sharing my life experiences, reflections and insights as a mother, a writer, an Occupational Therapist and and a spiritual being having a human experience

Posts tagged ‘gratitude’

Cuatro De Mayo: Celebration of 5 years of Rebirth

On Wednesday, May 4, 2011, my 51-year-old husband suffered a massive heart attack in our home, coming in from moving the lawn with a weird pain in his upper back on the right side which later traveled up his neck and around his ear.  His RIGHT arm was cold and clammy. Despite, my years of CPR training required for my work as an Occupational Therapist, it took me a while to realize that this was indeed a heart attack. His symptoms were atypical. It is usually the left arm and later, the doctor told him, “you had a heart attack like a woman”.

I remember searching in the basement for my bag from when I worked in home health care- over 5 years earlier- for my stethoscope and cuff.  I remember his pulse was faint and slow. Looking back, I don’t know why it took me so long to call 911.  Don had no idea he was having a heart attack.   I finally called 911 and frantically searched for aspirin that I knew we didn’t have when the 911 operator asked if we had any aspirin.

About 5 minutes after the medic arrived, Don went into full cardiac arrest.  It looked like he had a seizure and he became unconscious.  I remember the other medics arriving just as this happened and remember them rushing us out of the living room where we all had been standing and watching as Don went into full cardiac arrest.  I recall walking the children around the corner into the kitchen and sitting on the steps and I began tapping (EFT).  Looking back, I believe the only way I was able to do this was that Don’s spirit was alongside me.

I could hear the medics and understood everything they were saying.  I listened intently to them as I made an effort to comfort my kids.  They used the defibrillator and I could hear them say,“he has a pulse but it is faint”.  If memory serves me right, they used the defibrillator 3 times while he was in the living room before they moved him out to the ambulance to get him to the hospital.  He was in ventricular tachycardia when they left and his face was dark blue. 

 I am forever grateful to the Robinson’s Volunteer Fire Dept. and that medic who stayed with me and asked me, “Do you have someone you can call?”  

My mind went blank. Who should I call?  He asked about family or friends.  I had many friends but tried to think of someone who lived close.  I then though of Lia who lived only about 10 minutes from me and called her and her mom took a message which she quickly got to Lia.  Lia arrived quickly and drove me and the kids to the hospital.  The medic offered to follow me to the hospital, but I knew I needed someone else to drive.  And then Lia could stay with the kids.  As I type this 5 years later, I can picture it like a movie in my mind.  I remember Lia’s calmness and her suggestion to drop me off at the emergency room entrance and then she went to park the car with the kids.  I vividly remember walking into the hospital and asking to find a bathroom first!  I wrote a post on that one.  Then I came out and asked where he was.  I remember standing just outside a small room/ ER area and the doctor telling Don, “you had a heart attack” Don was awake but did not see me and gave the doctor a crazy look when she told him he had a heart attack.  They told me they were bringing him to the cath lab.That all seamed to happen in less than a minute.  They rushed him upstairs and I never got to say anything to him.  He has no memory of that experience.

The next 2- 3 hours were the longest hours of my life. They first brought me to the cath lab floor to a very small room to wait.  I told them that my friend would be coming up with my three kids and was there somewhere bigger we could wait.  They then brough me to the cardiac cath waiting room which was empty due to it being after 6pm.  The nurse or someone had told me it would be about 2 hours and when that time passed, I started to panic.  And Lia, with her calm sense of problem solving called the front desk, or maybe she suggested I do that,finding the number for me and later we learned, that they did not realize we were waiting there because usually after hours, they have family wait in one of those small rooms like they first brought me to.

We watched Idol as we waited because that is what we would have been doing at home. We had been watching American Idol as a family for a few years. Abby needed the distraction.  We ate peanut butter crackers from the vending machine for dinner.  Lia had lots of change on her.  She really was my angel throughout this experience and I don’t know how I would have done it without her. 

You can follow the rest of the story below. 

I will now share a post I started sometime after he returned home from the hospital. This post  was dated December of 2011 before I updated it.   It is a post that I started, but never finished nor shared.  I am sharing it now as we celebrate: Cuatro De Mayo, Don’s 5th anniversary of rebirth. 

I began journaling through the experience of my husband, Don’s  heart attack through Facebook posts.

I began the posts as a way to quickly update family and friends about Don.   I later realized that the posts could also serve as journal entries for my “in the moment” feelings and thoughts.

So now, just over 12 weeks later, I am looking back on my Facebook posts and will share them here.

Note: It has been nearly 5 years since Don had his heart attack.  I started this post copying all my posts from May 4 through May 10 including a blog I wrote.  Now I want to add the remaining posts for May 11- 16 to include  all the days he was in the hospital. But I have to figure out how to do that! So until I do, I will share it as it is.

This is a chronological listing of my Facebook posts. When I first did this, I went back and even included my comments in reply to other people posting to me. I left the posts “as is”including mispellings.  I added some things for clarification in parenthesis.   I also have a few times summarized a post like a conversation with Harrison that we had on Facebook. When Don had a heart attack May 4, 2011, Harrison was 13, Abby was 9 and Jason was 2.

May 4     8:56pm    

please pray for Don. he had a heart attack and is the hospital at Presby Main. all here right now. he’s in cath lab..talked to nurse waiting to hear from doctor.

