Monday, June 15, 2009

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other....

"I'm scared."
I look up and in the bed across from me
is a woman in tears.
There is no privacy in this holding cell.
Least that's what it feels like, a holding cell
or an assembly line.
She's too far across the way for me to say anything
without it sounding like I'm yelling my comfort.
Somehow yelling and comfort
don't seem to belong in the same sentence
never mind in an outpatient department.
A nurse comes who listens and comforts.
God bless him.

I've laid there for quite a few hours waiting for my test and this woman across from me is the third patient whose occupied that bed already this morning. I thought the system seemed like an assembly line when they brought me in. As I see people get undressed (well, not watch them, but you know they are doing that behind the curtain) get wheeled down the hallway and come back, get kicked out of the bed so the next person can have a turn, my hunch about assembly lines rings true. As this woman talks of her symptoms and cries I cringe inside. I'd be scared, too, if I were her. It doesn't sound good.

Earlier I smiled as I observed an old man (born in 1924, I heard him) reading a Diana Gabaldon novel. For some reason I would have never guessed Diana Gabaldon novels and old men belonged in the same sentence either.

People get wheeled off for colonoscopies and angiograms mostly. I seem to be the lone one being wheeled off in the other direction to the echocardiogram unit. I breathe in the hospital air and that smell, the one that lets me know where I am even with my eyes closed, makes me so very grateful that I am in the outpatient department and not a room.

Five years ago I spent 10 days here, in the city far from home, getting one test after another done. I was the youngest patient on the Cardiac Care Unit and spent my days with older women who had wonderful words of wisdom for me. I distinctly remember a woman with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, who was hooked up to oxygen 24/7, tell me what a blessing it would be if I got diagnosed with what the powers that be thought was a genetic connective tissue disease because I would be paving the way for generations to come.

That I would get to set the example of how to live with it.

Some days we walked to the TV room together and when we got there she'd move her oxygen pulse meter to my finger and check how I was doing. She'd nod her head in encouragement no matter what the number was and we'd turn and watch a TV that blared too loud and for too long. The day she talked to me about perspective I was sure she was an angel sent by God to show me the way to hope.

I am so grateful that the hospital is not where I live.
Grateful that I get to choose my attitude and outlook on life.
Life as it is.
Whether I like it or not.
They found a hole in my heart today.
A small one.
The doc said she's sitting on the fence
as to whether it needs to be fixed right now or not.
She's leaning towards not.
I'm fine with that.
I'm just grateful for another piece of the puzzle in place
for the temporary home I call my body.
The hole isn't going to kill me.
It doesn't solve all the questions
and the doc will be consulting with other specialists
to come up with a plan of action.

The last thing I wrote in my journal this morning
before we went to the hospital
was that I was scared.

The cardiologist and I ended up
negotiating the level of sedation I would get.
That meant I was awake for most of the procedure.
I forgot how triggering it is for me
to have tubes stuck down my throat
without any control over them.
I absolutely hate it.
But I made it through.

And here I am in a beautiful hotel room.
There are many things in my life right now
that are so totally out of my control.
Well, not like there isn't on any given day
for any given person.
I know that.
But some of the current out of control happenings in my life
are of the gut wrenching type.
And I don't like that one little bit.
Hey, I managed to type that sentence without swearing.
I've censored my swear words a number of times in this post.
I'd blame it on the lingering effects of the sedation
but we all know me better than that.

Digging deep for a gratitude list
is what I need to do right now.
That I don't have to do more than scratch the surface
for most of it makes me grateful in itself.
That I know it's okay to feel both scared and grateful is good, too.

As I went to wrap up this post that song from Sesame Street came to mind for a title.
So many things in life don't seem to belong together but still there they are.
I don't know, do swear words and hope belong in the same sentence?
Are they more alike than different?
Some days I wonder.

I am reminded once again of the term, "I get to...."
I get to have hope.
Not I have to or I want to
but I get to.
And now I'll shut up before I type a swear word or two in there for emphasis.


Peter said...

"Someday, we'll find it,
The Rainbow Connection,
The lovers, the dreamers,
And me..."

--And I do excellent Kermit imitations, too! :)

Anonymous said...

I don't know what to say except that I am so glad you are going to be OK.

steveroni said...

I call it 'good news'. Just wish you had thrown in some "emphasis" words for color...and oh! yesss. EMPHASIS!

Heidi Renee said...

a hole in your heart - that about sums it up lately, eh? poor thing has to work overtime to make up for the leak.

i echo patty and say that i am so glad you're going to be okay, but i know this isn't the end of the road. prayers being said even as i type.

much love. call when you can or send an email if you need to swear :D i know for certain hope and swear words can exist in the same place. much love hope. p.s.f.d. :p

Daisy said...

It's good that they were able to get to the bottom of it, right?
Thank you for the "I get to..." reminder, Hope.


owenswain said...

"I am so grateful that the hospital is not where I live." I recall that expression of gratitude from my multiple and extended stays this past year.

Continuing to pray with you for all things...

Wait. What? said...

I am left being grateful that they know what it is - and that it sounds like you will be OK. How scary to have to go through this.

annie said...

Gosh Hope, what a lot to absorb. I will pray for you. And yes, thank you for the "I get to" reminder.

Evelyn said...

"Do swear words and hope belong in the same sentence?" Sometimes, letting the swear words out (or maybe something equivalent) is the ONLY way to become free of them so that I can begin, once again, to hope. Your post is beautiful, Hope. I, too, will keep you in my prayers as you and your doctors pave the path to wellness.

Vicki Johnson said...

You are a Lifter!