Remembering Ed’s Recent Hospital Stay…

This week, we passed the two-week anniversary of Ed’s heart attack, and things seem to be going well.  Ed’s been dealing with a ridiculously large bruise, beginning in the groin area (where the heart catheter was inserted) and extending all the way down his thigh to just above the knee.  The soreness of the bruised area and being tired are the only two complains I’ve heard from Ed.  His outlook and disposition have been very positive, I’m happy to say.  I’m also happy to say, the large bruised area is finally fading.

I wrote the story of the night of Ed’s heart attack, but never really got into the two days we spent at the hospital.  Today, I’ll be hitting the highlights of those two days, following Ed’s ordeal, before I forget any more of the details!  By the way, this was Ed’s first experience as the patient, he’s always been the care giver.

I previously mentioned my daughter and I “camping out” in one of the CCU waiting rooms, on the night Ed was admitted to the hospital.  Due to sick parents, over the years, this wasn’t my first time spending the night in a hospital waiting room, but it was a first for Brandy, and she handled it like a trooper.  We took the cushions off of the ‘L-shaped’ sofa, and split them between us, so we’d each have a place to stretch out.  We used the spare clothes in my tote bag for our covers. (Why are hospital waiting rooms so cold?)  We didn’t do a lot of sleeping, but we managed to survive the night, even managing a giggle or two, at times.  It was strange and unsettling, knowing Ed was just around the corner, but not knowing what was going on with him.  Then, there was my problem of having to go to the bathroom every few minutes!  I guess a case of ‘nerves’ had my bladder working overtime.  The bathroom was located around the corner, in between the doors to CCU and another waiting room. Somebody was sleeping in the waiting room located right next to the bathroom.  I kept wondering if I was keeping the sleeping person awake by flushing the [very loud] toilet every few minutes.

The next morning, when visiting hours finally came for CCU, Brandy and I entered and found Ed sitting up in a chair!  What a difference a few hours had made!  Ed had been eating breakfast, but was now speaking with a cardiac specialist about his heart attack when we entered the room.  She explained to him where his blockage had been located in his heart, and told him he’d just experienced what is commonly known as “the widow maker”.  My heart quickened, and it was at that exact moment, I realized what a gift Ed had been given the night before–a second chance at life. In fact, Ed was actually doing so well, they moved him out of CCU, a couple of hours later.

We left room 123, and moved into room 303.  When it comes to directions, and finding my way around strange places, I’m challenged.  I panicked at the thought of having to learn my way around another hospital floor! I’d just learned my way to CCU, now I had to start all over again. I needn’t have worried.

On the day following Ed’s heart attack, all of our children came to the hospital to spend time with us.  Thanks to their help, by the time the last of them went home, I had a pretty good idea of how to find my way around the hospital, as well as the hospital parking lot. I’m so grateful to each one of them for taking the time to help me find my way around.  I made a lot of trips to the cafeteria and to my car in the parking lot during the two days we were there!

After the last of Ed’s company left, on Monday, Ed invited me to share his hospital bed for a while.  It felt so good to have the opportunity to be next to him again, even with the wires and ivs still in place!  It also felt good to be able to stretch out!  It had only been 6 weeks since I’d had back surgery, and those hospital chairs are killers under the best of circumstances.

Being the ‘support person’ was a new role for me.  Over the years, I’ve been the one who’s had all of the health issues, while Ed’s always been the healthy one. It wasn’t an easy thing for me to suddenly see Ed in a vulnerable situation.  Apparently, it wasn’t easy for him, either, because he spent very little time in the bed after that first day. Before long, he was walking the halls, too!

I can’t say enough good things about Ed’s care-givers during his stay in the hospital, from the first night to the last morning. Many went above and beyond their call of duty, with some nurses even stopping by to say hello, when they didn’t have Ed for a patient that day.

It didn’t seem like it at the time, but in looking back, the two days in the hospital passed quickly. We made the best of the situation.  I brought my cafeteria meals back to Ed’s hospital room, and we ate our meals together, like always. Ed had the neatest little bed tray that expanded to make a “table for two”.  One nurse commented how “romantic” we looked, sharing our meals together.  She said all we needed was a rose on the table, and we all laughed.

