is time to take very good care of myself and exercise now, and another good night's sleep will work wonders.
When I left this evening, LM was joking a bit and really smiling. A great feeling.
It is raining so hard here and very foggy. Strange February day as the temps were over 60 degrees.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hurdles and Milestones

What a day! After a solid 6 hour sleep I was on my way to the hospital about 8 am and have just returned home at 9:15 pm. This was an amazing day with peaks and valleys and a lot in between. My favorite moment today was seeing LM smile a huge smile! The ability to focus his eyes has returned. He walked about 40 ft and he ate a tiny bit of food and appears to be mastering well the post-by-pass rituals of moving his body without using his arms, the correct way to do the logroll out of bed and getting out of the chair, and how to hug one's chest when coughing. In between these milestones there are many many uncomfortable, near tearful times and hurdles, some attainable some not. He has always had a terrible time swallowing pills and now he is being presented with more than a handful of the enemy pills 3 times a day or more. Today he did not make too much progress with this challenge. It is compounded by the fact that his throat is still very sore from the breathing tube, his tongue is swollen, and his mouth is very dry. Ice chips have helped that somewhat but even then he can only handle 1 spoonful every 15-20 minutes as each mouthful causes paroxyisms of hiccups. So painful when you have a chest full of broken ribs. All morning he continued to complain about an inability to breathe. I guess it is quite a common feeling, what with the pressure from the broken ribs and the healing incision. This feeling set up severe anxiety which compouded itself. His nurse eventually suggested he try once again to take a pain med and crushed it in orange sherbert which went down well. Within 30 minutes my dearest was calmer and able to rest for much of the afternoon. He had some visits from daughters, Meaghan and Kristi and his former wife, Ellen. Also, close friend, Bob, was in twice. When I left tonight LM was pretty uncomfortable but he has a great nurse, Mary, on until 7 am so I am sure they will sort out some issues. Most of them are very predictable for where his is in his recovery. Tonight he had begun to have serious gas in his digestive tract. VERY uncomfortable but good to know systems are working. Tomorrow morning the HUGE drains in his chest will come out and I hear it is a very painful procedure but that he will feel like a new man when the removal process is complete. Here's hoping!

The other component of this day was the gamut of emotions he is having...he was very anxious whenever I would leave the room and several times expressed the fear that I would leave him and our relationship because of this change in his health status. No matter how much I assured him of my total commitment to love him forever, he still seemed unsure. I can really understand. He sweetly told me very often how happy he was to have me there helping him and asked me not to leave at all. Finally tonight we had to say good-bye and as has been the case through this ordeal, it was painful but we both need to rest. I would not be any other place than right by his side through this and it pains me that I cannot stay but sensibility steps in and says I need to rest and have fresh air. I can only reassure LM that the thread of our love is stronger than ever, and it most certainly is true!

Thank you to everyone who has written and/or called. Your support for both of us is amazing and truly felt. Tomorow will show even more progress. I am still tearful, hopeful, feeling very loved and totally willing to see my love through this challenge and take the opportunity to really feel life, the pain and the joy of the tiniest hurdle jumped and marking the milestones.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


At home tonight after tearing myself away from my dear LM. Today was a day of hurdles for him. The breathing tube came out very painfully this morning about 6, he sat up after walking from the bed on his own, and we at last got to speak and be together for awhile. He is unable to focus his eyes but his first words were "my beautiful love". He is in a lot of discomfort and pain but he is on target and doing al he is told very nicely.

I have been having moments of intense heaving sobs but am mostly peaceful and sure he is well on his way to recovery. We have both been told we will run the gamut of emotions. Tonight I sat with him for nearly 3 hours, holding his hand, chatting abit to keep him awake and listening to him say "I love you" and answering the same to him...he is very humble about his near death experience.

I am beyond tired so must climb into my bed...I have heated it with my electric blanket as I have been shaking with chills all day, after all it is the first weekend in our relationship which we have not been together. We will get through this. Lots of support coming our way.
Sleep beckons and Ms G awaits the warmth of my body under the covers.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Angels of the Heart Among Us

First things first....LM came through the 8 hour surgery very well. They did five grafts from his left leg to the diseased arteries of the heart and he stayed strong throughout. He is still unconscious in ICC and on a ventilator. They say by morning he will be awake and sitting up and without the dreaded ventilator tube. His dearest friend, Bob and his daughter Meaghan and I were able to see him at 6:30 tonight and it was pretty scary and wrenching to all of us....I longed to hold him....but was just able to lean down and kiss his forehead and hold his arm. His feet were ice cold and I rubbed them. We were only allowed 10 minutes until tomorrow morning when we are invited to attend rounds with his staff of doctors and nurses.

