January 6, 2022

January 6, 2022

While putting the date in up there, I just had a major disconnect of “how did all of this happen in the same year that it currently is right now” – this year has been so fast, and so slow, I feel like I have mental whiplash. Every single day of this was a year long, it feels like. Even the easy days. But this? This was a hard day.

Well, feelings are strange
Especially when they come true
I had a feeling that you’d be leaving soon
So I tried to rearrange all my emotions
But it seems the same, no matter what I do

And blue umbrella, rest upon my shoulder
And hide the pain
While the rain makes up my mind
Well, my feet are wet
From thinking this thing over
And it’s been so long
Since I felt the warm sunshine

First, my notes to family.

I can’t remember if I said at the end of the day yesterday or not, but they couldn’t get Tim into the cath lab yesterday – he won another trip in the MRI machine as a consolation prize. But we got here about half an hour ago or so, and they should be by (allegedly) within the next 10-15 minutes to take him for the heart cath. Then the plan is to just sit here and watch him sleep for the rest of the day, and hopefully (!!!) valve replacement surgery tomorrow.

OK; did I already say that he couldn’t get into the cath lab yesterday? They wanted to give him another MRI first, and they just got back with us with the results of that. It’s not great news, but it’s not the worst news, either. It looks like, since the coil surgery the day before yesterday, he’s had two more strokes. Like the original ones he had on the 18th, these were in the left front and right occipital/parietal area. Unlike the original ones, that were clots, these are bleeds, so that’s a bit different. The attending on his stroke team doesn’t really want to do the cath, if he’s having bleeders, because of heparin (although they’ve stopped that again) but the cath people have said he can get that surgery without heparin. However, the valve replacement surgery can absolutely not have heparin with bleeders, so she’s going to get with the cardiology team by this afternoon and figure out what our options/times are like (if we have to push back the surgery, which he needs so the risk of stroke will be less, but he can’t have if he’s having strokes… what a puzzle!). They may have to push that back until early next week. But we should know more by this evening. Sigh. I’m sorry it’s not better news. He’s still aware, when he is awake – he can give thumbs up and wiggle his toes, and he wants to hold my hand a lot and rub my hand with this thumb. But he’s not answering questions, so speech may have been affected. Again, sigh. Again, I’m sorry this isn’t better news. But it’s not the worst news, the doctors still want to do the same things they wanted to do, it just might take an extra few days. Nothing good comes fast or easy?

Just give me one good reason
And I promise I won’t ask you any more
Just give me one extra season
So I can figure out the other four

Post-cath update time! Good news here; he went through the heart cath with flying colors. They didn’t have to give him any heavy anesthesia, so while he has to lay flat for about six hours after this, he won’t be groggy (well, groggier than he is right now just in general). The doctor hasn’t called or been up yet, but the nurse who came up with him said Tim did really well. His heart looks great, there are no blockages or problems with the heart that will interfere with the valve replacement surgery when they do it. The nurse seemed to think it would still be tomorrow, but I won’t get excited until the doctor comes in. We’ll update again when they get back with us about that… for now, it’s pretty much what I thought, just… watch Tim sleep. Oh! And Gingerbread Nurse was walking past, and stopped in to give me a hug. She’s not Tim’s nurse today, but she saw me and wanted to say hi. How sweet is that?

And in news not on Facebook yet… Because going on twelve days of my husband in the ICU just isn’t enough, I also looked at one of our older cats last night and thought “fuck.” This morning I had to choose between seeing if there was an opening at the vet for my cat … or … going in to be with my husband who had another two strokes yesterday, and was getting a heart cath this morning. I was messaging my friends Denise and Tarrant about how I just wanted to throw up in my mask, I felt so sick about having to choose, and maybe leaving my cat to die alone at home (well, as alone with six other cats as one can be) and … Denise and Tarrant, who have keys to my house and use the same vet as I do, went to my house, got my cat, took her to the vet, and I gave permission over the phone for Serenity to be euthanized. Obvs I’m not telling Tim this. Sigh.

Oh! Oh! I totally forgot about the electrodes! How could I forget about that? He had to wear them for … two days? They wanted to track brain activity, since there weren’t any outward signs of when he was having strokes. It’s not like a TV heart attack or something, where someone grabs their arm and chest dramatically and falls to the floor… I mean, remember my post from a couple of weeks ago, about him having a stroke while I was turning around to get him dinner? Yeah. No signs. So they stuck a bunch of electrodes on him to watch his brain wave patterns, to see if he was still having more. And the had to secure them on, because they had to stay on for a couple of days, so he sort of had this look for a bit that makes you think he had his head shaved for brain surgery or something… nope. That’s all just that stretchy bandage stuff, like you put on a sprained ankle or something. Nothing sticky, nothing uncomfortable, it was all this light, open-weave bandage stuff that sticks to itself but stays in place. Just a few pieces of tape here and there to secure things because he kept moving his head, and yawning, and things would get knocked loose.