Another nurse always liked to tease us about doing the “hanky panky” behind our closed  hospital door.  She let out a laugh when she came in, on our last morning in the hospital, and discovered both of us in Ed’s hospital bed!  I told her she’d finally caught us, and we all laughed.

I can’t end this story without mentioning Ed’s nurse on the day he was finally released.  She was about Ed’s age, and she dressed like nurses used to dress, back in our younger days–very professional and ‘old school’.  She even wore a nursing cap, something you don’t see much anymore.  She introduced herself as “Hot Lips”, explaining she’d earned that nickname, many years ago, from some army lieutenants who swore she looked just like actress, Loretta Swit, who played “Hot Lips” Houlihan in the old 1970’s movie MASH.  They were right, she [still] looked exactly like Loretta Swit!

“Hot Lips” was very good to Ed, before he left.  When he didn’t get any milk to go along with his cereal, she went and found him some.  She offered to reheat my breakfast which grew cold while we were waiting for her to find some milk for Ed’s cereal.  When Ed finally got released, “Hot Lips” personally rolled Ed down to the car, so he wouldn’t have to wait an extra hour for patient transport. It’s rare to find service like that, these days, and even rarer to have a nurse known as “Hot Lips”.  Lucky Ed!

By 10:00 am, Wednesday, October 28th, Ed and I were packed, in the car, and headed home from the hospital. We were both anxious to go home and enjoy Ed’s second chance at life, together…and that’s exactly what we’re doing.

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The birthday boy!

Today is Ed’s birthday!  He’s celebrating his 66th year, today, praise the Lord!  We’ll be having a quiet celebration, at home, with a ‘scaled down’, mini version of his favorite, German Chocolate cake. Happy Birthday to Ed!  May he enjoy this birthday, and many more birthdays, as well.

 

 

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Published in: on November 13, 2015 at 10:30 am  Comments (5)  
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A Week Ago (part 2)…

In part one of my story, Ed and I had gone to our local ER because he was experiencing chest pains and high blood pressure. Not long after arriving, we were told, by the ER physician, that Ed’s EKG didn’t look good, and he would need to quickly be sent to another hospital by ambulance. That hospital was about 50 miles away.  After giving Ed some “clot busting” medication, the staff began preparing Ed for transport.

I left Ed at the hospital, and quickly headed to the nearest gas station.  I rarely let my car run low on gas, but I hadn’t been driving the PT Cruiser much since we’d recently bought a new van.  (Our new van was sitting under the carport at Ed’s parents’ house, filled with gas, but there was no way I was driving it to the hospital to become a victim of those idiots in the hospital parking lot!)  After, filling up with gas, I quickly headed for home to pack a few things to take to the hospital. I made a mental check list of what I needed on the way.

While at our house, I quickly decided I needed to leave food for our animals, too, since nobody would be home to feed them the next morning.  I put on a “head lamp” and wandered out into the night.  I fed and watered the chickens, then left some dry cat food for the cats.  I must have been quite a sight, running all around in the dark with that light on my head, but I was a woman on a mission!

While I was darting around like a mad woman, the phone rang.  It was my daughter asking where I was.  She was still waiting at the hospital emergency room.  Apparently, we’d had a miscommunication.  She thought I was coming back to the hospital, and I thought she was coming home to get me.  She told me Ed had already been taken on the ambulance.  We hung up and she quickly came home to get me.  Meanwhile, her husband came outside and offered to help me finish feeding the animals.  He was out in the garden, in the dark, pulling up turnip greens for my chickens at 10:30 pm!  Now THAT’S a good son-in-law!

My daughter and I headed for the hospital, shortly before 11 pm.  It began to drizzle rain shortly after we began our journey.  Thankfully, the highway was pretty much deserted at that hour of the night, so traffic wasn’t a problem.  We talked as she drove through the night. We pulled into the emergency room parking lot, in Savannah, shortly after midnight.