May 4     10:10pm

Don is stable. waiting to go see him

May 5     4:23am

don is doing better but still in CCU and will be there several days. I Got to see him Ad talk to him and then we came home.kids did not (see him). just called to check on him. he’s improving. will know more later . going back to hospital soon. thanks for everybodys prayers. keep praying

May 5 at 7:29am

here with Don. he’s improving. in CCU all today. he can eat now. feeling some relief

May 5 at 9:07am

Thank God for 911 and the medics with Mint Hill and the other station. and the Cardiologist and nurses and team here at Presby. so glad I live in a big city. and all my friends and family and being here talking with Don and knowing he is improving.

reply to a comment:  Thanks Michele. Holding up ok. He is talking and eating and joking. Still in Cardiac care unit for t least a day or two and then to step down unit.May 5 at 10:38am ·

May 5 at 3:36pm

trying to figure when to go to hospital again and dinner for my family (with all our food issues)

reply to comments and friends offer to bring food:

You guys are awesome. I know Leslie mentioned shopping. There are things at Trader hoes (Joes) we need. We can eat some wheat but we have been eating gluten free and my biggest concern is Abby and not changing what she has been eating too drastically. She has been gluten and egg free and the other big thing with her is no preservatives and artificial colors…
Rice and potatoes and vegetables. Potatoes of all kinds…fruit is great for H and J. They eat a lot of fruit! And we do eat Ezekial Bread…found at most stores in frozen foods.

And Abby loves meat. Yet with her OCD /abxiety issues I am not sure what she will eat that others have made. She still has not been able to eat out.
I am so happy for meals right now cause I an not sure how I an getting through this other than this is far better than the alternative.May 6 at 4:44am ·

I am trying to ask for help (not easy for me) cause the other thing I may need…and right now I have my parents here til sat and then my sister in law comes in Fri – today thru Tuesday. Will be help with day to day at home…cleaning up…for those that k ow me, housework is not my thing. I love doing laundry but other than that…
I an trying to think ahead cause I know it will be great with my family…my sister in law is a nurse but she lives in St. Louis and so when she leaves…is likely to be about when Don comes home and right now that idea overwhelms me.
I am taking it one day at a time. I an just trying to reach out because that is not something I do well. And ask for help when I feel strong enough to ask for help (cause asking for help aibt easy fir me!)….but man am I learning fast!May 6 at 4:50am

May 5 at 6:18pm

back with Don at hospital. he continues to improve.

May 5 at 9:28pm

a picture of Abby and Olive- Olive in Abby’s ballet skirt

May 5 at 10:50pm

loves my family and friends. don – I love you. healthy healing heart ..tap tap tap

reply to the comments:     Thanks everyone! You know I love prayers in every form and every religious or non perspective! And healing energy and all of it…its all energy I think its all helping. In so many ways its amazing he is still here and improving.May 6 at 4:53am

May 6 at 5:08am

I would like to post a picture of my mother and also one of Don and I….can’t seam to find many pictures other than of my children…May 14 is Don and my 17th So glad my honey is still here with me….just trying to do what I need after a good 5 hour rest , while everyone sleeps… My new mantra”the past is behind me… only look and move forward”

May 6 at 5:14am

Dancing with my love at a family wedding Abby about a year asleep in my arms.

(changed my profile picture to this picture of Don and I dancing at a wedding with Abby asleep in my arms)

May 6 at 5:47am

one more source of help could be friends coming to be with kids in waiting room while I an with Don. we are going to hospital later

May 6 at 12:13pm

whoever can help me buy meeting me at hospital to be with the kids in waiting room while I am with Don. call me

May 6 at 5:24pm

thank you Lonna and everyone! anyone who can meet me at waiting room to hang with the kids over the next few days

May 6 at 10:51pm

having a good night after a rough day..fatigue hit me today. sister in law angel arrived. Lonna angel met us at hospital…talked to more friends. dons improving. hoping to sleep more tonight. Needs: taking trash to dump. strong person to lift battery so we can put lawnmover away

reply to comments:  Rough day for me. but Don is doing well…improving well.May 6 at 10:56pm

later reply to comments:  Thank you all. forgive my impersonal reply. FB and my BB are helping me through. I did sleep a good stretch. The adreneline high I was on, has ended to some extent although when I wake up, I figure I need to get out of bed and do something cause I will likely not fall back to sleep quickly. and need food and waterMay 7 at 4:43am

one more:  plan to go back to lay down in a bitMay 7 at 4:43am

May 7 at 4:41am

Slept about 11:30 til 3:30 woke with some bizarre violent dream. Called hospital, don is doing well and sleeping Yea! and he relieved his bloated feeling earlier (you know I work in health care and so I may come across weird with what I post).
The Presby nurses are awesome and answer all my questions cause I need to know as much detail as possible having an anatomy background and all.
J ust wish I could be at hospital 24/7 but it feels good to be home and be here for my kids too. We are all sleeping in my room and have gotten all to bed within 30 minutes or so once we are up there. Feels good to have them close.

reply to comments:   “Thanks Kamilla he is doing well and improving yet it will be a slow recovery and he has another artery with blockage that they have to reasses and in one month check for permanent heart damage. (figure you may understand some of this being a nurse). Getting lots of great help right now.May 8 at 9:55am ·”

May 7 at 5:00am

I need to get real organized real fast. has any one heard about or had experience with Inclusive Health.org? I was told it was a state program to get insurance for anyone. we have a major medical plan covers hospitalization at 80% but no follow up coverage and no coverage for cardiac rehab insurance agent told me to contact them and they will cover anyone.

May 7 at 5:20am

went to inclusivehealth.org NC sponsered company for coverage. went to find a local agent and list is very long for Mecklenburg County…anyone have any experience, know of anyone who has used them or an agent?

