At dinner Tuesday evening I commented to Terry how much better he was looking, talking, thinking, acting. His overall improvement, two weeks out from his open-heart surgery, was very good. He has been walking around the block twice a day, and on Monday had even walked a pathway at a neighborhood park after getting his blood test. We were feeling pretty confident.
After I cleared the dinner dishes, Terry remarked that he again had a pain in his right arm. He had it the day before but thought it was muscle pain from overdoing. But now, he wondered. We headed to the hospital’s emergency room.
Everyone, it seemed, had picked that Tuesday evening to head to the ER. The place was packed, so much so that family was not allowed in the care unit, but rather had to wait in the very crowded waiting room. Due to Terry’s recent heart surgery, he was admitted into the care unit immediately for blood test and ekg. Then sent back out to wait with me until they had an available bed. We had arrived at 6 pm.
I took a walk at 11 pm and checked at the security desk when I came back in. Terry was still waiting, but had been moved to another area, behind the scenes. I checked at 2 am, again after another walk outside. Terry was in a bed and I was sent back to sit with him. The doctor was with him when I came in.
All the tests looked good, but one more ekg needed to be done before they would allow him to leave. There was an elevated protein in his blood that the heart was producing, but that was a byproduct of surgery. The heart was working to heal itself, as it should be. The CT scan of the arm showed good blood flow and the ekg showed good heart work. The staff reassured us, though, that we had made the right call, coming to the ER as soon as we did. One never knows until it’s checked out, Even the ER physician said he was unsure of what they would find when they first got started.
It was a long night. We were discharged about 3:40 am and home by 4. We took showers and changed clothing before crawling into bed around 5 am. I was so exhausted that I fell right to sleep and slept until 9:30. I did awake long enough at 7:30 to call Columbia to let them know I would not be coming in this week at all and to let the various teachers whose classes I read to know. In five years, this is my second absence. In both cases, Terry was the cause.
I’m so thankful I have been healthy enough to go every week and now to take care of Terry. But, and it’s a big but, I am seeing that I do not have the stamina I had a few years ago. There was a time I could have done that all-nighter, gone home, slept a couple of hours, and gotten right back into my routine. It was a wakeup call to me that those days are over. I have to be more careful with my activities and conserve energy.