Well daytime makes me wonder why you left me
And nighttime makes me wonder what I said
‘Next time’ are the words I’d like to plan on
But ‘last time’ was the only thing you said

And blue umbrella, rest upon my shoulder
And hide the pain
While the rain makes up my mind
Well, my feet are wet
From thinking this thing over
And it’s been so long
Since I felt the warm sunshine

Anyway. Serenity. Tim’s cat. I didn’t tell him. As in, not in the next two and a half months. At first I didn’t tell him because he was going into surgery in a few days and I didn’t want to bother him… and after the surgery, well, things just fell apart too quickly and then … why bother, there wasn’t any point. By then I suspected he might not be coming home, so what was the point? I did tell Facebook, the next morning, though, and here’s that post –

Good morning, loves, early post this morning before we go into the hospital, so I can talk about a couple of things that happened yesterday that I didn’t have time/mental bandwidth for, before we go in today and start all over again.

I think I mentioned yesterday that Tim had another couple of small strokes; these seem to be primarily affecting his speech center, but he can still move all four limbs, give us thumbs up, point to me when we ask “who’s your favorite wife”, things like that. However, because of the strokes, which are bleeding strokes, not clot strokes, they want to hold off on the heart valve replacement surgery a few more days. Well, they don’t WANT to – the longer they hold off, the more risk of these small strokes continuing to happen. But they have to, because of the risk of bleeding. So as of right now, he’ll get another MRI on Sunday night, with the idea of valve replacement surgery on Monday.

Meanwhile, here’s something I just didn’t have it in me to talk about yesterday. I noticed when Linda and I got home the night before last, that Serenity, AKA “That Poor Man’s Cat,” AKA “The Hallway Pooper”, was looking rough. Really rough. If you’ve had enough cats, and been through this enough… you know what that last 24-48 hours looks like for a cat. But what could I do? I told Linda that if she woke up to an expired cat in the house, I was very sorry, but at this point I’m really having to triage all this drama, and I’m going to feel bad if I don’t get help for the cat but I’m going to feel bad if I am relieved that the Hallway Pooper becomes unalive, but I’m also not going to choose waiting to see if the vet can see me at some nebulous point in the day over going and sitting by my husband’s side on the day he’s getting a heart catheterization. So I went to bed, and in the morning I snuggled Serenity and I told her she’d been the best kitty (other than the Hallway Pooping, which I kindly didn’t mention) and if she had to go, I understood, and she was loved. Then Linda and I went to the hospital.

Later I was texting with Denise and Tarrant, and telling them how I just felt like barfing into my mask, because of how upset I was at all of this happening at once, the husband, the cat, choosing, feeling like an asshole for choosing, knowing I shouldn’t feel like an asshole for choosing, but feeling very much like that train engineer who can choose to run over nine people or run over a baby. And do you know what they did? Do you know what these amazing, caring, generous women who give others so much of their time and their hearts did for me? They have a key to my house, and they use the same vet, so they went to my house and took Serenity to the vet for me, where I was able to call the vet and give verbal permission over the phone for Denise and Tarrant to make any sort of health care choices for Serenity, up to and including euthanasia. Which is the choice that happened, given her health. And then these women brought Serenity home, and buried her for me.

I tell you what, I’m a mouthy, fierce bitch who deserves a lot of what comes at me but I don’t know what I did in this life to deserve such loving friends, such people in my life who I feel sheltered by and loved by, such people who see me on my worst day, and still reach out to help me. I’m so grateful for them that I’m almost knocked silent — I just can’t find the words to thank them.

Love the people you have, y’all. Love them, tell them you love them, but also show them with everything that you have, that you love them.

Another post later, after we get to the hospital today.

x o x o y’all.

Just give me one good reason
And I promise I won’t ask you any more
Just give me one extra season
So I can figure out the other four

lyrics by John Prine
Blue Umbrella

A reminder, if you’re interested in the music, that all of the songs I’m putting here, I’m adding into a playlist on Spotify. I don’t believe you have to have a Spotify account to listen to it (if you want The Sads), but you’ll probably get ads if you don’t have a subscription. If you’re interested, you can find that playlist here.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous post January 5, 2022
Next post January 7, 2022