The last two months I have had some issues with my blood pressure even a trip to the ER in Tulsa in July and some symptoms that my doctor thought were cardiology worthy. I have a healthy or maybe unhealthy fear of heart disease. My dad was 58 when he had his first heart attack, seven years later he had triple bypass surgery, five years later he had a second bypass surgery. Daddy had acute vascular disease. It was not just the arteries to his heart, vascular disease claimed one of his kidneys and even the arteries to his legs required an emergency bypass just hours after his second heart bypass. I have summed up his health issues in three sentences but in actuality it was a fourteen year battle. A fight that took place often at Saint Anthony’s Hospital in OKC. Please understand how very grateful I am for those last fourteen years because I know during that time he and I accumulated memories and blessings too numerous to count. As thankful as I am for that time, there is a flip side.
If you have ever loved and been close to someone with a serious disease or condition you know the “war stories” I speak of. I have paced hospital hallways, set or stood beside hospital beds, listened to nurses and doctors, waited for test results, camped in waiting rooms, pretended cheerfulness, pleaded for nutrition to be consumed, begged for pain relief medications, grieved, and prayed more time then even I can conceive. I am not sharing this as a complaint, I would have done anything in my power to help my dad, I am trying to explain my own anxieties.
If you know me well you may be thinking what about your mom and her long bout with cancer. I have difficult stories but also stories of great triumphs I could list about her but that will be another day another blog. I can only share details of the loss of one parent at a time, my mom deserves words dedicated to her alone.
After my visit to my new cardiologist I left his office concerned and anxious. He told me my ekg was slightly abnormal and he could hear two heart murmurs. He wanted to schedule a nuclear stress test at Saint Anthony’s Hospital in Oklahoma City. The actual test is not frightening, I had it about 5 years ago so I knew the routine, but I was very apprehensive about the location and the results . The morning of my test I entered Saint Anthony’s, memories, nightmares is a more accurate word, came flooding back. These were the halls and rooms I have spent seventeen years trying to forget. It is amazing to me that I can be unaware of what day of the week it is (now that Mike is retired) or clueless as to what we had for dinner three days ago and yet retain vivid pictures of those hospital days, I can still quote verbatim some of the words I heard doctors say. The mind is a strange and unexplainable mystery.
We (Mike and I) left Saint Anthony’s about three hours later, with no answers. The doctor told me he hoped to call me with results later that day. We tried to work, we stocked both markets, had lunch at Paseo Grill and shopped at the dreaded Sam’s. Every time the phone rang I tensed, hopeful and fearful at the very same time. I eventually gave Mike my phone and said, “if it’s good news I would rather hear it from you than anyone else and if it’s bad those words would surely be easier from you”. The call came around 4:00, Mike answered but they asked to speak with me. As I listened to the nurses words, “Dr. Collazo asked me to call and let you know the stress test was completely normal”, I offered a silent prayer of gratitude and thanked the nurse as if she had just given me a million dollars. I know without a doubt the news she shared was more valuable to me than the money I just spoke of.
I have spent hours reflecting on the stress and anxiety I imposed upon myself. Worry doesn’t change anything, I know that, I believe that, but yet I worry. It is a flaw in my character, a crack in my faith and something I am committed to changing. I have a habit of asking God for help and guidance and giving Him my worries, then moments or hours later I take them right back. I can change, I will change.
As I end this short blog I want to pay tribute to my father. He was a talented artist, a kind and loving father, and a hardworking, do the right thing sort of man. He loved his family, his grandchildren were great treasures to him and I miss him every day. He handled his health problems with courage and grace, he was and is an inspiration to me and I will love him forever.
Judy, I am so glad your stress test was fine, I understand your fears and how our minds work. If you need to vent give me a shout. Cindy
I, too, am glad that all is well. Even though I was terribly unaware of the chance you might not be….
I was thinking of you all this weekend… wondering if you were participating in the art show at OCCC… hoping if so, you had a found a cool spot in the Labor Day heat to call your own.
I was also remembering the Labor Day Sunday reunion… thinking fond thoughts of Aunt Jo and all the work she and Uncle Bob and others put into the event each year. And all that good food….
Your words about your father… well, they resonate deep within me. They underline, at least in my own heart and mind, that love doesn’t end at the grave… and that it doesn’t even stop growing when we part through death. It’s a consoling thought just now.
Do share if you find any secrets to shedding the act of worrying…
Janell, I just read your comment (sorry to take me so many days) and was happy to hear from you. Thanks for your concern, I have another test next week and am hoping that goes well.
We haven’t done the OCCC show in many years, the heat had become unbearable, the older I get the less heat I seem to be able to cope with.
It has taken me almost three years but I have been working on a blog about Bob and JoAnn, it takes me awhile, but I’ll eventually finish.
I completely agree that love lasts and grows forever. Are you working on your book about your dad or will that be more of a winter project? I look forward to reading it. Your mom has been on my mind this week, I am trying to help with some princess costumes for Grace’s 4th birthday coming right up. I have wished for her help and advice many times. I miss her so much and I know you do.