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Fasten Your Seatbelts ... A New Twist on an Old Joke 
Mar. 11, 2010 5:08 am 
Updated: Mar. 16, 2010 5:04 pm
I used to think that life was supposed to be kind -- and fun.  Sure, life throws you curves, but you learn to take them as they come.  Bend into the curve, and enjoy the sensation of the wind whipping through your hair as the speed increases before the final "whoosh" back onto even ground, and the giddiness that floods your being as equilibrium seeps slowly back into your system, and you can continue on your merry way making this world a little more pleasant for all you meet.  You learn that the bad times, like the good, always come to an end.  You just have to see them coming, and (to quote Bette Davis) "Fasten your seatbelts.  It's going to be a bumpy ride!"

You face the hardships with love and humour to get you through and sustain you through even the most unthinkable circumstances.   You learn that fireflies and the tiniest stars give off the brightest light in the darkest night.  It's the little things that bring the greatest joy.  You learn to hang onto the slightest smile, the smallest kind word from someone just to get over a bump.  You learn to face the deaths of friends, loved ones, children, and parents with a bravery that amazes all who see you to the point where they think you don't care. You learn to laugh in the face of adversity (and pun your way to and from the cemetary) and host these events with the grace of a Garden Party Hostess.  You learn that you are the only one you can really trust and that you do have the strength to come through the darkness into the light.  And you grow a shell.  (Hopefully not hard enough to alienate those you meet, but enough to shield against the bruising of the seatbelt for those really hard jolts.)

Thirteen years ago, I met a wonderful man who saw through my bravado and scars, and decided that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.   He chipped away at the shell, found me, and saved me from my strength and life of alienation.  He became my life for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health to love and to cherish, etc.  He has taught me how to really love selflessly, and think of others first.  He brings out the best in me and taught me that I am loveable. 

We have had more good times than bad, more giggles and laughs than tears.  When things get tough, one of us will lighten up the other one.  We have sheltered each other from the nasty-ness of others (his ex-wife, his son's girlfriend, my remaining family) and have faced the unpleasantness together.  He helped me create a viable relationship with my mother (who, at best, can be trying).  

Two is stronger than One.  He has put up with my flaws and my cooking (from which nothing except humour and AR could save him).  Finances have always been a concern, but we have managed.  Even when he became so sick that he could not work as a mechanic, which he loved, and we have scraped by on my "just below the poverty-line" salary.  His eyes still light up when you pop a hood and let him look at an engine.  (It may only have been 13 years, but it seems as though we have been a team for all of our adult lives.  In a good way.  I know it sounds corny, but that's my life.) 

We know a lot of the hospital staff by name and his GP will call me and ask me how I am doing when he is in hospital.  I thought we had this game called life licked. I kept waiting for the shoe to drop, but got caught up in the adventure and keeping my eye on the little things that I missed seeing the Big One headed our way.

Secondarily to his lung problems, it appears that he has developed angina.  Fine.  Doctor said it was manageable.  Fine.  Nothing to worry about.  Fine.  The handy-dandy little sublingual Nitro spray was given to be taken when needed.  Fine.  Then, two months ago, she said that there was a shadow on his heart she could  not explain.  A heart attack.  When?  Neither of us noticed, apparently.  "A long time ago."  Okay, must have been at least one (or maybe all) of the three times they had to resuscitate him.  But when I interrogated him, he said, "There was one night.  During a coughing fit." (I, long ago, referred to them as "coffin-fits" -- until they started landing him in hospital and the truthfulness of the pun hit me. And I lost my sense of humour when it came to dealing with his deteriorating health.)

I have failed in my job to provide the necessary care for him.  I have failed in my unattainable goal to protect him (and me) from the inevitable.  So, Doc sent him for a stress test.  Treadmill.  HA!  He passed out in less than 30 seconds.  It happened so fast that the nurse didn't even see it.  Just heard the "Ka-THUMP!" as he hit the floor. So, the doctor said the test was "inconclusive".  (Yes, Gderr, I love that word as much as you do -- (Together, and loudly) NOT!)  She would send him for "the Lazy Man's Stress Test".  April 7.  That's good.

Tuesday, he got a call from the Clinic saying it had been cancelled, but the Cardiologist wanted to see him tomorrow, which was yesterday.  Consult only.  Uh-oh!  That's bad.  With my knowledge of all things medical (just enough to be dangerous and 0worrisome) and the way the medical system reacts to things, I knew this was not good.  I went through the motions at work waiting for the phone call from Hubby.  That's good.