May 7 at 6:22am

found a rep in Mint Hill, sent a message. Feels good to be getting some of these things done. more sleep later in day. food and drink got rid of headache, time talking with my Dad. guess time to shower while everyone is still sleeping. plan to go to hospital by myself today once Jason is up and settled. going to let him sleep as long as he needs after two difficult early mornings. breath…..

comments:   Don should get PT today and I really want to be there when they come byMay 7 at 6:22am

comments:  “the past is behind me, keep moving forward”

May 7 at 6:22am

May 7 at 1:34pm

got to spend time alone with my honey. he got to sit up in a chair and walk to toilet. he is progressing well. he got sleepy and needs rest.

reply to comments:  “We appreciate all the prayers and well wishes and I a. Happy to let everyone know how he’s doing. Don’t mind people asking either.May 7 at 2:23pm”

reply:  “Thank you. He had stints put in right away. We won’t know if he needs more for a few months. He has to recover before they can even see how much damage was done to heart…that will be a good month before they can check that.May 7 at 11:09pm”

May 7 at 4:09pm

home with my family…my parents left. have my wonderful sister in law here. my house has. never been so clean and we have clean laundry! kids have had playmates. will go back to see don. he did sleep some

reply to comments:  “Thanks Joyce. Helps to hear that. Happy Mothers Day to you. We have lots of positive thinking going on. He lived and that is all that matters right now…he survived that..we can get through anything. Best mothers day gift ever…my husband alive and doing well.May 8 at 9:53am

-May 7 at 4:51pm Harrison uploaded a photo of Don and I (more recent photo) because I wanted it for my profile picture

May 7 at 11:12pm

we all went to see Don tonight and he was feeling much better and had slept and got to sit in a chair and visit with us. it felt wonderful. kids made him pictures. we love you Don-daddy!

May 7 at 11:20pm

I have the best mothers day gift ever…my husband is Alive and improving and I get to go spend time with him early tomorrow. challenges bring perspective …I am so grateful

Inquiry about if Don is  still in same room-

My reply:  “Yes but he may be moving today in morning don’t know when. But will move to cardiac step down unit. He apprecited you coming and is ok with visitors…he wants the distraction. Just short stay esp if he seams sleepy. He has not slept much. He slept best yesterday and was doing real well last night for our family visit.May 8 at 2:50am”

May 8 at 3:14am

just talked to Dons best nurse…Sharon we love you! and I am feeling relief. I can bring him any foods. she will get social work consult for us. she understood what probiotics are. Ahh……and she was there when the other nurse looked at me H and J and said “no children under 12 allowed”- and let us in. Daddy needs to see his kids and they him…its part of what is healing him along wirh modern medicine!

comments:  “don’t anybody tell me Don can’t see his kids! I understand the hospital policy but love trumps policy. I Will keep j in my arms in hall. Just one more day of CCU then that won’t be such an issue.May 8 at 3:17am”

Comments:  “Its just hard with all we are going through to wallk on the unit with the kids and have everyone look at you with that “why are those kids on this unit?” and I just want to shout. We are visiting their Dad! You don’t know what they saw at home with the medics….they need to see him and he needs to see them. Its part of our healing…Dons included!!!!!!!! Modern medicine is wonderful and so is love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!May 8 at 3:19am”

comments:  ” Its these little things that are tough on me right now. Seeing my needs more and. More as I am out of SURVIVE mode and now am moving on to other emotions and boy is it a roller coaster. But I got through him almost leaving us…I can get through anything now.May 8 at 3:22am”

May 8 at 4:13am

Sat May 14 is our 17th anniversary. I am so glad my honey is here with me! He was last in the hospital 17 years ago on our honey moon, ask us about that funny story. I love him so much.

comments:  I had a conversation with Harrison about cropping the picture for my profile picture and then about how Jason is doing.  my final comment back to him:   “Thanks. I can likely come home before he needs a nap and then come back over here. But while he is happy I will take some quiet time and be close to Dad. But will likely come home sooner rather than later for his nap…so I can nap too and then we can come back or at least I can or Ann can or something.May 8 at 9:00am”

May 8 at 4:23am

Happy Mothers DAy to my wonderful Mom! It was so helpful having you here when I needed you most. I wish I could find a picture of you to post as my profile, when I scan my pictures, all I find is the kids….:)
You are the best mom and the reason I am the mother than I am.
I love you Mom.

May 8 at 4:42am

I have started blogging about this because I know I have to and need to. And I don’t need to hide my writing but share it for anyone who wants to read it.

ginaslifejourney.wordpress.com

Perspective. Having your 51 year old healthy husband have a sudden heart attack and go in to cardiac arrest in your living room with 2 kids, age 2, 9 and 13 standing by (and thank God, the medics who had gotten there before he arrested) is a life altering experience to say the least.   …
Ahh…..talked to Dr. Iwoka. he is moving to step down today. things are going well. I like him for more than just saving the love of my love and best friend.

my reply to comments:   ” Thanks Adael! Happy Mothers Day to you. This was the most I got to talk with the doctor and watch him assess Don. Our nurse told us he was rated the Best Cardiologist. Helps to hear that. And I like how he answered my questions. It eases my mind.May 8 at 8:57am”

May 8 at 9:43am

Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers and those who act as caregivers and mothering roles….including my sister…the best big sister anyone could have

my comment:  “And my husband is included in this”

May 8 at 9:47am

*converstaion with Harrison about how Jason is doing and me waiting for them to move Don

May 8 at 10:03am

hanging in waiting area while Don tries to sleep..looking out window thinking ..one nurse told us CCU used to be labor and delivery and likely was 131/2 years ago when Harrison was born. he may have been born very near where Don is on CCU…has a spiritual kind of comforting feeling to me in a weird and maybe silly way….

May 8 at 10:10am

was able to peek in window and not click door…Don is sleeping so I am letting him rest. think ill take a walk and get my jacket in the car…its freezing in here!

May 8 at 11:14am

Jody posts a picture:

Princes Harrison and Jason with their crowns

May 8 at 12:05pm

Dad in his new room (picture)

May 8 at 12:26pm

Don is moved to Step down. things are good. great nurse here. think I will head home for a bit. this is a big step! yea!

