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.
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.