Then it came.  "I'll tell you when I pick you up."  From "Uh-oh!" to "Oh, Kraperone!" in less than 1/10 of a second.  But a terse, "Tell me now!" got the story:  Briefly, it continues to read like a really horrific That's Good/That's Bad joke:

He had had a heart attack. In medical terms: Myocardial Infarction (MI) episode.
That's bad.
No, that's good!  He's got Nitro.
No, it's bad because he's so used to the chest tightening up, the muscles spasms, the shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness that he associates them with the body-wracking coughs that he doesn't recognize the symptoms and doesn't take the Nitro.
Oh, that's bad.
No, it's good because of his medical history the tests done in hospital and the Cardiologist is going away on a Fitness Trek in the Andes for two weeks.
Oh, that's good.
No, it's bad because Cardiologist wants to see him on Friday before he goes trekking the Andes.

Somehow, the punch-line is not funny!

Here's another one:
We have to be at the Heart Institute at 6:30 A.M.
Oh that's bad.
No, that's good because I will have time to drop him off and get to work on time -- for once this week.  Hubby has told me that I am not allowed to be in hospital at the time. 
Oh, that's good!
No, it's bad, because I know I'm not going to be any good at work.
Oh, that's bad!
Well, it's good, because I will give it a Royal Old Norwegian-Canadian try and it's better if I don't stay at the hospital and drive all my hospital friends (and not-yet friends) crazy if I stay there.
Oh, that's good.
No, that's bad because I'm going to probably pass out holding my breath for four hours until I get the phone call that he's ready to come home.
Oh, that's bad.
No it's good because I'm probably going to be such a wreck by that time I have to take the afternoon off!
That's bad.
No.  It's good because it's Friday afternoon.

Hmm ... Punch-line still falls a little flat, but better than the last one.  Still working on it.
That's good.
No, it's bad because this saga is to be continued.
Well, it's good because this is...

