Saturday, December 16, 2006

Remembering December 1996

Ten years ago. Ten LONG years ago I had a heart attack one day and lost my husband the next. I've survived both losses. Don't know why I was spared and he was taken, but every day I thank God, my late husband and my cardiologist for the gift of continued life.

The 'scary' part about the heart attack was that it was 'silent'. No pain of any sort, just some shortness of breath on exertion. I thought I was just getting fatter and older, both of which would of been true and I didn't think any more about it until AFTER the fact. The night of the day my husband died I was trying to sleep and my heart kept 'bumping funny'....I'd lay there and could feel it bump and double bump and pause and then jump around some more. I thought to myself "self, that's odd" and finally decide to get it checked out in the morning. I even thought about going to the ER in the middle of that night, but for the fact that my kids were sleeping all over my house and they'd of panicked if I'd of taken the car out of the garage - not that I could of gotten my car out since all of theirs were blocking the driveway. There was NO way I was going to wake them up and voice any concerns for MY health either. They'd been through plenty that day as had I. If fact I kept telling myself that it was the stress that was causing the bumping and jumping. I'd just go to the family doctor and he'd give me some pills and I'd get through the ordeal of funeral planning and hold my family together in grief.

Well it seems that the family doctor heard something when he gave a listen and he sent me to the cardiologist. In fact he called ahead and got me in without delay. I was irritated, I went because I've been conditioned to do pretty much whatever a doctor advises, but I kept saying over and over to anyone that would listen that I had to make arrangements for my husband's funeral and I didn't have time for any of this. They'd just listen and murmur how sorry they were and then do what they had to test wise. The heart doctor ended up telling me he wanted me to go across the street to the hospital and have a cardiac catheterization and angiography. Again I said I didn't have time for any of this! He just sat there behind his desk and said he understood, but that'd he hate to think about me driving home and BLAM ending up in a ditch. When he said 'blam' he hit his own chest and the implications were crystal clear to me what he was inferring. AGAIN I thought my kids would literally shit a brick if something happened to me the day after something had happened to their daddy.

I guess I should really thank my kids everyday too because they were my prime motivation to get out of the hospital so we could have the funeral. I had that whole mom's stiff upper lip thing going, never ever show fear in front of the kids, it's in the Mom's and Dad's handbook that we SHOULD of been given when they were born. It's the same rule that applies when there's a terrible thunderstorm and if you had your druthers you'd be UNDER the bed with a stuffed toy, but because you are the Parent In Charge you have to fake it until you make it.

My kids have been a Godsend to me. They have all loved me, helped me, encouraged me, checked up on me, fought battles on my behalf and been the motivation that's kept me going. They've also smothered me, monitored my comings and goings, nagged me and panicked when they couldn't reach me immediately. I got a cell phone because of them and they fuss all the time because they can rarely reach me on it. I've told them a million times I got it in case *I* needed to make a call. My thinking was the occasional women calling the cops from the trunk of her own car scenarios. To me that's the ultimate in cool!

In 10 years time my life has changed in a thousand ways and yet I'm still me. I'm stronger than I ever dreamed I could be. Deep inside I've always considered myself a gutless wonder, but when life takes you by the scruff of the neck and gives you a good shake you can only pick yourself up and dust yourself off and give it the finger and go on or you can curl up and say 'I quit'. I might be a gutless wonder, but I'm by damn not a quitter. I'm going out kicking and screaming none of this "gentle into that good night" stuff. 'Course like everything else I reckon God has the final blueprint for my life and my job is just to live life to the best of my ability.

Monday will be six weeks since my surgery and I'm down 24 pounds since the surgery, 46 pounds since my first evaluation at the surgeon's and 53 pounds for the year 2006. My Hemoglobin A1c test was 5.2. That's consider within a normal range. I'm only taking one of my former 'heart' drugs and nothing for diabetes. No pills, no shots, no shit! 2 months ago I was taking SEVEN injections a day. Now they say my pancreas will begin to regenerate itself and my diabetes is in remission. It's a miracle to me. I'm in awe of my own body's ability to heal! I feel like the Energizer Bunny who got knocked on it's side for a few years, but then someone came along and put it back up and off it goes again! The wheels were spinning the whole down time, but it wasn't going anywhere and NOW it can make new inroads and see what there is to see and go where there is to go!

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