The ER attendant had told me Ed would be going to room 123, in the next hospital, but I had no idea room 123 was located in CCU, until we asked for directions at the ER desk.  I think it was about this time that the seriousness of Ed’s condition really began to sink into my weary brain.

When we got to the entrance of CCU, of course the door was locked.  Keep in mind, my daughter and I were each carrying our purses, a tote bag filled with clothing, a small bag of toiletries, and my lumbar support pillow.  We must have looked like a couple of pack mules seeking shelter! We pressed the buzzer, and stated who we were looking for.  A kind nurse, named Linda, met us at the door, saying “We’ve been waiting for you.”

My daughter and I quickly learned that Ed had already been taken back to have an emergency cardiac catheterization.  This was the second jolt to my brain that Ed might be in real trouble.   I knew if the cardiac cath team had been called in at midnight, the situation was quite serious. The nurse explained to us, “saving time is saving muscle” during a heart attack.  The nurse left us alone, and for a brief moment, I felt myself losing control, and let out a small sob, but I quickly regained control.  I had to be strong.

Nurse Linda went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure my daughter and I were comfortable and taken care of while Ed was having his procedures.  Later, I learned that Ed had told Linda his wife and daughter would soon be coming, and asked her to please take care of us when we arrived.  Bless him.  He was having a heart attack, and, still, he was worried about us!

We waited in Ed’s room, in CCU, while he had his heart cath, and angioplasty done.  The cardiologist called me on the phone and told me he’d removed the blockage, put in a stent, and Ed was doing okay. I felt relief flood over me.  He also told me Ed would have to stay in the hospital for a few days, and I found  myself wondering, how long is a few days?

Eventually, Ed was rolled back into the room in CCU, while still in his bed. Ed had been given some medication to help him relax, so he was “feeling pretty good” when he got to his room.  He had a pressure bandage on his groin area, where the catheter had been inserted, so he couldn’t move around much.  He seemed to drift in and out of sleep.

My daughter and I were listening to some relaxing music on the television in Ed’s room. After Ed returned, and the first thing he asked was “Is that the viewing music?”  My daughter and I both laughed,  for the first time in several hours.  Ed’s sense of humor was still in tact!  I knew the next few hours could still be critical for Ed, but, deep down, I felt like everything was going to be alright.  Before too long, we all settled in for a long night–Ed in his bed in CCU, and my daughter and I in one of the CCU waiting areas.

Published in: on November 5, 2015 at 8:20 am  Comments (4)  
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A November Hodgepodge…

Today, I’m taking a break from telling the story of Ed’s recent heart attack, to participate in today’s Hodgepodge.  I’ll resume the story “A Week Ago” tomorrow.  As always, thanks to our hostess, Joyce, for hosting The Hodgepodge.

1. Besides Thanksgiving, something you’re looking forward to on your November calendar?

I’m looking forward to celebrating my husband, Ed’s, 66 birthday with him, on November 13. Ten days ago, he came very close to not being here to celebrate, so it will be extra special this year!

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Ed, on his birthday, last year

2.  If I gave you a thank you card right now who would you send it to and why?

I’d send it to our two children, and their spouses, who live on the family farm with us.  Thanks to them, our nine chickens, twelve cats (thirteen counting “Trouble”),  pond full of goldfish, and dog were all fed and well cared for during Ed’s recent hospital stay.  I’d also say “thank you” to our youngest son, Brad, for taking the time to move my car to a good spot in the hospital parking lot, and for instructing me on how to find my way out of the parking lot!  Their help took a huge burden off of my shoulders, and I’m so grateful to them all!

3. Of the breads listed, which one’s your favorite…bagel, cinnamon, sourdough, garlic, banana, biscuit, pita, Naan, or plain old-fashioned white bread?

It’s almost a tie between a biscuit and a cinnamon bagel, but I think I like a cinnamon bagel best.

4. What’s something you have in abundance? Is that a good thing?

I have an abundance of a lot of different things because I’m a collector of “stuff”.  I have lots of dishes in my cabinets ( in fact, they’re over-flowing), I have lots of curios and books on the shelves, lots of clothes in the closet, and a large collection of dolls in my bedroom.  I won’t even get started on my abundance of holiday decorations for all seasons.

