1:16am. Wednesday, 18 July.
The high heart rate is Atrial Fibrillation.
The nurse seems in a bit of a panic but it could also be that I’ve just come out of a very long sleep.
Nurse: Your heart rate is very erratic!
N: Can’t you feel it?
Me: Er, no.
I try and control my breathing to get my heart under control. No luck! It’s bouncing around 120-130 bpm.
Having never been in this situation before I begin to wonder how serious this is. The nurse is acting like it is very serious.
I wonder: is this the time they bring the family in to say goodbye?
It’s now July 17. I only remember up until 7:00am or thereabouts. That was when they collected me from the ward to be wheeled in to surgery.
The anaesthetist had a chat with me while a nurse did her thing with my arm.
It’s now 1:00am July 18.
Lost a whole day.
So, what happened:
FBH and Son were together waiting for a call from surgeon around 12:30pm.
Not being able to wait, FBH called the hospital.
“Sorry, he’s still in surgery.”
A little panic ensues. Shouldn’t he be out now?
1:00pm surgeon calls. All done. Pretty straight forward. He’ll be fine.
The stress on the FBH and Son hits and they cry in relief.
The family visits when allowed and I’m in ICU. See above picture. (FBH didn’t know Daughter was taking photo.)
I’m told when you’re in a coma you can still hear people.
I didn’t feel her hand on mine. I wish I had.
I don’t hear them come or go.
Next thing I know, it’s 1:16am and the nurse is fussing.
Something about heart rate being too high!
This time 6 months ago I was prepping for surgery.
A full body shave (apologies for the mental image). Showering with antiseptic soap (again, apologies).
Eating hospital food (I get the apology this time)!
Six months later I’m back at work full time.
I’ve started running again.
I’m also doing so broader exercises – failing but trying (I’m looking at you skipping!)
But the realisation did hit me this morning. And it was a bit emotional.
It hit me that 6 months have passed and I’m back on deck.
Life did, indeed, go on.
I cannot be more grateful for the FBH and my family.
I am also very grateful for my employer (e.g. Flick, Kyles and Darren) who kept in touch and helped me transition back into work life.
And then there is the Dog, Django. My walking partner for the last 6 months who’s walks were quite short in the beginning but now are back to normal.
Monday, July 9 was my son’s birthday. Friday is the FBH’s. We plan a dinner at La Capannina’s in Scarborough.
Dinners with the family are one of my favourite events, whether it’s a birthday or not. So, after the couple of week’s we’ve had, we are looking forward to this more than ever.
It’s a wonderful night celebrating Her birthday. She is spoilt for gifts. The kids throw love at Her like it’s going out of fashion.
We stay overnight at the Rendezvous Hotel. A great way to end the week and chill before the week ahead.
Friday, 13 July
There’s another person involved in this journey… the FBH!
I have to deal with the physical, emotional and mental side but she has to deal with the emotional and mental side.
That makes it harder for her in a way. She has to stand by and watch and “make do”. She’ll need support as well and, while I’m recovering, I’m not sure I’ll be the one to supply it.
We discuss this as we head into this change in our lives and tell her how much I feel for her.
I apologise for putting her in this situation.
This is the first day of the rest of your life they say…
We take the train to the hospital because we’re not sure where to go and the last thing we need is to get lost in traffic, take a wrong turn etc.
It all turns out to be quite simple and we arrive at the Surgeon’s office quite early.
We head to the cafe.
When we return we’re told “He’s still in surgery but he’ll be here soon.”
… soon …
… soon …
And then …
“The surgery is taking longer than expected, we’ll need to reschedule!”
July 9 – The Boy’s 28th birthday! Happy birthday, son! 😐
*”And so here I am, waiting in the lobby, sweating bullets in this stupid old suit …” to have this angiogram done.
They wheel me in, slip the needle into my wrist to send the dye through to the heart. The specialist sees my tattoo and comments about running marathons.
“Quite a few ultra runners have heart disease issues.”
I’m lying on the gurney as he starts sending the dye through.
“Hmmm, we have a major, a serious and a minor blockage.” Or something to that effect.
He walks me through what he sees and, really, for the first time, I know I have some shit to deal with.
Try as I may, I can’t stop the tear running down my face.
*”I don’t want to be alone” – Billy Joel