Grateful with all my heart

It’s been a rough 10 days, friends. On July 9 my husband Esteban woke up with shortness of breath and a tight chest. In a scene that was eerily reminiscent of his first heart attack six years ago, we piled into the car and sped to the emergency room.

ER IMG_6197 BLOG
The only photo I’ve taken in the past week.

“It doesn’t seem to be your heart,” concluded the attending physician after a plethora of needle pokes and x-rays. We were sent home, and I urged Esteban to schedule a stress test … just in case.

The stress test revealed that it was his heart, unfortunately — and the results were so alarming that he was scheduled for an angioplasty the very next morning.

Neither of us slept well that night: Just reading the risks could kill you. (“The device may accidentally pierce an artery. It may poke a hole in your heart. It may introduce bacteria and give you a fatal infection. In rare cases, it may cause embolism or a stroke …”)

Plus, there was a chance Esteban would have a heart attack overnight. I found myself waking up every few minutes to listen for his breathing.

We reported for his appointment at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday and spent almost 12 hours in the hospital. In spite of the long wait, it seemed miraculous to me that he could go home the same day — and that the only evidence of heart surgery was tiny puncture wound on Esteban’s wrist. He seemed remarkably chipper, too.

But on Saturday morning he awoke looking kind of grayish and again had the shortness of breath, so back we went to the emergency room. The same nurse from the previous week was there. Now the routine seemed familiar: Hook up the monitors. Put in an I.V. Test the blood. Wait for the doctor.

“We’re going to admit you,” said the doctor.

Coming home on Saturday night reminded me of that first heart attack, too: Once again we had strewn clothes about in our haste, and left the sink full of dirty dishes.

And once again the emptiness struck me. What if every night were like this? The silence and loneliness were unbearable.

Luckily, Esteban and I once again got a reprieve. I brought him home yesterday afternoon, tucked him into bed, and made a giant batch of his favorite heart-healthy soup.

Now I’m listening for the familiar sounds of a Monday: His alarm kicking in, the soft padding of his feet on the wood floor, the squeeeeaaak of the bedroom door opening …

And when he finally does emerge I’ll be extra-grateful to throw my arms around him and wish him a good morning.

Of all the Monday mornings I’ve seen so far, today is my hands-down favorite.

94 comments

  1. Oh Heide, what a torture and strain on both of you. A week like this puts everything into the right context, doesn’t it. I wish Esteban a speedy recovery and may the two of you have many, many wonderful Mondays to come. Hugs, Dina x

  2. Oh sweets I am sending you and your hubby so much love, prayers and healing vibes. I hope he starts to feel better soon and you take care of yourself. The caretakers need just as much TLC as the patients do. I am so sorry you have to go through this. ❤

  3. Been there (though my Steve has been a little luckier so far) and I do understand the feelings – hugs all around. Need to get together for some heart health dinner sometime. Roberta

    • Roberta! How wonderful to find your comment here. YES, let’s get together for a heart-healthy dinner soon. We’ve missed you and would love to catch up! I will ping you on FB shortly …

  4. What an awful experience, but with a great ending! You remind me that I do not spend enough time being thankful for good health. It is truly a luxury that so many lack.

    My Mrs is not quite so fortunate as I am, but with nothing as normal-shattering as you have experienced. I need to be more mindful of her health blessings as well.

    I will keep you and Esteban in my prayers.

    • I’m very sorry that your Missus has some health concerns, JP — but I bet she counts her blessings to have such a kind and caring person by her side. You are so right, though, that good health is the ultimate luxury. After this episode, my mister and I are more motivated than ever to take better care of ourselves.

      Thank you SO MUCH for your kind words, and for your prayers! My best to you and yours too …

    • Well said! In our daily lives it’s easy to take so many things for granted — especially our good health, and the gift of time. I promise you Esteban and I will be just a little bit more mindful of both. Take care and enjoy every minute too in your corner of the world!

    • Yes, he is much better now, and we’re hopeful everything will turn out ok. Thank you so much for your concern! I appreciate your kind comment.

    • We really *do* have angels walking by our side, it seems. Thank you for stopping by, and for your kind words. I appreciate your encouragement!

  5. Thanks for sharing this event; unfortunately, I lost my mother almost a year ago to a heart condition and is good to see others getting a second chance. I hope your husband keeps improving and takes it easy. Sending love to you both,
    Anabela xxx

    • Oh, Anabela … I’m so sorry to hear about your mother. My heartfelt condolences go out to you. Thank you for your kind and generous comment. xxx right back to you!