As I may have mentioned before, LM and I met nearly 20 years ago when he began teaching at the community education program where I was an administrator so we both have a strong affinity for that school where until now, LM remains the longest running teacher and most popular for his class on salt water fishing on the shores of Cape Cod. Through the years there I made many wonderful friends with co-workers and teachers and as this very painful and traumatic week began to unfold, to my amazement, help and support has come from many places but none moreso than that from those former associates. Today as Bob and I sat interminably waiting for the surgery to be done and very frightened, the doors of the ICC swung open and there was a wonderful woman who taught the EKG class at the Comm Ed. Pauline was always wonderful and I knew she had a big job at the hospital, is President of the local American Heart Association, and had just forgotten it in all the fray. When she saw me she ran to me and begged to know what I was doing there. When I told her it was LM, she was astounded and immediately sat me down, asked if I had eaten and began to offer the most wonderful seems SHE will be writing LM's treatment plan, she is in charge of the entire cardiac intensive care unit and patients relations/education, as well. She sat with Bob and me for an hour and explained every step we will be walking, from what would happen post surgery to 12 weeks down the road. She also called in to the OR to get the latest details on my beloved and made sure the surgeon called me promptly....she is an angel....when I retired her gift to me was the most beautiful handcarved angel holding a heart. It seems she was certainly holding LM's and my heart today and will be for the duration. In another angel appearance, it seems that my current boss (who hired me away from the Comm Ed job) was wearing wings today, his daughter is the charge nurse in the ICC, is on duty tonight, tomorrow and Sunday and my boss had already called ahead to make sure they knew LM is there and to take good care of both of us.
I think the magic of my job at Comm Ed not only brought us together, and continues by sustaining us through this time...I feel so uplifted and relieved tonight and VERY HOPEFUL.
I am home for a bit and leaving soon to return to Hyannis to stay with a dear friend within eyeshot of the hospital....they even have 3 cats to sleep with me arranged, and that very same friend is coming to my house in the morning to be with Ms. Graysea while I am away all day.
There are no words for the gratitude I feel...most of all for the priviledge of having LM to love. He is amazing.


No sleep, but, surreally, I am functioning and nearly ready to conquer this day of challenge for LM ....he has called me twice this morning around 5....true to form, he waited to call until my normal waking time. He slept a few hours, thanks to some meds and he is ready to face the surgery. We both cried and spoke of our love, and his words before hanging up were, I cannot wait to see your beautiful face later today when I am on the way to my new healthy life.

My family, LM's family and his fishing family, as well as many school friends are calling with support and it helps so much.
So many touching moments are coming out of this. LM's former wife, was there yesterday and was very kind. She called me at 4 am today and we talked for almost an hour. She was incredibly supportive and I think there will be some major healing of more than hearts out of this trauma.

Going to work for a few hours then to the hospital to wait, maybe knit and live for the moment when I can see LM's beautiful face.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

In a Split Second

In a split second life can change and today was one of those all began yesterday morning at 10 with a call from LM saying that he was driving himself to the hospital as the pain he had been having for a few days in his shoulders and arms had gotten very severe. I left work abruptly and got to the hospital within 25 minutes to find him in the ER. EKG was good, BP OK, just a very slightly elevated heart enzyme showed up in bloodwork. His Dr decided to admit him for observation and to do a stress test this morning....after a long night, I tore myself away and came home and slept for a bit. Finally at 5:30 am I was back at the hospital to find that at 4 am he had gone into full cardiac arrest and had to be shocked back. He had been moved to CCU. My whole body stated shaking as I neared him , trying not to cry and follow the Dr's advice to remain very calm because LM had experienced a very serious event. He was so glad to see me and we just had a few minutes as they were taking him for a heart cath to see what is happening in his heart. It revealed very serious blockages and he will have a quintuple by-pass tomorrow morning at 7 am. It has been a day of peaks and valleys of emotions and I do not think I can survive crying another tear....we felt like we were ripping ourselves apart when we said goodnight tonight and he has called me 3 times already. I am just amazed at how positive LM is and it is helping me so much...he has been upbeat most of the day and we have had long talks with the surgeon, a cardiologist and the anesthetist. We shared a lot of decision making....Health care proxy, DNR or not and we feel like we covered all the bases and have a good plan in place....his daughter, Meggie, best friend, Bob and myself will make any decisions necessary.
I am going to try to sleep........I have never know such a loving kind man, he is going to have his heart fixed and be better than ever!!! A Valentine's Day never to be forgotten and it will be cherished in its on I saw a side of Lou which makes me love him more than ever, had in depth conversations with his family members and mine and felt completely surrounded by love.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Letting Go

