Get Off My Lawn

Adventures of a Curmudgeon

Chronic Illness Can Be Stressful

As I sit before this blank page I have no idea where we’ll go or what we’ll see but I have strong desire to pen some of the craziness I deal with on a daily basis. Those who already know, know details I’ll not share here. Those who don’t and care enough to ask will get the unvarnished truth, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Life can be raw and messy and not always go according to plan. Just smile, dust yourself off, give Thanks for being alive and move on. Life’s too short (a lesson I need to learn) to hold grudges, especially against ethereal entities.

My wife is my best friend, my lover, my hero. She is everything I’m not and want to be: Smart, Kind, Generous, Beautiful, Thoughtful. I mean I can be those things. She /is/ those things, and more. She truly is my better half. I am nothing without her. And there’s a real possibility that will be sooner rather then later.

When we’re young, Death is so far away and unfathomable. Into our twenties and early thirties many of us still feel invincible; Death is real but still not close. Forty and beyond Death is real, close and sometimes holding our hands as we cross the street. It’s so crazy. We have no idea when it’s our time to go - Be happy as often as you can. However, through a series of unfortunate events Death, I believe, is closer then ever. And it scares me.

Three years my wife had what was supposed to be routine surgery. Well, three years ago she died. Three years ago she came back, changed, but alive none the less. We’re still dealing with the aftermath of that event. We’re in the early stages of coordinating a kidney transplant. Her health is quickly deteriorating. I mean she has good days and she’s stubborn and will push herself beyond her limits. But, and this frustrates her, she doesn’t have the stamina to ‘be normal’ and ‘do normal’ things.

Where did it begin? With Corhn’s Disease in her teen years; her ‘official’ diagnosis came in 1998. This is a nasty disease when out of control. We had many, many trips to the ER during the numerous episodes prior to finding the right doctor and mixture of drugs. Because she was still having problems it was decided to move forward with the aforementioned surgery. This led to another surgery to save her life but caused severe nerve damage; she couldn’t walk for weeks after the surgery. Her ciatic and femeral nerves were damaged. Unbeknownst to us this led to one of her kidneys completely failing and the other one (where we are today) close to total failure and Heather needing a transplant.

Heather is so good at everything she does. When she decided she wanted to be an EMT she did it - getting the highest score on the certification test for the entire state of Virginia (which still holds). On the rescue squad she ran with, she became the youngest squad leader, running her own ambulance. The plan was to become a paramedic and parlay that into a nursing career. The surgery made her alter her plans.

When Heather decided to go to Nursing school, she obtained a 4.0 average. This, from the women raising a family, working as a preschool teacher, and taking advanced classes: Calculus, Physiology & Anatomy, Microbiology. She started her 2d semester where she left off - getting the highest test scores in all of her classes. The news and surgeries to date to learn about her kidney damage has her changing plans again.

I’m not saying it’s been all doom and gloom. We’ve had tremendous support from family and friends. We’ve prayed, a lot. Even the families of the children she teaches has helped us through this latest bit of craziness. I’m just saying it’s always on my mind like it’s always on her mind. It’s distracting. It’s stressful. I’m usually not the one to play “What if” games - I’m more of a go with the flow kind of guy. However, there is the real possibility that Heather and I won’t grow old together. Who understands that stress? I wish I didn’t.

I wish I was strong like Heather. But I’m not. I get my strength from her. She’s my inspiration. I pale in comparison.

Be Well

a glisening cheek
the dafodils are lonely
my love forever