My Novels

Monday, February 28, 2005

I suppose we all have times in our lives that are dramatic, overwhelming, changing the way we see someone.

I remember the first time I ever saw my paternal grandfather in the hospital, after his first minor stroke. It was the first time I'd ever realized that he was just a mere mortal, a human being with health issues, frailty, that he could, indeed, die. Life was never quite the same again, because he was more a father to me than my own father. He was the strong male figure in my life, and to know that he might perish (even though I was in my 20s, married and fairly secure), it was an emotionally painful experience.

Later, I experienced almost the same pain when my paternal grandmother had to go into the nursing home. I remember bringing her a few things she wanted around 8:00 that first night; the lights in the hallway were dim and shadowy, making me feel nervous, uneasy. When I looked into my grandmother's room, she was asleep...and a low lamplight beside her bed outlined her almost skeletal frame beneath the covers. It was a terrible shock, for I'd not realized how emaciated she'd become during the past months, even moreso while in the hospital with a broken hip. I wanted to weep, right then and there, and I remember biting my lip to keep from wailing, trying to banish her frail image. For I knew in that moment that she would not be long for the world, that I would lose the most important person in my life. She was more a mother to me than my own mother, she was my strength, my compass for moral behavior...and I found it difficult to imagine life without her in it.

Within a couple years I did lose her, and my grandfather had already been dead several years by then. Those profound moments of realization about both their frailty helped me begin to prepare emotionally for their eventual loss, though it was also difficult when those events happened. Death is never easy to accept, but sometimes one is more prepared. Such was not the case with my father's untimely death, and the shock of that took years and years of adjustment.

At any rate, this entry is about those profound moments when one realizes that life has changed, and it can never be quite the way it always had been previous to an event. I'm referring to DH's heart attack, of course, though it has been a gradual realization for me, instead of an instant, split-second understanding.

DH was doing well -- until this weekend. In the past couple of days he's complained about a pain in the calf of his leg, almost a cramp and stiffness. At first I didn't think it was important, nor did he. But then I recalled I'd read something about muscular side-effects while taking Lipitor. I looked it up again, and we both agree he is probably having one of the serious side-effects -- muscular inflammation, i.e. stiffness, pain, etc. in muscles. According to the drug information, the doctor should be notified and he should stop taking the drug. And never take any of that class of drugs. Though he's been incredibly conscientious about eating right, and I have prepared ONLY meals that strictly follow a low-fat, low-sodium diet...the Lipitor must be helping lower his cholesterol too. Neither of us knows if diet and exercise alone will control the cholesterol (with help maybe from Omega-3 Fish Oil, recommended by his cardiologist). But tomorrow he IS going to phone the cardiologist and see what she recommends about Lipitor, which I am fairly certain she will stop -- and order tests.

After DH came home from the hospital, and a short time of "recuperation/rest" he resumed his normal activities. He's always been active, and especially around this place--the horses to care for, outside tasks, etc. After his first cardiologist checkup, he was told to return to work as well. So life soon returned to normal for us. But today's discovery about the muscular problem has made me aware that life is NOT going to ever be the same.

In the first place, DH is on several medications that can either be life-saving, or have murderous side-effects. I sometimes think the "cure" is worse than the "disease" having been on the bad end of medication side-effects in the past myself.

What I have come to realize is that our relationship/marriage is about to change forever. While DH has always been the healthy, strong one, and I've been the sickly, weak one...our roles are slowly reversing. The initial shock and fear during and immediately after his heart attack and hospital stay is giving way to grudging acceptance that life has indeed changed. Oddly enough, I am starting to feel stronger though, realizing that I CAN cope, no matter what. I always thought I could NOT cope with such a situation, but I have already faced and conquered a devastating trauma -- when he had the heart attack and stent procedure. From surviving that, I learned that I can cope, though it is not easy. Slowly I'm beginning to feel the kind of steely strength that helped me cope and survive as a child of an alcoholic, as the eldest who always held everything together and was strong for my younger siblings.

I am, quite truthfully, a survivor. And I know I'll prevail, whatever the difficult situation.

Otherwise here, the roofers still haven't completed the metal roof. But they have only a small section to finish, and then it should be done. It truly is the crowning touch and has made the house look huge, larger than it did with a gray-shingle roof. I will be so glad when this last thing is done, and we will have silence instead of the constant noise of roofers overhead.

DH got a bargain in a small wooden deck/steps from someone, and moved those on his flatbed trailer Saturday. We will soon put it at the rear of the house, attached to where the back steps are now. That will give us a small deck at the rear, instead of just those steep steps.

There will always be small and large projects going on around here, whether new additions or just basic maintenance. Even if we aren't able to do these tasks, we'll hire others. That is just a given when you own a house and property.

I am reading an excellent novel, "An Act of Love" by Nancy Thayer. I love her writing, and had never read this novel. I can hardly put it down, which is something I rarely say about a novel unless it is true.

With that, I'll end this entry. I've written it on the QuickPad and will post it tomorrow morning.


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