May 8 at 2:04pm

and sometimes I need to cry and let it all out….I guess the whole thing is just beginning to sink in or are moving out of a state of shock…and over tired….I know all will be well but its ok too to say this really sucks

reply to comments:  “Yes tears are good…a release of energy and I an glad they are coming.May 8 at 4:12pm”

and another reply:  “Love all the hugs and thoughts…helps me outMay 9 at 12:33pm”

May 8 at 4:13pm

slept well and feel refreshed…boy I needed that. Ann and h and J<supposed to say A> going to see Don. me and J going soon yet cool to be home with just my J

May 8 at 7:32pm

don doing great! love his new nurses on 3D. going home for dinner with my family -1. don needs rest.

May 8 at 7:57pm

thinking about tomorrow and play mates for jason …

May 8 at 8:34pm

need to spend lots of time at hositsl next two days as Don may come home tuesdsy and I need to tslk to nurses.

May 9 at 4:41am

Out of shock and on to next stage. still counting all my blessings yet nervous about next steps of this endeavor.

didn’t get to finish my post…3D nursing staff is awesome! Presby hospital has been awesome. Feels good knowing he is in good hands there. He might be getting PT today! Eager to get to hospital and be there all dayMay 9 at 4:43am

May 9 at 5:17am

I am thankful for prolactin 🙂

May 9 at 8:18am

Don is tired today and has low grade fever. he sent me message but it wears him out to do so. can’t wait to go over to see him. kids are all still sleeping here as I BB next. to them…we are all in one room together.

May 9 at 12:39pm

at hospital with Don. he is resting but doing as expected. fever is not a concern. he will be going to cath lab tomorrow t0 have other blocked artery stinted. then will come back to room he is in now. it is about an hour procedure according to nurse (and Much easier this time since it is not an emergency)

May 9 at 5:01pm

home now. don is tired but doing well. we don’t know what time he will go to cath lab in the morning. 7am or later so I will be there by then. mom is coming back later tomorrow. got a friend who can come early and stay the day. I will be good to have the stint done to open the othwr artery and know that is behind us yet is a new venture to process and think about.

May 10 at 1:19am

got some sleep. my 3 angels are sleeping all next to me which feels so good. Ann visited Don tonight and he is doing well yet very tired. procedure sometime today…7am or later. ill be there and Will keep ya’ll posted. (I can’t believe I just wrote ya’ll…I must be a southerner now…been here 18 1/2 years!)

May 10 at 2:17am

Blogging again about this experience.

ginaslifejourney.wordpress.com

I sleep maybe 2 or 3 hours and then lay there with so many things going through my mind so I get up to get something done because there are many things to do.   …
reply to comments:  “Thank you. It means so much and I know all the energy and prayers are helping as much as modern medicine is. There are miracles happening every day all around me and I feel so blessed.May 10 at 2:40am”

This is part of an email I sent to a friend on May 9, 2011, just 5 days after my husband had a heart attack.  I have added some additional information in<> to clarify the message but otherwise kept the message as I typed it to my friend because I feel it shows the emotion I was feeling so early on in this experience.

“I think I was in shock for several days when this happened.  We had no idea he had issues other than his family history but he is the youngest of 6 siblings. We eat so healthy and he exercises…etc etc.  I don’t know how I got through him arresting in our home, thank god the medic was already here when he did and then waiting in the hospital for over 2 hours with my friend and kids, when we should have been home watching American Idol, and wondering if the doctor would come out and tell me he was dead.  I watch too many ER type shows, Gray’s Anatomy.  I didn’t even cry that first 24 hours or until I was driving back to CCU the next morning alone.
It is a relief to say these things.  I have great support in many ways but to be able to talk about this esp with someone who gets my parenting style , has good communication skills :)and with someone who has been there helps me a lot.  I know I need to call you.  Right now we are all nervous about him coming home. We want him home but after our traumatic 911 experience, <I’m nervous about him coming home to our family which includes>  my 9-year-old with OCD and my 13-year-old (his own much milder anxiety issues) and me.  I picture myself standing over him checking his vital signs every 30 minutes.  I am thankful I am and OT and feel fine with understanding his rehab, but the medical stuff scares the crap out of me.  I have to reassure my kids esp my daughter that we will have all the instructions we need from the hospital about signs to watch for but inside I am terrified.  I wish I could be with him 24/ 7 right now while he is in the hospital but feel safe   especially now that he is out of CCU with where he is .
ahh…wow…I do need to talk about this…and for me writing is even easier than talking…thus my blog  but I also need to call you and have someone who can really listen “

Spiritual Connections

When my husband was in the hospital after his massive heart attack, I had many spiritual experiences.  My husband experienced  near death as he went into cardiac arrest in our living room on May 4, 2011. He left the house in ventricular tachycardia, a fatal heart rhythm.  The medics had used the defibrillator several times before they wheeled him out of the house on the gurney. I remember his dark blue face as they took him.  I am forever grateful to the wonderful medics from Mint Hill Fire Department and Robinson Fire Department who took care of my husband and then stayed with me to help make a plan to get to the hospital.  And Lia Schwinghammer who came to my rescue and drove us to the hospital and stayed with us until I got to see Don like 4 hours later. She was one of my many angels and I had many, so I will just thank all my family and friends here.    I am also thankful for the cath lab at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte and the entire team who fixed his occluded arteries with stints allowing him to be with my here today, nearly 5 years later.

He spent 4 days in the CCU and then 8 more days in the step down unit.  I had family helping my kids at home and I would wake up usually before 4 am and head to the hospital each morning and spend the entire day with him and come home in time to put my 2-year-old to bed.  It was a crazy time and yet my priorities have never been so focused in my life as they were for those 12 days.  My husband was disappointed that he did not remember experiencing “seeing the light”.  I told him that I saw it for him.  I really do believe that.