Respectfully submitted.
Mar. 11, 2010 7:04 am
I'm sorry you are going through all this, but I love the way you expressed it here. I hear that fireflies are getting more rare, but they're still out there burning brightly wherever they are. Hang in there. Hope all turns out well for you and your family.
Mar. 11, 2010 7:39 am
Never feel you have failed in any way and keep providing the support that you have. Keep good thoughts in your head... P.S. I too have a couple of "dipstick" cats, leaning toward psycho cat statusm
Mar. 11, 2010 7:40 am
Sorry, the m should have been a .
Mar. 11, 2010 7:58 am
Sparkytoo, so very sorry to hear of the health challenges you and hubby are facing. What else is there to do but enjoy each other and life together to the absolute fullest, which obviously you have both been doing intensely. A love like yours, plus that sense of humor, will sustain you through this. You have done it the right way; "being caught up in the adventure and keeping your eye on the little things" is far more important than stressing yourself sick and being absorbed by things you have little control over. If you had done that, you would have missed the mark. You haven't failed - you've prevailed. I admire you for that. Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
Mar. 11, 2010 7:58 am
Reading this through my tears for you and what you're going through. You have also reminded me how grateful I am that my husband is my 'soft place' to fall. I love fireflies...around here when we have a field of hay baled up but not yet gathered. You can sit and watch the fireflies dancing all around them. Take care and I will say a prayer for you and your hubby.
Mar. 11, 2010 9:29 am
I'm so sorry you are going through this! Sending prayers and good wishes!
Mar. 11, 2010 10:31 am
eSparkytoo, yes, what you have been through and are dealing with presently is emotionally very stressing, I sat close to you in your desciption of your husband's heart situation, having to deal with this downward slide with my husband.I was taken with your reference to fireflies and stars. These and sunrises, sunsets, the sound of the wind in the pines, and the constancy of the creek water over the rocks, the sweet sound of birds, and who can forget the calming effect of the huge ocean that can soothe with it's many-faceted sounds that blend into an orchestrated symphany of peace and security, because these wonderous creations were given to us by the One who made us. They can help us survive till He straightens all these He cares for you.
Mar. 11, 2010 1:27 pm
Oooh...Sparkytoo...I am so sorry to hear of your challenges. Almost 18 years ago, my Mom had a massive MI. It was so bad, that even the ER nurses told us that they had never seen anybody survive one that massive. The good news is that she's still with us. Is your husband on a nitropatch? We found that it reduced my Mom's need for her nitrospray to once or twice a year. Also, even though her case was well-managed, we followed her cardiologist's suggestion that she take part in a drug trial that he deemed a good one for her. It not only improved my Mom's long-term prognosis, but helped others in the process. With drug trials, you are closely monitored, your diet is controlled to a certain extent (less worry for you), and those who can get into a drug trial have a greater chance at long-term survival. If further problems present themselves, they will be detected sooner and your husband would be removed from the trial in favour of more conventional treatment. Remember: angina doesn't kill you (it is a warning sign), it's the worry that goes along with an attack that can. This situation is not your fault. You have failed at nothing. Your husband is indeed lucky to have you there with him every step of the way. I pray that you will be able to continue to enjoy the little things together as well as some of the big ones. God bless.
Mar. 11, 2010 2:01 pm
Yikes, Sparky! I wondered where you were lately! So glad that this has been discovered and now he is under doctor's care! I will keep you both in my prayers! Take care, trust in the docs, and try not to stress! I know, easier said than done, but you need to take care of the caretaker...YOU!
Mar. 11, 2010 2:37 pm
Ah, to love so deeply and completely.
Mar. 11, 2010 5:37 pm
JBOTT is right, Sparky. You cannot and must not call yourself a failure. Thirteen years of dedication sounds very much like success. What you are facing now may be a bump, a hurdle or a chasm but the strength you have given each other over the years will sustain each of you regardless. You can only fail if you do not try.
Mar. 12, 2010 12:10 am
I am so sorry that you are going through this. I do not know you, but, as I read the blog and felt all the love you have for your husband it brought me to tears. I am sending out the most positive thoughts to you.
Mar. 12, 2010 3:23 am
Thank you all for dropping by and lending your words of encouragement and support. I appreciate it, and you, more than words can express. Just for the record: I am NOT a failure, nor do I consider myself one: Now that I am a Cordon Bleu cook, the only facet of my life that I have "failed" at is 1. Saving Hubby from an Autoimmune disease that eats his body from the inside out (Lupus, for which the meds to manage it are worse than the symptoms in his case); and 2. Keeping him well and alive forever. These are lofty and unattainable goals. I know this rationally, but I still mourn. Especially since this kind of came out of the blue. Gotta run, but thanks, guys, for the positive energy and thoughts.
Mar. 12, 2010 3:23 am
j/k about the Cordon Bleu, but I no longer add ketchup to Beef Stroganoff! :D
Mar. 15, 2010 7:34 am
I'm sorry...I missed these blogs and didn't know your husband has health issues. I hope the weekend was are you?
Mar. 16, 2010 5:04 pm
OH, sparky... I didn't know... I am so sory you are having all of these health issues. Please remember that you need to take of yourself as well so you can help your husband. Know that there are prayers going up for you... peace and blessings to you both. Jan
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About Me
Live with my SoulMate Hubby (a.k.a. "The Most Wonderful Man In the World") in a teeny, tiny apartment with two psycho cats.
My favorite things to cook
Still in progress, but the list includes (from this site): Scandinavian Almond Bars; Serbian Beef and Vegetables; Scandinavian Almond Bars; Black Russian Bread; Scandinavian Almond Bars; Roasted Red Potatoes; Norwegian Meat Balls; Scandinavian Almond Bars; Norwegian Soft Cake; Milk-Braised Pork Loin!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Blot Kake (Norwegian Soft "Cake"); Sur Kal (Norwegian "Sour Cabbage"); Russian Peas; Scandinavian Almond Bars; Norwegian Meat Balls; (started by me) Milk-Braised Pork Loin
My cooking triumphs
My first loaf of bread (assisted by my very first breadmaker) Making the Scandinavian Almond Bars -- and they worked FIRST TIME Norwegian Meat Balls - HURRAY for me! Blot Kaker (even though it was a little tough due to using brown instead of white sugar) (Hokey Phinokey! I should upgrade my level as THE BEST EXPERT - WORLD AMAZING! Just because of this little cake)!! And, the recipe that boosted my rating from beginning to Intermediate: Milk-Braised Pork Loin!!!!!
My cooking tragedies
Never, EVER ... under any circumstance: 1. Add ketchup to Beef Stroganoff Hamburger Helper!! (We ordered Pizza that night.) 2. Pour onion soup mix from a bulk bag directly into what you are cooking ... *GAG* (Jam Sandwiches are a great replacement!) 3. When making Russian Peas, make sure they do NOT boil dry. That was Christmas Eve dinner (the Big Disaster) December 2009. 4. NOTE TO SELF: Although Hubby adds ketchup to EVERYTHING -- DO NOT add to anything while cooking (He's usually right!)-- Reminder: Easy Fettuccine Fiasco. *Sigh*
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