Two Steps Forward

Every time I get two steps ahead, I get knocked back one. We went to our new home to drop off the first load of things. And wouldn’t you know, I had a heart attack, without warning, and ended up having two stents placed in the back of my heart. That lead to a week long stay in the hospital in Oklahoma.

As we drove back to Mississippi, my hand began to hurt more and more until I was in agony. I knew the graft in my arm was causing the “Steal Syndrome” but what I didn’t know was that it had collapsed when I had the heart attack, and my blood pressure dropped very low.

We went straight to the hospital in Mississippi. We were blessed to have Dr. Wright on duty in the Emergency Room. He took one look, realized it had little to no blood flow and immediately went to work to track down the surgeon who put in the graft. I was transferred to Memphis to the Methodist University Hospital where the surgeon stopped the graft from working and restored the blood flow to my hand. Three more days in the hospital followed. And the news that it will take up to six months for the nerves in my hand to heal. The pain is horrific. Mind you, the trip down to Oklahoma was a four day event, originally. See, I was feeling great, and one huge step backward screwed up everything.

I did learn some things while dealing with all of this:

First of all, I am married to a saint, who put work and everything else on hold to take care of me. He is still taking care of me while I am getting my strength back and weaning off of oxygen. He cooks for me, or brings me take out. He keeps track of all my appointments and medication, and he nags me to take care of myself. I am worried he is going to get sick himself because he worries too much.

Second, I am no longer in charge of my life. Doctor’s offices call and say they have me down for an appointment without checking with me first. REALLY ticks me off when they do that. Especially since I have dialysis from 2-6 pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I have home health people who call every day, and come see me on Tuesday and Thursday, not to mention the Physical Therapy lady – and they just decide to come right on over. At least they call a day ahead.

Third, nothing annoys me more than to be treated like an invalid. I can get around, as far as my oxygen hose allows. I can wash, dress, and take care of myself on a personal level. And as I heal, I get more grumpy by the day.

Fourth, I have wonderful friends here in Mississippi (Thanks Damian for stepping up when we needed you, and Thanks Vickie Dye for helping when we needed it). And I have loving and caring friends on line who pray for me, worry for me, and cheer me up. Thank you all from the bottom of my grumpy heart.

Fifth, I am determined to get back to where I was. The first step is getting off the oxygen by October 30th. I have tickets to see Elton John at the FedEx Forum that night. I am NOT going to miss it if I have to go with the oxygen and in a wheelchair. But I want to walk to my seat and enjoy the concert. The second step is getting my strength back. The physical therapist will start the process, but I am going to change it all up and get back on my feet. My heart isn’t damaged, and I only need the oxygen because I was short of breath and I am dealing with bronchitis. Third, I am going to get to all the appointments, listen to what the doctors say, and make my own decisions on the next step. They are all ganging up on me about early stages COPD. I have never smoked, I don’t understand that at all.

Fourth, I am going to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving, and hauling our biggest load of stuff down. Damian is stepping up again and driving the truck for us. But my goal is to cook Thanksgiving dinner with the help of the women in my family. A simple meal, but damn it, it is tradition that I cook on the holidays and I am not letting my family down. Most importantly of all, I am going to spend every minute I can with our Addie Rose, because when we move, we will only get her on school breaks. It tears me up to think of how much we will miss her.

I will take three steps forward from now on so one step back won’t mean all that much. And I will heal.

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