I don’t even know how to begin to explain the spiritual experiences.There were many.  The first one was at home. I called 911 and 5 minutes after the medic arrived, my husband went into cardiac arrest.  The medics immediately moved me and my three children out of our living room.  I vividly recall taking the children to the stairs off our kitchen and sitting down with them and tapping.  I have since decided that the only way I was able to calmly sit with them and use EFT, was because Don’s soul guided us.  Later, when he was recovering in the hospital, I vividly recall being in the cafeteria getting food and hearing a song being piped into the cafeteria and I knew it was Don speaking to me.

The biggest experience was around day 8 or 9 after going with only 3 hours of sleep each night.  Because, the first night at home after his heart attack, I awoke after 3 hours with a horrible dream reliving the experience and I told myself I wasn’t going to do that again.  I did not consciously choose to not sleep more than 3 hours but that is what then happened. So by day 8,  I was very sleep deprived and living on adrenaline, and maybe even having blood sugar issues or just panic attacks.

 I had this one night at home where I  felt panicked and scared and I called my good friend and EFT mentor and therapist, Jan Luther. It was very early in the morning, too early to make a phone call, yet I decided to call her.  I heard the line pick up yet there was no one there on the other side, I began talking. I have no memory of what I said but all I know is there was silence, no dial tone, no one talking, just silence.  I think I tapped and talked.  Later, I talked to Jan about it and she told me the phone rang, she picked up and no one was there and so she hung up the phone and began tapping, because she knew someone needed her to do that.  She hung up the phone, yet I heard no dial tone.  We both knew that was spirit at work.

Just last month, my father had back surgery for his spinal stenosis.  He had the surgery on a Friday and I showed up at the hospital at 5:30 am to meet my parents to help my mom navigate the hospital system.  Surgery went well, took a little longer than expected because it was worse than the doctor had thought from the MRI and he took longer in recovery because of breathing issues. We got to see him for a few minutes in recovery area  but he was in a lot of pain but they couldn’t give him too much pain medication because they needed his breathing to improve.   An hour later, he was in his room and we went to visit with him.  He did well that day, he had to lay flat for 24 hours as a precaution but then the next day even got up with the nurse and walked to the bathroom.  I left after dinner Saturday night, with the plan to return in the morning again.  I woke up at 3:45am.  I have been waking up early for many weeks, most like from peri-menopause but usually after at least 5 hours of sleep.  I woke up and looked at the clock and said, “Why am I waking up now?”  I  had been asleep for like 3 or 4 hours.  I knew it was strange.  I should have gotten up.  I went on my phone like I usually do when i wake up early, using it in the dark in my room.   I got a text from my mom who had seen my posting on Facebook and so she texted me. It was 4:11am: 

 I’m in the family waiting room while they put restraints on Dad. Med Dr saw him then They gave him something for hallucinations and for blood pressure. Thought he finally fell asleep  when he awoke and starting lashing out violently. He is having some kind of psychotic meltdown. REally scary to see him like this.  

I immediately replied to my mom

Oh mom.  I’m so sorry.  I’m awake. I’ll just shower and come in.  It’s going to take time for the meds to clear out of his system. (We new he was reacting to anesthesia and/or medications.)

My mom was surprised how quickly I arrived, less than an hour after her message.  I showered and gathered my things for the day and drove to the hospital. It was 4:45 am, no traffic, easy drive and plenty of parking. I walked into the lobby at 5:13am.   She didn’t realize I had experience with this from the 12 days I spent going to the hospital to be with my husband.  I also had the strong feeling through my dads 5 day hospital stay that this was in part the reason that I became an Occupational Therapist.

It helps that I texted all of this on my iPhone and therefore have all the times of our conversation including the when she texted me, and I let her know when I got in the car to head to hospital and again when I arrived in the lobby.  As I read these posts, I see that she had also contacted me at 12:27am via text because my dad was asking for me. I was asleep and didn’t see those texts until morning.  I can share that in another post.  I talked to my dad tonight to get his permission to share this story and he is happy to sit with me and tell me more so I can share more of it. He believes he was talking to God and telling God to decide about leaving his body or staying.  I believe that he did experience that as well.  More on that for another post.

My dad slept all morning. They had to put him in 4 point restrains and  give him Haldol which is an injectable antipsychotic.  He had kicked a nurse.  It was weird seeing my dad in his hospital bed in restraints.  AFter talking to my mom when I got to the hospital, I had told her to get some rest. The waiting room had a couch.  I went to sit with my dad to be there when he woke up.  I was able to explain to dad as he was waking up that he was in restraints and he was calm.  Later when he was fully awake, he shared the experience with us.  He actually remembered the psychotic episode and described what he experienced. he also appologized to all the nursing staff that saw him for the next few days.   I will just summarize: he explained feeling like he was in a box and there were bad guys trying to hurt him and he had to get away.  He explained it with much more detail but I don’t want to misquote him. But he also told me he heard me laughing. He couldn’t see me or get to me but he heard me laughing.  As the day progressed, he continues sharing about what he remembered in detail from his Psychotic episode.  I wondered if some of what he was sharing was also from when he was under anesthesia for his back surgery (3 hours) as well as the 3 hours he spend in recovery getting his breathing back to normal before he could be moved to a room.

It didn’t occur to me right away, but then I realized some things. I woke at 3:45 am which is when my dad had his psychotic episode and I knew it was odd that I woke up.  Looking back, I should have realized it was my dad.  But then I got ready quickly and grabbed my things and headed out in the car at 4:45 am. I turned on the radio and “Crazy Train” was playing on the radio.  I laughed out loud.  I switched stations and heard, “Take a Walk on the Wild side”.  I had the instant feeling like I did when Don was in the hospital, that my dad’s spirit was speaking to me.  Hearing these two songs both playing at the same time on 2 different local stations tickled me.  I talked to my dad out loud in the car, laughing as I did.  And sending positive energy and love to my dad.  Cause, I am weird like that and I talk out loud in the car.  I really do, all the time.  My favorite thing to do is scan stations to find a song that fits my mood.  I never listen to commercials, ask my kids and Don, I am always scanning for a song, a good song.

