Sunday, January 3, 2016

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Friday, August 7, 2015

Ending rehab

   Today I finished 12 weeks of cardiac rehab. Three times a week I would leave the house at 7:40am to make my 8:15 appointment. Each morning during the drive I would ask God to please bless my work-out and bring healing to my physical heart and my spiritual heart. He did both.
    When I started rehab in May I was not too happy about going. The first day I got to the center a little early so I walked to the other side of the building to use the ladies room. I really just needed a moment to gather my thoughts and prepare myself for what was coming. I did not want to go in there. Again, I asked God to heal my heart and just help me get through this. This became my routine, I started every session the same way. At first I did it to calm down, eventually it became a time to set my mind on healing and restoration.
      Even though my doctor insisted and everyone said it would be good for me, I did not want to go to rehab. It was just another reminder of what had happened to me. I was tired of talking about it and even more tired of thinking about it. I just wanted to pretend it ever happened. I didn't want to answer questions or compare treatments or be in a room filled with people who were "recovering" from anything. I dreaded going for the first two weeks. I tried to think of reasons I couldn't go, but I did go, never missing except when I went out of town and once when the building lost power. I would get on the treadmill and walk and walk and walk. Then work my arms. That machine is called a Windjammer. Round and round. Each machine has a picture of the muscles you work during that particular work-out. I started imagining my muscles getting stronger and healthier. I liked that. It felt good. I even tried a rowing machine a couple times. Sometimes it was hard, really hard. Often I had to come home and take a short nap. And I was always hungry when I left. I started keeping grapes and bananas in the car for the ride home. And water. I drank a lot of water!
    I started rehab kicking and screaming (at least in my head) but ended with a different view. Rehab became my way of fighting back. My heart attack took a lot from me, mostly mental, but still a lot. I almost let it defeat me, instead it changed me. I am not the same. I think I am stronger now, both physically and emotionally. Sometimes I have a hard time breathing, I get tired more often. I take a lot of pills every day. I don't think any of that will change. However, I am determined to not let it take anything else from me. 

   Several people have asked me if it was a wake-up call. I tell them yes, God did wake me up that night. And He spared my life. I was not afraid that night and I am not afraid now. I am excited to see what He has planned for my future. I am a survivor.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A bus ride

When I was a little girl I loved to take the bus with my grandma. Catching the bus at the corner usually meant a trip to the store. 

The ride itself was an adventure. It started with putting the fare into the box. Most days I could drop the coins in and watch them travel down and hear the clank clank of their journey.

But some days we had to get change!

I can remember wanting to be a bus driver so I too could push the little levers  and feel the coins drop into my hand.

The people on the bus were so interesting. Some got off the bus at the hospital, nurses, patients and visitors. I wondered what they would be doing while I was shopping with my grandma. The ladies would smile at us. I just knew they were happy for me and grandma out on our day trip. Some of the people would get off the bus with us when we got to our corner. We would stand up half a block before our destination, letting the driver know we wanted to get off.  Walking and holding on to the seats as we made our way to the front while the driver slowed down to bring us to our stop.  Then holding the metal bar and stepping down two steps and jumping off the bottom step. We were there!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Where is Dr. Carter?

   Before March 10, most of what I knew about heart attacks came from television. Both my parents have had several heart attacks but none that had required a lengthy hospital stay. Most of the time Mom discovered she had an attack hours or days later. She would complain of flu-like symptoms or general fatigue. Not much chest pain or shortness of breath. I don't know what my Dad's symptoms were, we saw him after everything was over.
     I had no doubt I was having a heart attack when it started but it was nothing like I would have thought. Numerous episodes of E.R. showed patients quickly being wheeled in, paramedics kneeling over them pounding on their chests. IV's were started, meds administered and Dr. Carter saved the day, all in under 45 minutes.
     When I woke up that morning I had pain like I have never experienced. My wrists hurt, my back hurt and my legs ached. It felt as if someone had placed a board wrist to wrist and then parked a truck on the board. The pain was terrible, but worse, I could not breath. Pain made sense. Bad pain made sense. But why couldn't I breath? Even later, after they put the oxygen mask on me I still couldn't breath. What was happening?
      The ride to the hospital went quick. One paramedic sat to my left bouncing all over the bench. He had forgotten to buckle himself in. I know because the fireman yelled at him. The fireman on my right was talking on the phone the entire ride. Talking, not giving me anything for my pain, talking. Maybe you should hang up and pay attention to me! No pulse, bp 52 over ? Ok, but can you at least move over, your coat keeps stabbing me in the eye. Hey! I still cannot breath and the pain hasn't stopped. Where are the drugs?!
     Once we arrived at the hospital I was finally wheeled down the hallway. Good. There is always a hallway. I could hear Jim's voice but couldn't make out what he was saying. We stopped once, briefly. I didn't see anyone but the fireman but I could hear people talking. I knew they were talking about me. We started moving again and I was now in a very crowded room. More lights, more noise, more people. Still heavy pain in my chest, still unable to breath. Why didn't they make the pain stop?! I remember being lifted off the gurney onto another hard cold surface. The tall, very handsome dark man was talking to me, asking all kinds of questions. Really! You want me to answer you, I CAN"T BREATH! I just looked at him. You look very nice but could you please stop talking and help me. Next thing I knew someone asked me to lift up so they could take off my pajama bottoms. I think someone cut off my nightgown because  I was being covered with a very narrow sheet. I was cold.
    People were talking and moving all around me. I think the fireman was still in the room. Maybe it was someone else with a crew cut. I'm not sure. The tall man told me he was finally going to give me morphine for the pain. Thank you. Then he started rubbing my shin. I remember thinking that was a kind thing to do. My chest still hurt and I just wanted air. Oh, stinging in my thigh. Was this what I had been waiting for? More rubbing on my shin. It tickled. Still having that darn pain in my chest.  Enough is enough. Dr. Carter when are you going to make it stop?! Let's change the channel. I think I'll rest now.