In hind sight, it’s probably not a good thing that I have collected so much “stuff”, but, there was a time when “stuff” made me happy.  I still like my “stuff”, but I don’t find quite as much pleasure in it, now, as I once did.

5. November 5th is National Love Your Red Hair Day. Are there any redheads in your family? Who’s your favorite redhead?

Yes, I do have some redheads in my family.  I have two first cousins (on my mother’s side) who have (or had) red hair.  When I think  ‘favorite redhead’, I immediately think of Lucille Ball, but I was always close with my redheaded first cousin, Kay, while growing up.

6.  The travel website Busbud recently calculated the most Instagrammed spot in every state. Go here to see what made the list where you live. Are you happy with your state’s #1? If not what do you think should be the most photographed spot in your state? Have you snapped a photo there? If you live outside the USA answer as it relates to your state, city or province.

Georgia’s most ‘Instagrammed spot is The Atlanta Motor Speedway, believe it or not!  Georgia has so many more scenic places than a speedway!  For instance, there’s the ” Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon”, in Lumpkin, Georgia,  and, yes, I’ve visited and snapped photos there.

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photo via Google

7. I’m going to try to have something related to gratitude in this spot each week during the month of November. Here’s this week’s question-

What’s something you’ve learned about yourself this year that you’re grateful for?

I’ve learned that I am a much stronger person than I thought I was back in January.  I’ve been through a lot, this year, (Ed losing his job, termite and mold problems , my back surgery, and now Ed having a heart attack) but I’ve learned (again) that I can do (and survive) all things through Christ who strengthens me, and for that, I’m grateful.

Random:

Ed’s been home from the hospital for a week.  So far, so good.  He is adjusting to his new medications, and seems to be feeling better each day.  Life is slowly getting back to normal.  I’m so thankful he’s still with me!

All of the sudden, I feel like a new bride, trying to learn how to cook again!  I haven’t quite gotten the hang of how to season food with spices other than salt.  I’m a work in progress, but Ed’s a good sport and doesn’t complain.  I eat whatever Ed eats, so he’s not “suffering” alone. Ha!  We’ve been eating a lot of salad, lately.  It’s hard to mess up a good salad 🙂

Published in: on November 4, 2015 at 8:21 am  Comments (14)  
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A Week Ago (part one)…

Last weekend started out like many others.  Our granddaughter, Madison was celebrating her ninth birthday with a party.  On Friday, Ed and I helped our daughter move furniture and decorate the building where the party was going to be held on Saturday.  On Friday night, I was trying out a new sd card in my camera, so I snapped a picture of Ed.  When I looked at the picture, I remarked how red his face looked, but thought nothing more of it.  Perhaps I should have.

On Saturday morning, Ed scooped up and unloaded a couple of loads of dirt into the holes that have recently appeared in our yard, from deteriorating tree roots.  He didn’t have time to spread out all of the dirt, so it’s still sitting in little piles.  Shortly after lunch, we attended our granddaughter’s birthday party, then stayed to clean up and rearrange furniture, afterward. It was a busy day.

On Sunday we took a road trip with our daughter and her family, to check out a new store that had recently opened in a nearby town.  About halfway into our shopping, Ed told me he’d looked at everything he wanted to see, and was going to sit in the car.  He’s been dealing with plantars fasciitis for a while, so I thought his foot was bothering him.  Later, when we ate some lunch, I noticed Ed didn’t eat much, but, again, I didn’t think anything of it.  Afterward, we all went to Wal-Mart, but Ed stayed in the van, which wasn’t entirely unusual when his foot is hurting. Everyone was tired from the party, the day before, so we cut our trip short, after Wal-Mart, and went home to rest.

About 7:45, on Sunday night, I’d just settled down with my computer on my lap, while Ed went to take his shower.  In a few minutes, he walked into the living room and said, “I’m going to shave, then I’m going to the hospital.”  I replied, “What in the world?” to which he said, “My chest has been hurting and my blood pressure is high.”  I said, “Well, I think I’ll go with you!” and that is how our ordeal began.