Wow!  I was laughing out loud in the car and my dad heard me! 

Some would call this coincidence yet as a student of Unity, Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God books,  and just my own personal spiritual beliefs, I don’t believe in coincidences.  It all has meaning, at least the meaning we give it.  I believe on a spiritual level, we are creating our reality, all of it.

 Creation is energy and all of life is energy.  

I HAVE JUST SO MUCH TO BE THANKFUL FOR IN MY LIFE!

I HAVE JUST SO MUCH TO BE THANKFUL FOR IN MY LIFE!

I-  Italian-  I am grateful for my mother helping my daughter and her cousin learn Italian with weekly Skype chats

H-  Harrison- for my first born child, for his persistence, patience and perseverance

A- Abby- for my daughter, her gentle, loving spirit and all she teaches me

V- Vacations- for our time share and trips to the beach and family time on Lake Murray and weddings in St. Louis

E- ellen- the ellen show brings humor and laughter into my living room and my home

J- Jason- for his  jumping joyful spirit and for reminding me of how much fun there is to have in all of life

U- Uncles- for my uncles,  and how they have impacted my life and others

S- Sister-for Michele and her generous energetic self who brings so much into the lives of my children and many

T- Teachers- those special teachers who encouraged, inspired and respected me

S- Sunshine- living where the sun shines bright  and getting outside  to recharge my body and soul

O- Octagons- this shape has a special place in my heart- it forever embodies my first born’s early years

M- Music-Billy Joel, Billy Jonas, Queen, David Wilcox, electronic pianos, maracas,  pots and pans… and more!

U- Unschooling- discovering this way of life for my family and all those who have influenced me

C- Children- all the children in my life:past, present and future; they remind me what is really important

H- Hubby, Don- my best friend, love of my life,  who  brings out the best in me

T- Today- I can recreate myself each day in the next grandest version of the greatest vision ever held about myself

O- Oliphint, Jenny- an amazing person, dance teacher and great inspiration in my daughter’s life

B- Brother- for Darrin and his quiet, calm, adventurous way of living and willingness to travel to SC twice each year

E-  Employment-all the places I have worked, job flexibility and the wonderful people at my current job and all the people who have been in my life from all the places I have worked

T- Thanksmas-our wonderful self-created tradition, celebrating many things all in one long weekend

H-Health-healthy people, healthy way of living and beating hearts!

A- Aunts- Again, many and all with unique gifts and blessings which have enriched the lives of many

N- Nettles- nourishing me and my family into healing and good health

K- Keifer- water keifer grains, for all their goodness and for those who brought them into my life

F- Food- many wonderful tastes, textures and especially those delectable items that nourish my body

U- Up-looking up;  can only go up from here;  up and coming; up, up, and away!

L- Life-for each and every day of life and for giving birth to three amazing children, each birth a unique experience

F- Felines, especially Lassie and Thumper who have a special place in my heart; and Peanut, the book club bonus

O- Olive, the wonderful dog who came into our lives and our home

R- Radish- the one thing that grew well in my garden this year

I- iPhone-music, Facebook, email, pictures, camera, video, GPS, calendar, games and phone all in the palm of my hand

N- Nieces and Nephews- now there is a varied crew from age 9 to age 42!

M- My Parents- for bringing me into the world and all they have done for me in my life

Y- Yesterday- all the memories of my life and the stories from those who came before me

L- LOVE- Love is all there is, and there is nothing else

I- Imagination- boxes, paper, crayons, scissors and glue; Imaginon, a wonderful place;   and the song “Imagine”

F- Family- being blessed with grandparents and great grandparents for so many years of my life

E- Everything else, all of life’s experiences that  educate and enrich my life

Jumping with Jason,right here and now while he is 2

Before the holidays, my friends on my Facebook Homeschool Group shared information about a Groupon for a new Jump place that was opening and they planned to attend the first week of January.  I went to the site and saw pictures of giant padded sided trampolines and learned there was a separate area for younger kids.  I knew my younger two would like it and maybe my oldest.  I bought three Groupons.

My daughter came down with the coughing crud I had before Christmas and wasn’t up to jumping today and my oldest wasn’t interested, he is a jump alone kind of guy.

And so, Jason, my almost three-year old (his birthday is 4 days from today), and I headed out alone to drive across town to go jumping.  Well, I had a ticket for him and not me, hadn’t even thought about if I could get a ticket but had assumed his sister would be jumping with him when I got the Groupons.

As usual he was slow to warm up and despite being only one of two kids- the other was my friend’s son that he knows even though they don’t interact much yet- and it took him time before he would try.  I sat on the edge and even walked on the trampoline surface with him- as you can walk right up to it at the same level, but was told by the nice attending employee that due to liability, I wasn’t allowed on the trampoline surface but she got her manager and they had me sign a waiver and get a red arm band and I then got to join him (at no charge- shh,not sure if that is the policy)!

He still didn’t like the girl who was working there and wanted her to leave which he expresses well for a 2-year-old and then other kids came to the area and he doesn’t like people he doesn’t know.

Then we jumped into the foam pit and luckily there was no one else around at first because he got to stay in the foam pit which he loved.  He was sad when we had to get out of the foam pit to let others jump into it but I convinced him to go to the other area that was just trampoline space and we began jumping!

It was frustrating when we were there with just my friend and her son and he wouldn’t try it, yet all my children have been “slow to warm up” kids.  Sometimes with Jason, it takes him until it is time to go home.   That is always sad and challenging to have him riding in the car home saying “I want to swim” or “I want to get my hair cut”.

