A Haunting Conversation

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A Haunting Conversation

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June 2001 After a myriad of hospital stays due to pneumonia my husband Gregg is now being wheeled to an ICU ward, followed by a team of nurses who are at the ready to resuscitate him if needed. What had been deemed numerous times as pneumonia has now been determined to be Congestive Heart Failure. I wait outside the ward while they settle him in, with me is my older sister.

"Are you okay?"

I nod my head, but my lip trembles.

"What will you do...what if..?"

"It won't. Not this time."

"How do you know?"

"I just do..."

We sit quiet for awhile, I think, It won't be this time. I can feel it. This is not the last. There is a calmness, I just know.

"Do you ever think about what you will do? What will you do if Gregg ...you know..."

I nod my head, "Travel." I say after a moment's thought. "I want to get an old RV and just drive. I want to see everything. I just want to drive."

My sister sits quietly waiting for me to continue.

"But it won't be for a long time. Maybe when I am 50, yes, 50 sounds like a good time. Gregg will be 63, with all his health problems I cannot imagine him living to be 63, can you?"

"No," she shakes her head and gives me a weak smile.

...............................................................

hospital-207692_640So long ago, that conversation was, but still I remember every word of it. Fourteen years, and so many times I almost lost Gregg, but there was always a calm that assured me that this was not the time. Two cardiac arrests, several surgical procedures, all of them accompanied by a certainty that this was not the time.

Last year Gregg's cardiologist affirmed he was in his final stages of Congestive Heart Failure. A fall last year has added to his issues, he is wracked with pain every waking moment. Arthritis adds to this pain. He survived a minimal back procedure and scheduled for hip replacement next week. Congestion is a constant problem, his breathing is always labored. What the hell am I thinking allowing him to go through with this operation! But he is in constant pain. Severe pain! I no longer feel that calmness when I think about the surgery. Anxiety, panic attacks frequently keep me awake at night. And that conversation, it haunts me all the time. Almost like a premonition.

Silly, some may say. I am allowing myself to dwell on the negative.

Still, last week when Gregg was pronounced with pneumonia I remember that conversation. This morning when his defibrillator detected an dangerous arrhythmia, I remember that conversation. Even as my best friend and I plan my 50th birthday party in a few weeks that conversation replays in my head.

What a silly, irresponsible thing to say I scold myself as I shake it from my head. It was a ridiculous statement said so many years ago! It has bearing on what will happen today! Gregg will have his surgery on September 29th and he will be fine! On October 10th I will celebrate my 50th birthday and Gregg will be by my side! Then, on October 16th we will celebrate Gregg's 63rd, right? Right?!

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Denise

The stress around these surgeries is just awful. I completely agree with @janshriver--only your caring and love touches Gregg. \n\nI often think of the wonderful wisdom from Maya Angelou: :I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” You know so much more today about how to care for Gregg and what Gregg needs. Remember that. :)

jan

Thank you for taking the time to write about your concerns and fears. It's hard to admit it to yourself and then to others. In spite of anything you could mentally dream, imagine, cogitate, ruminate, or ponder, you have physically upheld and supported your husband all these years, and are still doing so. The things you imagine can't touch him with bad juju. Only your good love can touch him, and obviously it has for a long, long time. I hope the surgery provides the relief he so desperately needs, and you are able to celebrate many memories to come.