In addition, I'm a bit emotionally drained. At first we only had a delay yesterday, so I thought my students would have a substitute, while I did the waiting room vigil for Auntie G-Lou's surgery. I had no plans, since we hadn't been in school since Friday. I waited till six a.m. to be sure we weren't going to cancel, then ran to school to get my ducks in a row in the dark, blowing snow. The last thing I did was open my mail to print the sub notes I had made at home the night before, and there was the notice of cancellation. Oh well.
I headed down the hill to the hospital, but got a phone call half way there that my sister was having another major heart attack. I did get there in time to give her a squeeze before they moved her to surgery. She was in a lot of pain, so that surgery wasn't going to come a minute too soon.
I have a need to tell this story, because it makes me wonder how many of us go about our daily business and don't realize the impact our words and actions have on others. Even when we have no idea, or intent to inflict pain on someone. I'm writing this to myself as much as anyone.
So, the nurse, a handsome young guy, tells us as they are wheeling her to surgery, "It will be four to six hours. The doctor will come to tell you how things went after the surgery(exactly how it went down with Kaye, walked right to us in scrubs), but remember (with much emphasis), it will still be two hours before she's back in the room." Which I took to mean, "Do not harass me about why she isn't back in the room for you to look at fifteen minutes after surgery, I'm busy." Yeah, I know the drill, sadly, this ain't my first surgery rodeo.
At about 7:30 he comes to the waiting room to say they are in (her chest), that heart rhythm is still off.
At 10:30 he comes to say they are on the last graft, it should be an hour and a half, the surgeon will speak to us, and.."Remember, she will not be back to her room for up to two hours following the surgery."
Yes, we got that the first time.
So, at 11:30 I start watching for that pot to boil, 12- nothing, 12:30 nothing, 1:00, we're all now on the edge of our chairs. I had already decided, since both of her daughters were present, that I was not going back to see her after surgery. I already have too many ICU/CCU horrible scenarios in my mind and did not feel the need to add to my library. And while with all your heart you are wishing to see the smiling face of a successful surgeon, you are also trying to prepare yourself for the worst. Not one single time from when they wheeled her way from us till completion did we call, or seek out, or bother Mr. Not so Friendly Nurse Man in any way.
So, how did it go down? - Mr.Nurse, not the surgeon, walks solemnly in the waiting room and says, "I need you to come with me." "Take all your things, they aren't safe here." Aunt SuZQ says, "We'll stay with the stuff and let the girls go (Auntie G-Lou's kids)." That , ahem, I really want to call him a very ugly name, but will refrain, nurse says, "No, I want everyone present." Then turns and heads to the CCU. And we know she is either most sincerely dead, brain dead, or some other horror. So I'm trying to wrap my mind around this, my poor little niece is already doing that quiet sobbing and he walks us, not to a conference room, where I expect to be taken, but to her room and there she is, as alive as you or I. It took me a full minute to realize she wasn't dead, as she was way pale and not moving a muscle. Ughhhhh. As soon as it registered in my brain that she wasn't dead and my head stopped being fuzzy cotton and his words were reaching my ear, I realized she was in just about as good a shape as anyone could hope to be after two major heart attacks and open heart surgery. Thank you Jesus!
I picked up my bag, and walked right back to the waiting room and collapsed in a chair, at which point someone walked up, big smile and asked me if I belonged to G-Lou. It was, in fact, the surgeon, who was not in scrubs, but appeared to be ready to head out the door, elated to tell that though things started rough, his exact words, "All's well that ends well."
Thankfully, before making a big scene and a total fool of my hysterical self, I tried to process what had happened. My best guess, Mr. Serious Nurse Man falsely assumed that protocol was followed, we had already seen the surgeon, and had no idea we weren't aware of the successful surgery. I still believe he could have at least smiled at us, or said, "She's back in her room, I will take you back for a minute."
Back to the whole paying attention to where you are and what you say. You may, or may not know, that I think it is my responsibilty to feed the world, so I went packing two pans of my fairly famous warm cinnamon rolls through the blowing snow that morning. One pan for the nursing staff and one pan for the waiting family. In our waiting time, it was apparent there was another family in distress. A woman, I'll say fortyish and her mama. I imagined her Daddy was back there somewhere. When she walked by, I offered her a roll. She declined but sat to share her story. It wasn't her Daddy, but her husband and it did not look good. They were not able to reduce the sedative from surgery without sending his blood pressure through the roof. Oy Vey. I was able to say I understood that heartache, as I was just there with my brother a few short weeks ago. She took a deep breath and hesitantly asked what happened to him. It was my joy to share that he was was good, really good, driving and taking care of himself. She sobbed.
So, I need to pay more attention to how my actions affect others and I would rather be guilty of doing good, then causing more stress.
Okay, happy thoughts.
Ol' Mother Hubbard discovered that you could enjoy a candlelight Valentine dinner at our local White Castle and asked if we'd join them for a romantic evening. Too fun. White Castle was likely my very first dining out experience as a child and Handy Man and I still stop there once or twice a year. So, we dressed for the part and it was a big time. I made big, tacky, glittery corsages for the girls and a boutineree for the guys.
Now you know it's special when I buy new make-up! That only happens about every three to five years. I'm not so big on make-up, but this was a hot Valentine date, don't ya know? So my glasses, blouse and glasses had to all match up. I wore earrings- this was serious business now.
It turned out that a little lovey of mine is taking swim lessons and was coming to spend the night so he could go to the swim meet to see his cousins swim the next day. His mama dropped him off to me at White Castle. He thought this new experience was fine dining at it's best.
Ol' Mother Hubbard did not think my pictures showed her best side and insisted they never find their way to this space. Hence, the reason you see an unusual number of piks of me, taken by her. I'm just not going to be fussy about my fat old face today!
Stay warm ya'll. I have to move from in front of this heater and do something productive.