Sunday, May 16, 2010

Two years

It is so hard for me to believe that yesterday was the two-year mark of Greg's death. Two years. And I am not the same person who was reeling from the unexpected sudden widowhood... not at all. And I could never have predicted the experiences that I have had since that day.

So many people who were so supportive. Finding other blogs written by other widows, some with young children, some so much younger than I was (at the time Greg died). Finding a network in Houston of widows (okay, some widowers, but mostly widows) so that I had someone to socialize with, someone who got it.

Defining what the new normal was for me. Taking my life into my own hands- no matter what others thought of my actions and oftentimes disregarding their well-meant advice because it did not, would not work for me.

My gratitude for family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers and everything they did for me. How can you say thank you to so many, for so many kind actions?

I know that others will walk in these shoes, are out there and looking for help, support, direction. And I pray that you, too, will heal with time. Believe me, I got so tired of hearing that -- but it is SO true: time will heal you, heal that deep wound that you felt when your spouse died. And if you are blessed enough to find another to love, do not be afraid to open your heart to that possibility. It helps the healing, makes you look forward again. It is not betrayal to your late spouse to love again.

So this is my two-year mark. And I don't know if I will mark the three-year time by musing about it. I hope you'll understand if I don't mention it at this time, next year.

{{Hugs}} to new widows and also to those who have been walking this path longer than I have. That is one of the things I missed for a long time: hugs.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Health improved!

No, I am not talking about my health... rather, it's referring to L's health. Last July, he had a pacemaker attached to his heart. It was one of the things that he and I had discussed when we first started our phone conversations in early June of '09. He had apparently put it off for several years (he did NOT tell me that part) and I kind of pushed him, verbally, into getting it done.

As part of that pacemaker program, he has to have dial-up checks of the device and how well it is working. And on May 3rd, he had an in-the-office checkup. During that office visit, he mentioned to the technician that he had been having some episodes where he was short-winded. So the tech set him up with a visit with a local cardiologist two days later. During THAT visit, L expanded on his "short-winded" experience, and said that it involved a burning in his chest. Not. A. Good. Sign. This time, it was the cardiologist who nudged him into an angiogram. As the good doc stated it, "Your heart is in one piece right now. If you have a heart attack on Island Lake (this is the lake we live on), I don't know in what shape your heart will be, by the time you take that helicopter flight here and I see you."

I need to tell y'all that it is a 40-minute trip by vehicle from this place to the hospital, and there is a helicopter landing sight about 10 minutes down the road from this house. That would assume that he could get in a car under his own power, or that I could get a neighbor to assist me in getting L into a car. He probably weighs about 250, standing 6-foot-four.

Back to our story: the doc scheduled L for an angiogram on May 10th. For those of us who have lost a spouse, you can imagine my apprehension for this day. Hoping, HOPING that it would be okay, that things would turn out well.

And L was lucky, LUCKY -- there were several narrowings on the right side, mostly bunched together, that were able to be repaired by piggy-backing two stents. These blockages were about 80% - 90% blocked. On the left side, he has lesser blockages, in the 20% - 30% range. He had to stay overnight, was put on Plavix and has agreed to attend at least one cardiac rehab session. He SAYS he takes this as a warning, and of course his kids were (rightly so) shook up by all of this.

The best news of this is that he does NOT have that burning sensation anymore, not even when he picks up the pace during a walk. His PCP (primary care physician) will put him on a statin (cholesterol-lowering) drug next week. That will allow us some time to read up on the various ones and have some well-informed background when L discusses those drugs with the PCP.

Rather ironically, this cardiologist (Dr. N) is the one that I had an appointment with, about an hour before L saw him last Wednesday. I do like him, and he is a very "straight shooter" type. He let L make the decision (angio or roll the dice?) but did give him some very serious things to think about.

I am very grateful for the results and for the fact that, better late than never, L took a positive step towards ensuring that he might stay around a bit.

Oh -- and I won a 6-month free membership at a local gym! So now I can take action, too -- Do as I DO, not just do as I SAY. Wish us both luck.

Friday, May 7, 2010

It's sn*wing...

(above photo of my Rav 4, now with Florida plates... you can see where my loyalties are!)

Yes, it is... and it is not very common (so I am told) that all of April was snowfall-free, only to have snow flurries on May 7. People, it will be Mother's Day on Sunday -- a day that we celebrate by giving our moms flowers and other signs of SPRING. The local TV weather forecasters tell us that it will have an inch or more accumulation overnight, followed by rapid melting Saturday morning. That does NOT, however, make my heart sing. Ugh! Damned cold weather. Obviously, the Goldwing has NOT been out of the garage since we returned.

(following photos:
--- driveway leading away from the house out on Island Lake;
--- neighbor's dog posing down at the edge of the lake, along with two ducks for just general effect;
--- a Florida-plated F-350 truck;
--- snow on the barbee;
--- there IS a pontoon under that snow somewhere!)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Yes, I am still here...

*** I finished a post dated March 28th, that I had inadvertently left "hanging" in unplublished status. You might want to check that one out, too.

So -- a brief update on nothing in particular and everything in general...

We've settled into a routine here -- since L has retained the two guys who kept the shop running while we were in Florida, I don't feel quite so pressured to be there with him all of the time. Although I will go in and do labeling (apply the labels by hand -- this is a SMALL operation) when necessary.

This Saturday L's son G had a promotion ceremony at the Air National Guard base here in Duluth. He was promoted to Chief Master Sergeant, which is the highest rank obtainable by an enlisted person (as opposed to the other line of promotions that is available to officers). Quite a nice ceremony, capped by a speech that G gave. He thanked all those who had been instrumental in his life and was emotional at points in the delivery of the speech. I like L's "kids" (yes, I know they are adults with their own lives, etc.) and I think it works both ways. L's ex-wife was there (I knew that she would be) and L's daughter L (and her kids and husband), and of course, G's wife was there, too. Plus other friends of G's -- he is a well-liked man at the base and just generally viewed the same around this town.

L has been working on the trailer that we bought before leaving Florida. We loaded the Rav 4 on it, for the journey back home -- a simple flat-bed trailer, really. L has welded a gate/ramp for the trailer, so that we can load the Goldwing on the trailer when we want to use the motorcycle. He lives on a dirt/gravel road that is NOT kind to motorcycles, and we can tow the trailer behind the F-350 with its cargo (the Goldwing) when we want to go riding. We'll have to do advance planning for this, but we want to maintain the integrity of the bike - so this was the solution. He is very talented with things he can and will tackle -- knew just how to measure the components for this ramp and how he wanted it to work.

We'll be taking my mother out for Mother's Day (something I have not been able to do for years). L belongs to the local Elks chapter, and they are hosting a brunch this Sunday. I know that there will be TOO much food (for both Mom and me), but she and I can split things that we might want to have a "taste" of, but don't want to fill up on. Of all the cousins on my dad's side of the family, my sis and I are the only ones who still have a living parent. And Mom was NOT the youngest of the aunts and uncles, although she was on the younger end of the spectrum. She will be 83 this September.

My sis and her guy are flying to the West Coast this week. They will pick up an old VW that her #2 son and his friend found out there, and have had it updated, restored, whatever, to make it roadworthy. So they will take this old VW Beetle (I think it is an early 70's model) and drive it back to MN over several days. They plan to take back roads and in her words, "See America." She has always wanted this model of car, she said -- it's a red convertible. Their fleet of vehicles is growing, just as ours is!

Well, gotta get some things done, so I will finish this and post it. Hope it doesn't have a lot of typos!