Dad is much better today. We had a nice chat tonight and he was reveling in the fact that he had been to a nearly all day celebration of the Chinese New Year which was held at his assisted living facility today. How happy I was to hear him back to his enthusiastic self. They had some very authentic Chinese food, speakers, and wonderful music which was performed by two lovely women who are evidently friends of my dear SIL. They made a special point of speaking with Dad and he loved it.
Now I feel much more relaxed. I fear I have been holding a death grip on my world and have worked hard this week to let go a bit. I know from past experience that holding on to anything too tightly eventually causes pain in ones body and soul, so I must focus on healing and soothing pursuits.
LM usually comes over on Friday evening and tonight he just cannot get here and I am almost relieved to have the time to be very quiet, exercise, read, knit and write. Tomorrow will be a busy day driving off-Cape to see Dad and have lunch with a dear friend, so LM and I agreed that he would be waiting here with open arms when I get home tomorrow. Life gives us what we need. Ms G will certainly be happy to have her "boyfriend" here tomorrow and for a little while they will be alone....there will be one happy gray cat and one happy "gray" woman, too.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Still Driving

I have meant to write more about the trip but there are so many distractions these days and stress has had a strangle hold on me....stress of worrying about Dad. He is so frail now and the stubborn bronchitis has slowed him down considerably. It seems eveyday I am on the egde of my seat each time the phone rings, wondering, wondering what is happening...a move to a nursing home may be coming. He is checked on at the assisted living facility but he is getting to the point of needing more care. Weekly counseling to talk this out helps a bit but I still have such a feeling of helplessness and loss. I know this is a life passage, and I am most fortunate to have had my wonderful father for so long, to have been able to help him in many ways, etc, but the idea of him being gone is daunting. Other times I am just so TIRED from all the stress that I feel I will jump out of my skin, then that feeling turns to guilt and questioning why I do not have the strength to stay on an even keel with this....truly a rat's nest of emotions. I am talking this out with LM and he is very suportive and loving, then I feel guilty for sort of "bursting the bubble" on the peace of our relationship (this is my own thought and not something LM has made me feel in any way). I just have to learn this is real life, the relationship is going to survive, it is OK to be stressed by this major life event. I am just so caught up in wanting everything to be perfect and even....not the true nature of this life.

On to lighter things....LM and I are still reliving the experiences we shared on the FL trip and that brings us much laughter and happy moments. From the beginning of our relationship we talked about how we both loved road trips, taking side roads, exploring, and even the rush of being in heavy traffic with trucks, etc (I know, it's quirky!). We are both very curious.
When we were asked to drive a new BMW convertible to FL for a friend we began to dream about what fun it would be!
After doing a few day trips together we felt more certain than ever that the FL trip would be such fun and a way to really deepen our bond. Now we have done it, we were right....from Cape Cod to Baltimore, to FL and back by way of Wilmington, NC and Baltimore again, every minute was what we expected and so much more. We saw family - my brother and family in Baltimore, my daughter and family in FL, old friends from Cape Cod, and many others in between.
Miles sped by, we held hands continuously and if we weren't talking we were exchanging sweet and often funny glances. I napped (glad I brought my pillow) and felt a loving hand on my neck or caresssing my hair, we sang along with Roy Orbison and lots of other great music. I read aloud, sometimes for an hour or more....interesting articles from Vanity Fair and The New Yorker which evoked some great conversations, teaching us much more about each other.
There was never an unhappy moment and at times there were ocassions which could have been stressful, like the 15.5 hr drive because we could not find a place to stay in SC or GA...finally got a place on the FL border and gratefully fell in to a deep sleep.
There is something about being confined in a small space for days on end which spawns deep conversations and many meaningful moments.
We saw amazing skies, beautiful turquoise water, felt warm sand beneath our feet, gathered shells, saw great beauty and garish excess, experienced the peaceful beauty of walks in National Parks, laughed hysterically when we watched the movie "Hairpsray" with my brother and his wife in Baltimore, savored incredible fresh citrus and just picked strawberries (the smell in the car was amazing), proudly admired what wonderful young men my FL grandsons have become, and we each felt totally loved in so many ways.

Coming home was a huge adjustment!! The memories will sustain us forever, I am sure. Once again we are settled back in to our usual routine of seeing each other on the weekends but very often we are still "driving to FL" with those same wonderful feelings.