Weeks ago, when I decided to quit my job and follow my intuition (and a still small voice) into the unknown, I imagined that I would awake after my last day of work relieved and refreshed. Instead, I woke up feeling groggy and disoriented with 36 hours to plan and prepare for a bridal shower, three weeks to get a wedding under control, and two kids moving in and out of my house. When the phone rang, I had not yet seen the bottom of my first cup of coffee.
My husband is not like many husbands I know. He is the one in our family who schedules his annual physicals, always makes sure to do the follow-up testing, and takes his medication regularly. Me, not so much. So, when his check up turned into a CT scan, I wasn’t really concerned. He’s had MRIs, CT scans, and lots of other kinds of tests done. I think of it as research, not really risk. Then, our family doctor called to let him know that her concern about his kidney was unfounded, but that the scan showed a blockage in his lower aorta and he needed to schedule to see a vascular surgeon.
Against my better judgement, we immediately reviewed a half a dozen youtube videos showing the most likely procedure. The thought of the catheter snaking its way through my dear man’s arteries was more than enough for one day. Fresh tears dripped from my chin as I considered the reality of this process.
Making appointments, scheduling life, and moving forward has been a challenge this week. In between consultations with our nurse friends, my west coast doctor, and google we managed to get his appointment moved to next week. We also decided to try and get into Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. We live near the best health care in the world, why not give it a shot.
To our surprise, the call to BWH opened a door to be seen the very next day. Yesterday, we drove into the city for an 8am appointment. We held our breath to hear what the doctor would say. He sat with us and talked about options. He drew us a picture of the area affected. He wants more information to make the best decision. He will schedule more testing. He is confident that there are good options for Keith and better quality of life ahead. We are holding on to his confidence because it all seems so out of control at the moment.
Suddenly, all of the daily needs of my family and life seem smaller. I think in some ways we are both numb and a bit in shock. Today, we are going to work on wedding projects and keep moving forward. Tomorrow, we will do the same. But in the process, I am feeling a bit fragile and quite weary. Spikes of panic occasionally grab at me. I am combatting them with gratitude. I have so much to be grateful for, and I am naming every blessing today. The effect is almost immediate, even if it must be reapplied several times in an hour.
We are committing to time together. We are committing to taking care of each other and our family. We are committing to letting our people love us. We are committing our lives to the One who holds us together… And for today, I am holding my own.