Tuesday, October 21, 2014

And There Was Music....

I wasn't going to do another public update, but because you asked....

Since Ken got home Wednesday, things have been chugging along quite well... He walked a little bit that first day, napped a lot, the next day he walked more, napped a little less, and has been progressing more every day.

He even went in to his office yesterday for about an hour to say hello and to prove to his coworkers that he was indeed alive and plans to at least try to put in a few hours in the office later this week.

He's home today, gathering up energy to do his trial run tomorrow, working for only 4 hours while I'm on standby to scoop up and rescue.

But what about Thursday and Friday? I have a business trip scheduled for the weekend, leaving Thursday morning. Zoe is on board to drive him to and from work on both days, and his mom lives close by, so if he can't hang in there for four hours, he can either hang out at her place, she can take him home, or, God forbid, get him to the doctor or ER.

Am I a bad wife for wanting to go to Dallas for my board meeting this weekend? I've had this on the books for a year. But it's only ten days after his heart attack.

Am I babying Ken if I don't go?

Am I babying Ken if I think he needs someone here overnight?

If I'm not here cooking for Ken, will he be able to cook for himself?

Zoe is spending the night Thursday. She offered to make soup if I buy the ingredients. If I don't hear from her before Wednesday, the soup ain't happening. Ken and I already talked about this, and he's agreed to have her take him to go pick up a roasted chicken at the grocery store.

So then, what if she makes the soup? What about the other days and the other meals?

Does he have the energy to cook? Does he know what to make that is “good” for him now? In the past when I would go away, it was fried chicken or beef burritos. And we know THAT'S off the menu!!

Caleb is coming up (really late) for Friday and Saturday overnight.

EUREKA!! Ken called his Mom to bring him dinner Friday night!!!!!! Everyone wins.

When Caleb is here for Saturday, I don't know if (or what) he can cook. I know he can make omelettes (Ken can't eat eggs) and quinoa.

I can do all this planning to ask for help to bring over a meal for Saturday, but am I babying him if I don't let him ask for help or fend for himself?

Am I in denial that he is still a ticking time bomb and still to much in recovery to leave alone most of the day?  Should I just cancel my trip?

(later that same day….)

Ken picked up the English Horn and played for about a half hour. I admit I had to restrain myself. My initial response to hearing the music flowing upstairs from his study was to run down there and check on him.

Is he clutching his chest? Is he flushed? Does he feel/appear light headed?

But I waited.

For ten whole minutes. Then I went downstairs.

None of that.

He was smiling. He said he felt pretty good, out of shape, but normal out of shape. (Anyone who plays a double reed will know what this means.)

He played for a little while longer.

But the bottom line?

He can still play.

And I suppose that means he will survive without me.

Maybe that's more me letting go than him moving on.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ken Is Home

In one piece (with two extras.)  That and pills, pills pills. Pills for the morning and night to make his heart, back and tummy happy. Apparently, he has just committed himself to a lifetime relationship with his cardiologist AND the pharmacist!

We are both still in a little state of shock that this even happened to him, relieved that it wasn't worse, and grateful for all the support and good wishes he received from our community.  People he hasn't heard from in YEARS wished him a quick recovery.  

Zoe, Caleb and I also have appreciated our friends who have reached out to us, offering words of care and concern.

Ken is learning to ask for help for things that seem simple, but are beyond the limits set by his doctor. I've only had to scold him once. So far. It was not pretty.

I also know I'll probably be having some kind of mass purge of the foods he and I may never eat (or drink) again.

And so, as our happy couple fades back into obscurity, please know that your words of support have meant the world to Ken, and all of us.  We don't know how to thank you.

Offers to help with food and whatever as Ken recovers at home have been pouring in.  I can't express to you how this feels, to know how you love Ken as much as I do.  I don't know what he, or we, will need in the days and weeks to come.  If I can think of something, I will let you know.

Oh, I know one thing we both need.  Sleep!  (smile)

There is ONE big thing you can do for us.  Be well.  Pay attention to your body. Not all heart attacks are the same. Not all of them are painful chest clutching, elephant weight pressure, and/or keeling over events.

Don't ignore the atypical signs of a heart attack.  They are simple:
Discomfort or pain in other areas, such as one or both arms, the neck, jaw, back, or stomach
Shortness of breath, lightheadedness, nausea, or sweating
Abdominal discomfort that may feel like heartburn

Oh, and BTW, we love you!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My Double Reed/Double Stent Husband

Things happen in threes.  Celebrity deaths.  Home appliance fail.  Three days in a hospital.