    • I didn’t want to say anything until we were pretty sure he’d be OK — so even my sisters didn’t find out until today. But thank you for your kind words, Corey; I appreciate your good thoughts and will pass them on to The Big Guy as well.

  6. Big hugs to you and to Esteban, Heide. You’ve come through a heck of a week and a half. Modern medicine, well-used, is such a welcome miracle and I’m really glad it was put at your service.

    All good luck with Esteban’s swift recovery. Does he have to take things easy for a while? Is he a patient patient?

    • Thank you for your kind and buoying note, Elaine. You’re wonderful … you always know just what to say, and you always say it so beautifully! Modern medicine really *was* a miracle in this case, and Esteban actually went to work today (against my strict instructions and wishes, I might add). He is a delightfully patient patient, but I can understand his impatience after spending the last three days in hospital. Well … thank you again for your kind wishes. I will pass them on to my big fellow.

  7. Oh my goodness…scary times! I’m so glad things are on the up and up in this moment. I can’t imagine how stressful it’s been for you both. Thanks for sharing so we can support you through the interwebs! Big hugs ❤

    • Thank you so much for making my day with your kind words and warm thoughts, Tasha. My hubby seems much better indeed, so the positive vibes are working! Big hugs and thanks to you … xx

    • I love that you always have a philosophical take on these things, Xpat. Thank you for that needed perspective, and for your kind words. I greatly appreciate both.

  8. Oh Heide, how awful for you both! I do hope he is thoroughly well again. I can imagine now you will be listening to his breathing every night when you are awake and worrying. I’ll be honest – sometimes I hold my breath and listen for my husband’s breathing too, for no real reason – as far as I know, just anxiety as we grow older. But what a beautiful way to see his recovery and the start of just another Monday – except it wasn’t. Wishing you both joy, health and many more appreciative years in each other’s company to come. Mary

  9. (((Heidebee))) What a dreadful, stressful, frightening time. I’m so sorry you’ve been going through this. You must be completely exhausted. It’s hard when confronted with these potentially life-changing scenarios. Thank you for sharing. I wish I was there to deliver a bear hug in person. I hope you can sense my good intentions across the miles. xo

  10. Life, so vulnerable. So easily disrupted. And, as you tell us – so wonderful in the midst of worries and insecurity. So filled with gratefulness in our hearts for the moments we get. Moments of bliss! Thank you for sharing this.
    Ellington

    • My goodness, Ellington … what a beautiful comment you’ve written. Thank you for your wonderful observations and kind words!

  11. I”m a little late reading….but so sorry to hear of the stress you’ve had to go through, and very glad to hear that all has (apparently) worked out well!!!
    I know that emptiness fear/feeling that comes. I”m glad you don’t have to face it. And as noted above, take care of yourself in this time. Caregivers struggle with remembering that their own health is so vital for the patient.
    Hold on to that Monday joy 😀

    • Thank you so much for your kind note, Jeff, and for your empathy — I know you’ve been there, so your encouragement means a lot. My hubby and I have been lucky this time that he’s made an incredible recovery, so I’m delighted to tuck away your wise words on caretaking for some other time. But I *will* follow your sound advice and hold onto that Monday joy! 🙂 You’re the best. Thank you!

  12. Oh Heide, I’ve been so absent of late, purposefully trying to spend time away from my computer, social media and the like, that I only stumbled upon your post today. I am so sorry for the stress you both have been through. Grateful with you that all is ok. Big hugs from afar. xoxox

    • Thank you so much for your sweet sentiments, dear Rochelle. I’ve missed you here on WordPress, but applaud your taking some time away from your computer — and am also extra-honored that you took the time to read and comment here. Big, grateful hugs to you! xoxox

  13. What a wonderful story only it’s not a story it’s your life. I am so glad I read this, because you never know what you for until it’s gone. I have been married 11 years and we have 4 kids I couldn’t imagine my life without my best friend that I call my husband. Reading this made me appreciate us just a little bit more! Thank you.

    • Congratulations on your 11 years and four kids, Real Cas — that’s wonderful, just as it’s wonderful that you consider your hubby your best friend (as do I). I’m glad this post helped you appreciate the two of you just a little bit more. Thank you so much for stopping by, and for taking the time to leave your comment. I greatly appreciate your kind words.

      • Thank you for sharing. I hope you have a great One! We are so lucky to have our best friends as our spouses and I can admit I forget that sometimes, but when I read things like your story it always takes me back to that love so Thank you!

    • No apologies needed at all, Yann — it’s impossible to keep up with everything, all the time. But I do greatly appreciate your thoughts and kind words.

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