Is it just me or did anyone else blink, sneeze and January was finished? I feel like I haven’t had a chance to get used to a New Year and the first month is done and dusted. I’m still thinking about sitting down and making goals and plans while God is saying, “Better get your skates on and catch up!”
Last year ended on a sour note with me being admitted to hospital with a heart attack. You may recall Mom was/is in hospice and now doing amazingly well and I was staying nights. It’s only thirty miles between us but, if I’m driving the speed limit, it takes almost an hour due to narrow, unmarked country roads. I was away from my home a minimum of fourteen hours, coming home to dog messes and who could blame them? That’s entirely too long to ask. Anyway, without going into more details, there was a dust up with my family and I found me on my sofa with an Inky Cat on my chest and not feeling even fifty percent. As I said on FB, “If I’d had the strength, I would go to the emergency room”. At that point, the thought of a heart attack hadn’t occurred to me. The next morning around O’dark thirty I stumbled to the bathroom sink and took two full strength aspirins then went back to bed. A couple of hours later, feeling some better, I realized it might be a heart attack and began doing what was needed so I could go to the ER. All the animals were fed, watered and then I contacted friends to cover my chores in case I was admitted to hospital. Katelyn and Ronnie took care of horses, dogs, cats, home and farm but Sadie was quarantined by covid. Memory, always faulty, seems to tell me Stephanie came to the house but I might lose a hundred dollar bet were I to say for sure.
Gathering my phone, charger and keys I drove up to the driveway and God said, “Don’t drive yourself; call EMS” so I left the car at the gate and walked to the road where I parked my bottom on a tree stump, dialed 911 and waited. They arrived, loaded me into the rescue vehicle and took me to Swift Creek ER where my enzyme levels were eighteen hundred but supposed to be less than one hundred by about half. Things began moving quickly and transport to a heart care hospital was arranged with enzymes at twenty-two hundred upon arrival. Both arms were stuck with IV’s and drips of nitroglycerin and Heparin started and continued for four days. Various tests followed: catheterization, MRI, EKG and I’m not sure what else. For the next four days I was told “You had a severe heart attack”, “You didn’t have a heart attack”, “I’ve not seen anything like this”, “You’ve had a heart attack and have blockage and heart damage”.
You know there’s always more to the story but I now see a marvelous cardiologist and feel like an old woman because I now see a cardiologist. Since being home, Kately and Ronnie continue to be a HUGE help and Sadie and I have managed to have lunch together a few times as life returns to what is now my “new normal”.
Having a heart attack is strange. Medico’s kept asking, “What’s your pain level?” but I only had pressure. Enormous pressure in and on my chest along with dizziness and lightheadedness. When faced with my reply they said, “That is pain” and I’m thinking, “Well then, you’ve never had your cornea sliced with a hard contact lens or gallstones.” Those things were excruciating!
Dr. Dreamy, as his staff calls him, tells me to lower my stress level, go only as quickly as my body allows and, most importantly, listen to my body and I’m trying. Or, as Dave once told me, “You certainly are!”
Only now am I returning to staying overnight at parents and only two nights a week and only if my body allows. As you might imagine, that’s not going over well with some family members and very harsh words have been spoken. If taking better care of me makes me a terrible person, I can live with that.
My go is now slow and I’m winded, breathless and sometimes dizzy more often. Riding the electric cart at grocery stores happens more often than I’d like to admit but tending to the animals remains my Balm in Gilead. Other Balms include the kindness of friends in visiting, calling, texting. The father of lies whispers to us all, “No one cares. It’s an empty life, slip away.” and, if we’re honest, at times when overwhelmed by circumstances, work, life in general it’s a tempting thought. However, temptation isn’t from God because He doesn’t tempt. He tests but when we ask, gives us the strength, emotional, spiritual and even physical, to overcome.
In Dave’s last days he told me he wasn’t afraid of dying but he was afraid of missing life. Life with me, life with the animals, life on the farm.
How often I think about what he said and now after the heart attack fright, I understand.
I’m making plans for after I’m gone. Plans for the farm and animals to be taken care of, for beloved friends and family to have gifts bequeathed to them. I”m trying not to leave a mess and have even talked to Joe M. about funeral arrangements.
It would be interesting to talk with others who’ve had a heart attack. I have questions. Questions such as Are you fuzzy headed? Is your memory worse? Is your go slow? And so many others.
If you find those questions foolish, don’t judge too harshly. In fact, don’t judge at all or “the curse has come upon me cried the Lady of Shalott” could befall you.
My rest breaks are frequent and my circle, always small, has tightened. If I need, my “no” is firmer and with no excuses as I feel no need to offer any. When people express their anger, indeed vicious anger, because I refuse to be bullied, I simply stare and find silence is a very effective tool.
Joel O. once said he was, paraphrasing, “trimming the deadbeats from his life and if you call and I don’t answer the phone, then you’re a deadbeat.” Amusing, yes, but there is a lesson to be learned. My manifesto for this year, indeed this life, is now PROTECT MY PEACE. I’ll do my best not to hurt others but if a situation calls for hurting someone by protecting my peace then I’ll choose what’s best and right for me. I hope you’ll do the same for you.
PROTECT YOUR PEACE.