Sunday, April 30, 2017

One Small Clue

That's all I've got, Reader Dear, to indicate where I might have slipped off to during my vacation from real life!  To set the stage, the doctors had determined the resuscitation procedure had damaged another artery in my heart.  I languished on life support for six days while they waited for me to recover enough to perform a second surgery on me, and now I was starting the comeback process for a second time.  I was at the point where I was squeezing hands and nodding and tentatively stepping back into reality. 

And now I had something I wanted to make known to The Yard Man and Only Son (the two who were in attendance at the time, and standing by my bed). I tried to voice the words, but what was this?!  I couldn't make a sound!  Again and again I tried to speak.  I was not cognizant enough to know that I had a tracheotomy tube down my throat.  No words came forth.  Desperately, I tried and tried, but, oh...they couldn't read my lips!  Finally, I resorted to charades.

Dear Reader, how would one act out the word "holy"?  I was in a predicament! I folded my hands together, mouthing holy, holy, holy.
"Pray for you?!" Only Son asked animatedly, sure that he'd hit on what I was attempting to say.
Alas, no.  I shook my head. I certainly wasn't averse to prayers, but it wasn't what I wished to convey.

It was then that someone had the idea to bring me paper and a pen.  Of course!  I would write out my words!

Alas, was easier imagined than accomplished!  I was astounded at my inability to write words.  My hand was so weak and shaky; I could barely move it across the page.
Viewer Dear, it is with some chagrin that I show you this chicken-scratching.  The upper line in the photo above is my attempt to spell out three words.  "Holy" is the first word (H-o-l-y, the letters all written on top of one another).

Naturally, the two men standing by my bed could not glean a shred of meaning from these messy scribbles. (Unless you've become privy to the information already, neither will you, Dear Viewer!
Though you're welcome to take your best guess!)

I tried again.
(back later, Dear Reader, with slightly more readable script)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

I was tethered

to the land of the living by a mass of tubes and wires and various pieces of large medical equipment for six tentative days.  My distraught family hovered over me, and did their utmost to keep the attachment a healthy and permanent one! They treated me to live musical renditions with guitar accompaniment.*  They read to me extensively.* They visited with all the faithful friends who flocked to see me.* They pleaded with me again and again to move my fingers or toes, squeeze their hands, open my eyes. * They discussed my precarious prognosis with a seemingly endless array of doctors and other medical personnel.*
But, Dear Reader, please believe me when I tell you,  I was not there!**
Though it's not a lovely photo, it's the only one I've got to illustrate my dire condition!  

*So I've been told!
**(In a sensible sense)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Euphemistically they call it

"flatlining.I survived the surgery (February 15), and I have a very faint memory of mouthing some endearing words to the Yard Man and squeezing his hand.  Everyone was pleased.  The doctors gave glowing reports; the new cow valve was performing admirably.  The family was smiling.  A few handsome bouquets of flowers arrived at the hospital.  The Yard Man went home and got a good night of sleep.

But then!

As you will surely understand, Reader Dear, the following is second-handed information:
The Yard Man was awakened early by a phone call on February 16.  "Get to the hospital ASAP!" was the message.  "Your wife has flatlined."  Yes, Dear Reader, I had passed on!  Indeed, I had given up the ghost, kicked the bucket!  As I was frolicking in worlds unknown, there were medical marvel-workers scurrying around to connect me to life-support.  (This third-handed data: It took them six minutes to slap on the resuscitation equipment and get me (artificially) pumping blood and breathing.

For six long days, then, I languished in a salty sea of sedation (salty, due to the tears that flowed from the eyes of my loved ones  [I can only assume the doctors shed no tears, but surely they were sorry for this unexpected outcome!]).

More later!
(Spoiler alert: you do understand,  Reader Dear, that it is I, myself, relaying this true tale.
There's no need for you to hang on the edge of a cliff, you see!)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Rare Journey

Reader Dear, it is now time to tell you about my rare and harrowing journey (HARROWING: extremely disturbing or distressing; grievous).  To be honest, the journey is ongoing; but, the truly harrowing part has ended (or at least that is my sincere hope).

So here you have it:  Toward the end of winter I was scheduled for surgery (the major kind).  The heart doctors had informed me that the cow part of me was wearing out.  Time for a re-do!

I had a strong aversion to the idea, but knew that if the bovine part of me failed, all of me would fail (as in, know).  There was this premonition about the surgery that gave me an uneasy feeling.  Please don't let the following give you an uneasy feeling, Reader Dear, but I must inform you that I did some planning for a service that involves men in black suits and somber words:  I chose a photo and wrote a bit of poetry to grace the front of a program.  I jotted down a few musical selections.  Here's the thing, Dear Reader--I wished to be prepared for every possible outcome. I visited a lawyer.  I put many valentines into the US mail (promoting, I hoped, a final happy memory of me if it were to be my very last mailing!)

So the day arrived: February 15.  It was a cold morning, and the hour was early when the Yard Man escorted me into the hospital.  My plan was to write a message on my chest for the surgeon (as in previous surgery), but the good doctor took the pen and scribed "JC" on my chest (his initials). I was trundled off to the Operating Room.
The anesthesiologist paid me a visit.
Reality faded rapidly away.

(Here there is a long pause in the story.  Back later!)