Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Grandpa's Big Day Part II (An Unexpected Day, but a Good Day!)

Whew. We just had one of the first major medical issues in our immediate family in quite awhile, but everything went well and we’re on the other side of it now. My grandpa underwent open heart surgery yesterday, after going to the hospital in Poplar Bluff with intermittent chest pains last week. They sent him on to Barnes in St. Louis for tests, and he was then scheduled him to have surgery on Monday, due to significant blockage in three of his four arteries. His condition was complicated by his diabetes and related issues with kidneys, so I think we were all a little concerned as to if everything would go smoothly or not.
I headed to St. Clair Sunday night after Jace and I came home from our Saturday night camping trip (details and pics soon to follow in another post) and then Tara, Thomas and I headed in to the hospital about 9AM Monday morning. The surgery was supposed to start at 8:30, but (as with most surgeries) there was a delay, and it didn’t start until 10:30. We passed the time with Grandmother, Mom and my cousin Krista and family in the Cardiac ICU waiting area. I know Grandmother was so scared, but she really did well – she told us later that we all kept her mind off of things, and helped her to relax. (I think Tara will agree that Thomas’ crazy distorted photos of us on his iPad were the best part of the afternoon… we were all so slap-happy at that point, we were about ready to fall out of our chairs!)

The surgeon came to speak with us about 2pm and told us that the surgery was finished, and all went as hoped and planned. After that it was just a waiting game to get Grandpa out of the OR and into the Cardiac ICU unit. However, there was a wait for an open bed in the unit, so he wasn’t transitioned there until after 6pm. We were finally able to briefly see him at that point, and then said our goodbyes for the evening. I was amazed to hear that he would start physical therapy today (and we’ve had an update from Grandmother already, and he has!) and get up and going ASAP.

I know Grandpa is a very determined person (i.e. see my post from two weeks ago about Highway 67 and Tom Lawson Day!), and he will do everything he needs to in order to get back into good health. It was very touching yesterday to hear Grandmother talk about him after we had the “all ok” from the surgeon… I could see a visible difference in her demeanor – the color was back in her face, and the tension had left her body… but what she said was the best, and I thought about it as I drove home early this morning… “I just didn’t know what I would do if I lost him… he isn’t just my husband and my lover, he is my best friend. I would be lost without him!”

I know that is what most people would say about their spouse in a situation like this. But truly, this is one couple that truly IS that way. They are so close, and they have one of the best marriages that I know, and are very, very much the best of friends.

So it was a huge relief to her and to all of us (those in the family that could be there and those who were anxiously awaiting the calls and texts throughout the day) to know that Grandpa came through with flying colors and will be on the road to recovery.

I stayed in St. Clair last night and enjoyed dinner out with Dad; then got up at 5AM this morning and headed home to Springfield and back to work. I am so glad that I was able to make the trip, and be there with Grandmother for the day. And the trip was good for me as well – I didn’t mind the six hours of driving over two days. The trip gave me time to just decompress and think, and (of course) listen to music.  A couple of months ago my playlist I had made and was listening to was titled “GONE” … all the songs that reminded me of Dave, and songs about break-ups that you listen to when you’re grieving. But I have to say that I’m making the transition… and the songs that are on my “frequently played” list now are different… they’re about me, about moving on and getting better, getting right with myself. I will have to actually make a playlist tonight when I get home, and the title will be “HOPE”.... that's the theme of the songs that have been on my playlist lately.

One of my favorite songs that I’ve been listening to over and over is “Details in the Fabric” by Jason Mraz:

Calm down
Deep breaths
And get yourself dressed instead
Of running around
And pulling on your threads
And breaking yourself up

If it's a broken part, replace it
If it's a broken arm, then brace it
If it's a broken heart, then face it

And hold your own
Know your name
And go your own way
Hold your own
Know your name
And go your own way
And everything will be fine

Hang on
Help is on the way
And stay strong
I'm doing everything

Hold your own
Know your name
And go your own way
Hold your own
Know your name
And go your own way

And everything, everything will be fine…

Are the details in the fabric

Are the things that make you panic
Are your thoughts results of static cling?
Are the things that make you blow
No reason, go on and scream
If you're shocked it's just the fault
Of faulty manufacturing.

Are the details in the fabric (Hold your own, know your name)
Are the things that make you panic
Are your thoughts results of static cling? (Go your own way)
Are the details in the fabric (Hold your own, know your name)
Are the things that make you panic (Go your own way)
Is it Mother Nature's sewing machine?

Are the things that make you blow (Hold your own, know your name)
No reason go on and scream
If you're shocked it's just the fault (Go your own way)
Of faulty manufacturing

Everything will be fine
Everything in no time at all
Hearts will hold

The song starts and ends with a voicemail recording, apparently one of Mraz's friends who is going through a breakup, and is very distraught in his phone message at the beginning of the song.  When he leaves a second message at the end of the song, he has had a chance to calm down.  He basically says that life is still hard, but you just do what you can, and you get through it (warning: if you listen to the song you will find his language is much more colorful than what I'm stating here, but this is the gist of it!)

I have listened to this song so many, many times over the past month...  it just helps remind me that I WILL be okay, that life will be okay, that getting through all of this is just a part of it.  Once the coffee kicked in at 5:30 AM this morning, I spent my three hour drive in a great mood, listening to my iPod and just thinking about all of the positive things in my life - the fact that I have an awesome family, that we have our health and all that God has given us, and that I have Jace and so many, many wonderful friends in my life.  I know I will still have difficult days - sometimes I think I'm doing fine and then something just reminds me of Dave, and it is hard.  But it is getting easier, each day.

1 comment:

Lucas said...

I'm so proud of you Nancy. Heartache is really hard but facing it and feeling your feelings is the best way through it. You have a wonderful attitude and I know 100% that you will be better than just fine in time, you will be flourishing.

Thoughts and prayers with your family as your grandpa recovers.

Hugs. Lu