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.
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!
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.
No, it's bad because this saga is to be continued.
Well, it's good because this is...