Last night, night #2, Ken was weird.  He was completely out of it because of all the meds they had given him during the day.  You know what they say, the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

This morning he was back to his "normal" self, he whipped out his IPAD before 7am, ate a heart healthy breakfast (Ok, that's NOT normal) and checked Facebook and email.  He though he might be going home today.  He's not, but it's nice to hear he feels ready and isn't afraid to get out of here.

If all goes well, (and why shouldn't it?) I'm banking on him sleeping in his own bed tomorrow night.

The beauty of spending the best part of the past three days in the hospital with Ken include:

1. Learning that when things beep in the room I don't need to freak out.  It's usually because his arm or head or other body part is in the wrong position, and the computer can't get a good read.
2. It's pretty easy to avoid junk food here.  I have not seen one burger or piece of chocolate or any oversized pastry.
3. If you stay in the hospital long enough and behave they move you to the penthouse in Chez Josef.  He's got a fabulous private room on the 4th floor, and no longer has to toilet in public.
4. Ken is a lightweight when it comes to drug tolerance.  OK, I know I should be more sensitive, but the conversation we had last night would rival ANY post-wisdom teeth extraction video that has EVER been posted on YouTube.  No, I did not record any of it.  I own it in my head, and I never want to see him that out of it again.

I'm sort of blown away by Ken's success in the “bromance” department.  Maybe it's the oh-my-God-I'm-almost-the-same-age-and-mortal-too response.  His boy/men-friends are crawling out of the woodwork, and I personally can't be more touched by your concern, calls, email and FB comments and chicken soup.

His response to some smart comment about his future eating habits.

“I see gluten free toasted latkes in my future.”

If it will keep him around a bit longer, I'll do it.   I'll even bake the latkes.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Day 2

BTW, we love you.

Day 2 and all the scary tubes are OUT!! This is great because now Ken doesn't need to lay flat on his back.  He just finished having an echocardiogram, which looked pretty to me, but then, I don't know how to read them.  I promised Caleb I would let him know results before I let you know, and I'm sticking to my word...it's easy because as of this moment, I know nothing.

Caleb drove up and spent a good part of the day today staring at Ken as he slept. Zoe and Ken's mom showed up this afternoon and did the same thing.  We still can't believe what has happened in the past 24 hours.  We are all still in a huge state of shock.

Now Caleb's gone back to Seattle, Zoe left for a prearranged engagement, and Ken's mom has gone home for the night.  It's relatively quiet in his room again, especially since the balloon pump is no longer in play.   It's just the two of us and I'm staring at him as he sleeps. The beeping machines are showing us his stable heart rate, healthy blood pressure and good blood oxygen levels.

The entire hospital is filled with amazing medical staff, and occasional employees that Ken knows socially and musically.   Chez Josef, while not a place I'd look forward to checking in to, is certainly worth the price of admission. The staff has been top notch.

Ken tried to read your comments to the post on his FB wall, but holding up his IPAD proved to be too much while laying flat on his back.  So I have spent a good part of the past 20+ hours reading him your FB posts, emails, texts, and playing your phone messages.  We are overwhelmed and grateful for your comments and good wishes...it's as if you are all right here, cheering him on, encouraging his every small step forward.  Good thing you are not here.  There are only two chairs in the room.

Thank you is not enough, but it's all I can muster at this very moment.

We have had a number of offers to bring food to us here, and since Caleb, Zoe, Ken's mom and I are about all the excitement Ken can tolerate today, I think we're ok for now.  Again, thank you.

They say it takes a village, and I know with your continued good wishes, Ken's full recovery will be swift, and he'll be back playing music and cracking bad accounting jokes really soon!

We love you.  I can't say that enough.

And then this happened....

OK, so here's how today has gone so far..

Ken woke up at 3am yesterday with what he thought was indigestion or food poisoning from our late  (10pm) dinner last night.  He woke me up around 5 or 6, and went downstairs....he was nauseated, but never vomited.  I came downstairs around 8 and gave him some ginger ale and some water.  He told me he almost asked me to call the paramedics at 4....

I went to the handy dandy internet and googled heart attack symptoms for men.  Nausea.  Back/shoulder/neck pain (not right or left side specific.)  I went back upstairs and got dressed.

He checked into the walk in clinic at 11, after one EKG.  Diagnosis, ischemic event.  They called the paramedics who brought him to the ER..where his first EKG was FINE. The doc said to let him know if/when his right shoulder hurt again.  He did.  Second EGK wasn't fine.  Diagnosis:  full blown Heart Attack. Long story short, he is now the proud owner of two stents..his heart is good..his arteries...”rusty pipes” the cardiovascular surgeon said....    He's resting comfortably and his boss has given him the week “with pay.”  (thank you medical insurance!)

Your good wishes will be greatly appreciated!