It was so great that I got to join him today.  It was fun and took his mind off all the other people, who he usually calls “evil” and describes how he will knock them down or put fire on them.   The only other kids about his age were also jumping with a parent which was good to see.

I think we push kids away from us before they are ready and miss opportunities to spend time with them when they are small and want to be with us.  Trust me, it doesn’t last.  Sure, I am very close to my older two children and we spent a lot of time together but there is nothing like the love of a toddler who wants to marry you and live with you forever.  I guess I like my kids when they are in the “need mommy” stages.  It seams simpler to help them when they are young or even ill and just want to sit with mom.  I know I appreciate my youngest as a toddler more than my older two because my older two are 9 and 14.  Even though, he is my most challenging toddler!

He used to want to be big like his sister and brother but lately has been telling me he wants to stay “wittle” and stay with me.  I am happy to hear this.  I tell him he can live with me forever and he will be little for a long time.  It is good to enjoy being little and each and every age of our children because it all passes….and too quickly.

A good reminder to me for sure because I have my days when I wonder why I had more than one child or long for the day when they are all out of the house.  But not really.  Life can be crazy and noisy and out-of-order at my house, but I do like having children and three of them.  I still wish I had four because it would be more even but that didn’t happen and instead  we somehow  have a dog instead (I am so very much a cat person) and so she is number four.

Now,I need to find a way to remind myself of this every day and especially during the really challenging times.  This makes for a good New Year’s Resolution.  To remember how much I love having kids and to remember that they will soon be 3, 10 and 15……and then 18, 25 and 30!  Enjoy them for who they are right here and now.

Holiday Gratitude

I started November with a goal to blog daily.  I published 14 posts.  Not bad for someone who came down with Bronchitis/Pneumonia during that time!

Here it is December 21, and this is my second post for the month.

I can be grateful that I have felt much better this month and so have been busy working, doing laundry and cooking, taking care of my children, Christmas shopping and living.

Here is my December Gratitude list:

My friends who created a grateful photo group– a small private group where we share photos of things we are grateful for and have fun conversations about our posts.  This is now my favorite part of Facebook and I enjoy it so much better than all the random posts on my wall, too many of which are negative.

This lap top which my wonderful husband got from his wonderful friend who has assisted us with computers over the years and shared business with my husband.

My wonderful family who managed without me for almost a month while I was in my room, coughing and watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix because I had no energy to do anything else.

My extended family, especially my siblings,my mom and my oldest son who have been pulling pictures together to prepare a surprise video for my father who turns 70 next month.  Don’t worry, he isn’t on Facebook or email or the computer hardly at all, except when he has to for his work which is part-time for him now.

Looking forward to a week at my parent’s house on the lake with my sister, her husband, their dogs, and my brother and his kids.  Our kids have so much fun together and there is nothing better than watching my kids enjoy time with their cousins.  And they are all old enough (just about) where I can sit back and relax for the most part.  -we’ll see how my almost 3-year-old does as he will want to be included in all the older kids do.

My husband.  There aren’t words for my gratitude to him.  I am very grateful that he is here with us this holiday because he came very close to leaving this world back in May and I really can’t imagine life without him.  He went to all 36 session of cardiac rehab and is doing so well continuing his exercise at the YMCA- so proud of him- and so inspired by him and how he is improving his life!  He is an amazing man and father and my best friend.  I need to tell him that more.

Simplicity.

Our experiences back in May, really showed me the beauty of simplicity in life.  Then I got sick and learned to appreciate my breathing and again it was a reminder to slow down and keep it simple!  There is really no reason to rush around like the Tasmanian devil and I am working to keep it simple in my life and to remember there really is no reason to hurry 99.9% of the time!

It is all perfect.

Even when it looks like it is not.  Somehow, it is all perfect, all in divine order.

Life experiences that help me realize the above even if it takes time to see the divine order.  And even when I still don’t see the divine order in the experience.

Quiet time to myself-  I am blessed to have a supportive husband who knows that I need time alone away from the house for my sanity, for my health and he has helped me make this happen nearly every week of the year.

Blogging and WordPress I have been journaling since I was 10 with notebooks and paper and finally began this blog, just over a year ago.   I love being able to take my lap top and write and publish my blog and then share it on Facebook.  Sharing what I write has been a new adventure for me and a BIG step out of my comfort zone.  It has been a wonderful experience despite my fears!

Reflecting- I have come to see how essential it is for me to write.  It helps me tune into myself, to reflect and make sense out of my life.  It calms the chatter in my head, the fears and most of all it allows me to be more of who I truly am.  It is so healing for me that I knew I needed to get out today to write despite also needing to prepare food and start packing for our upcoming trip.  Writing is as important to my physical health as what I eat and exercise.

All my virtual friends–  Finding other blogs and other people through WordPress and Facebook.  It is an introvert’s dream to have access to so many people in such a non threatening way!

Facebook and Friends-  Being able to reconnect with old friends as well as new with my computer and more often, my Black Berry.  As a busy mom of 3, sometimes it is my only connection to friends and other adults, something I need!

My Black Berry-  I got it just after my youngest child was born.  Thank God I did! I was able to keep up with the homeschool world and my children’s friends because our world is by email and now Facebook!  It survived being dropped in water with baby bottom balm lotion as well as many drops on the floor.  It acts up and currently won’t allow me to type i, k or m most of the time. Yet, it serves me and allows me to spend less time on my lap top and so more time with my children.