Believe it or not, Ed was actually going to drive us to the emergency room, but about 1/4 of a mile down our dirt road, I convinced him to let me drive.  I told him he might have a stroke and kill us both on the way to the hospital.  It never occurred to me he might be having a heart attack, since he didn’t appear to be in pain.

When we arrived at the emergency room [of the hospital where Ed used to work] there was a vehicle under the shelter, with its flashers on.  We parked in the parking lot.  A woman dressed in orange was pacing the floor of the ER waiting room.  Ed and I walked up to the window, and the receptionist asked us what our problem was.  Ed calmly replied, “I’ve been having chest pains.” to which she replied, “For how long.”  Ed quietly answered, “For two days.”  (Oh, my goodness, I nearly fell to the floor when I heard that!!!)  The receptionist said, “We’re a little busy, take a seat over there.” and we did. I  kept thinking, No, this isn’t right.  You don’t sit in a waiting room when you’re having chest pains and your blood pressure is  high.  I was also thinking, maybe we came to the wrong place…

After about ten minutes or so, another woman came out and said, “Come with me.”  I thought she was going to take Ed back to an exam room, but she actually thought we were part of the family of the person who’d arrived just before us. (The patient hadn’t survived.)  She took us to a private waiting area!  About that time, the lady recognized Ed, and he told her what was happening to him.  She quickly got someone to help us, then. (She apologized several times for  putting in the waiting room.) I called our daughter to tell her where we were, and asked her to call her brothers.

Within the next five minutes, Ed was on a stretcher with a blood pressure cuff and an EKG machine hooked to him.  Within another few minutes, the ER doctor told me they didn’t like what they were seeing on Ed’s EKG, and would probably be shipping Ed out to another hospital.

I was surprised when the nurse asked Ed what his pain level was, and he replied, “about a four”.  You would never  have known he was so sick by his demeanor.  He remained calm the entire time.  In fact, when the x-ray tech came to do a portable chest x-ray, he didn’t realize what Ed’s problem was, and was actually going to let Ed walk over to the x-ray department, until I intervened.

Meanwhile, the ER doctor was on the phone, consulting with the cardiologist on call at St. Joseph’s hospital, in Savannah.  A second EKG was ordered, and, after that, it became clear Ed was having a heart attack.  They quickly began administering drugs known as “clot busters”, and prepared to send Ed to St. Joseph’s by ambulance.

At some point, the door of the exam room opened, and in walked all three of our children.  What a welcome sight they were!  In fact, I was on the phone calling  our daughter back, when they walked in. We began to discuss who was going to drive me to Savannah, because I wasn’t sure I could make it by myself.  Our daughter said she would go with me, but I told her I needed to go home, first, to pick up a few things.  I kissed Ed goodbye, told him I’d see him soon in Savannah, and went out into the night.  I looked at the clock in my car.  It was 10 pm.  The date of October 25 would be forever etched in my brain… (to be continued)

 

Published in: on November 2, 2015 at 7:32 am  Comments (6)  
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Six Word Saturday…

This weekend could’ve been very different!

I woke up this morning thinking how blessed Ed and I are to still be together, and how different this weekend  would’ve been if Ed had died on Sunday night while having his heart attack. (he survived what’s known as ‘the widow maker’)  It gives me chills, now, to realize how close Ed came to meeting his maker.  In fact, the person who arrived at the ER immediately before us actually didn’t survive.

The date of October 25, 2015 will be forever etched in my brain.  It was the beginning of a new life for Ed and myself–a second chance at life together. This life may be a little different than our previous life, but that’s okay.  We’ll tackle life’s obstacles together.

I thank God for each additional day we’ve been given, and plan to make the most of each and every one of them!  Folks, never take your loved ones for granted.  They can be taken from you in the blink of an eye, before you even realize what’s happening.  Make every day count!

  • It’s been a while, but today I’m joining Cate over at Show My Face for her meme “Six Word Saturday”.
Published in: on October 31, 2015 at 10:18 am  Comments (9)  
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