We Are Never Alone

So my husband’s surgery did not go as well as originally planned. Hours after his condition seemed incredibly improved his heart rate and blood pressure began to rapidly fall. A team of doctors and nurses rushed him back to the Cath Lab to see what was happening. They found  a micro leak in the artery that they had just repaired. Blood was escaping from his heart into his chest calling for an immediate repair. It was not a Code Blue but it might well have been one. Suddenly everything looked dark and dangerous as his heart struggle to keep operating properly. I few hours later he was stabilized but stunned that his prognosis had so suddenly changed. 

I suppose that I had spoken too soon about the miracle of unblocking his main artery. It was not the ordinary everyday kind of fix that it had seemed to be and what had happened was not unexpected by his doctors. The human heart is complex in both physiology and emotion. Joy can be beaten down by unforeseen events in matters of health and love. A broken heart can mend but it takes time and patience to get there regardless of whether the goal is literal or physical. 

I sit writing this suddenly ever more aware of suddenly getting bad news about a loved one. It happens all of the time, all around me in this big city where I sit gazing at a township of medical wonder. I listen to the beeping of machines monitoring my husband as he sleeps. It is both restful and terrifying all at once. I think of all of the vigils that I and my friends and family have endured. The worry of it is normal. The prayer and wishing and hoping are part of the process. All the while I see dedicated individuals moving in and out of my husband’s room offering their medical skill and their kindness. 

There are real heroes in our midst and they do not fly through the sky or leap tall buildings. They work tirelessly day after day without laurels. They are the sweet woman who cleans and mops the room to keep it sterile. They are the nurses who insert IVs with one stick that does not hurt. They are doctors whose specialities run the gamut. They work long days rarely stopping, moving from one crisis to another, almost automatically knowing what to do. They prop up me and my husband when we become tired and anxious. They have to tell us uncomfortable truths even knowing that their comments may draw anxious anger. 

I don’t know what the future will bring nor do any of us on any given day. This experience has shown me once again how much we must value each person in our lives. We really don’t know when they will suddenly be taken from us. Even the threat of such a thing is a harrowing experience that we have to face many times in the course of our lives. Practice does not seem to help us react better with each successive time, for the truth is that it is always difficult to watch another person struggling to stay alive. 

My husband is receiving state of the art care. For that I feel so fortunate. He is progressing and will probably get better, but I think of those who don’t come back from a serious health incident or who live in medical deserts without world class doctors and nurses. Sadly there is great inequity when it comes to medical care across the world. For that reason, those who are able come from all parts of the globe for the specialists who are working to patch my husband back together right now. 

This has been a sobering experience as shocking as hearing that my mother had terminal lung cancer or learning that my father had died in a car accident. Nobody wants to hear that doctors had to pound on a loved one’s chest to keep him alive, but we are grateful when there is someone around to do the job. Some people are not that fortunate and I can now imagine how harrowing that must be. 

As I sit here my husband is only peeking out of the woods. He may fall back in at any moment, taking one step forward and two back. The coming days will require patience and vigilance from everyone. The experience has not been without incident and both my husband and I are shaken and reminded of just how fragile our hold on life actually is. 

On the other hand, the outpouring of loving support from family, friends and even strangers has been incredible. I am reminded again and again that humans are essentially kind. It is in our natures to share and to protect each other. For every bad thing someone does there are millions of good actions resounding in contrast all over the world. It’s something we need to remember more often. We are never alone.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s