My three wonderful children- Despite my frustrations with them, I am grateful for their strong personalities and sense of who they are.  They have taught me far more than I could possibly teach them.  I love seeing the world through their eyes and witnessing their life and growth and being a part of their lives.  They all have strong passions,  feel deeply and have an amazing zest for life.  I can’t imagine life any other way than alongside the three of them.  They often seem so different from I was as a child, yet, I do see myself in them often and also know they are their own person- each one of them.  I have learned to enjoy where they are more and more over the years. This is a good reminder to me to enjoy 14-year-old Harrison, 9-year-old Abby, and almost 3-year-old Jason.  For, too soon, they will be older,  grown up and no longer living with me.

 

Coughing into a new speed

‘Tis the season…

Three and a half weeks ago, I came down with what felt like the flu and it progressed into this coughing, bronchial, coughing, low fever, no energy illness.  Did I mention the congested coughing that did not go away but got worse?

My husband is working from home and in the process of completing some training for a new business endeavor and so he is home often and was able to take care of the kids and most meals most of the time. Which means that I had time to rest or as much time as a mother of an active toddler and two older children can rest.  I got to stay in my room or in a recliner in the living room (since sitting up seamed to be much better than laying down) yet the illness lingered far longer than any illness I’ve had.

Unfortunately my favorite go to health practioner, a chiropractor who practices Traditional Chinese Medicine and who I have been going to for 10 years, was out of the office for the first week and a half of my illness.  I did begin to slowly get better but it took three visits to her, many herbs and more rest and as I type this I still have a cough and will likely schedule one more appointment early next week  just to be sure I don’t relapse again.  I had one day where I felt good enough to take my children to the park where our friends were going and enjoyed myself but then felt 10x worse the next day.

So where am I going with all of this?

I haven’t been able to get out of the house for my weekly time away to myself and writing time.  I did manage to use my lap top at home but mostly to play games and busy myself with Facebook just to pass the time.  Sometimes you don’t know how sick you really are until you get better.  I really had no energy and so I feel far less guilty looking back on the time I spent watching Grey’s Anatomy and playing games because I just did not the have the energy to do much else.

I still need to pace myself.  Today I worked 4 hours at my outside the house job where I haven’t been in almost a month due to being sick and then got my hair cut and my husband took the kids so I did some Christmas shopping but then felt myself getting very tired.  I am tired as I write this, yet it is more relaxing to be sitting here at this restaurant wi-fi spot writing than to return home where there is always a child who wants my attention or needs my help.

I think where I am going with this is….

…learning to pace myself

No matter how busy life is, how many things we need to do.  And do we really need to do all those things on our list?

I had a big fat reminder of what is important in life, my crash course in perspective, just 6 months ago when my husband had a nearly fatal massive heart attack.  And out of the blue, I might add as he had no health history other than a family history of heart disease but like many people, he thought he was fine as he was eating very well and exercising.

When he was in the hospital, it was all so clear: what was most important in my life- taking care of my husband and my kids.  I asked for help when I needed it and for those 12 days when he was in the hospital, I was asking often!

Then he came home, and new challenges arose as we renegotiated our roles and figured out  how to live our “new life”.  People ask me if my husband is “back to normal”.  There is no going back, no more normal.  He is physically doing great and better in that way, but life is different now and will always be.  A sudden, serious life threatening event, changes life as you know it forever.  In many ways, that is a good thing.  Yet, it brings new challenges and new issues and there remains the lingering fear of what if that was not really there before, not in the magnitude and reality that it now exists.

Time passes from the “event” and you find yourself in a similar mode as you functioned before the “event”.  My husband tells me every one refers to his heart attack as an “event”, and I just find that funny.  In this case, I use it as it could refer to many different kids of life changing, traumatic events.

Then I  became frustrated that I  appeared to be “back to the way things were before”, but not really because when he was in the hospital, I swore that life would be different or at least I saw a new perspective of life and knew I would never be the same.

And so, 6 months after his heart attack, I came down with a respiratory illness, infected lungs…so fitting from a metaphysical perspective because lungs process grief.  Sometimes there is delayed grief or lingering grief.  Sure, my husband lived and made an amazing recovery and I am forever grateful for that.  Yet, I do not need to deny myself or anyone who has gone through a similar experience, that there is still grief.  There is still the lingering memories and questions and fears and doubt and worries.  My husband remembers very little about his heart attack, he didn’t even know he might be having one and then went into cardiac arrest and so remembered nothing for about 4 hours until he was in recovery in the CCU and his memories of those days in the hospital are sketchy and even his initial return home is a bit of a foggy memory for him.

I on the other hand, remember most of it all too well.  Sure, I was in shock initially and so my recall of the initial hours are a bit different from how my son remembers it and surely he was in shock too.  Yet, once we got to the hospital, I can feel it and recall it like I am still there as well as most aspects of what transpired before they took him to the hospital.

I feel like I have written about this so many times before.  Somehow, I have a need to tell this story and share my feelings and experiences.  I think it is my way of processing my grief, my lingering grief.  Maybe what I am saying sounds much like when I have written about it before and yet for me, each time I write, it helps me move forward and release those aspects of the experience that hold me down, weakening my immune system, allowing a cough to take over my life.

I think the biggest lesson I need to take from all I have written tonight is to continue to…

…pace myself.

To slow down, no matter what is going on in life and not matter how important I think the tasks at hand are to me or my family.

For nothing is more important than health and life.

If we do not take care of ourselves, our body, mind and most importantly, our soul, then it will have an effect on us.  Maybe not immediately or even in the near future, but it will in some way, impact us and most likely in a negative or possibly harmful way.

I have something new to add to my mantra….

The past is behind me, keep moving forward….AND… pace myself !

No excuses

I haven’t been writing.  I have had time to write but have only written one blog in over two weeks.  I could make excuses and explain how I have been sick.

OR

Or I could remind myself….

The past is behind me, keep moving forward.

I am grateful for that message.

Today, that is all I need to say.

The past is behind me, keep moving forward.