2016 finally ended by Barbara Edwards

2016 was a rollercoaster ride. Not the fun one at an amusement park, but a shock after shock. My husband was diagnosed with bladder cancer. He started with chemo that hurt his kidneys and he had his bladder removed along with his prostate, two lymph nodes and six inches of his small intestine to rebuild the drainage duct. I learned more than I wanted to know.

img_0215He had complications that resulted in his gall bladder being removed and a collapsed lung. Four months later he was home and doing better. It took him all summer and fall to get back his strength and routine.

During the summer I got an inquiry on my ancestry.com account asking about my deceased daughter. It turned out to be my grand-daughter, her child, looking for family. She’d been adopted and her father had claimed there was no family for her. Just grandparents, five uncles with spouses, a dozen cousins and a half brother they didn’t know about.

Thank you, God, for answering twenty years of prayer that her children would be taken care of. I now have spoken with my three grand-daughters. It is difficult to know what to say. They are scattered across country and my husband and I are thinking about a road trip to at least the closest.

My book was rejected by a big publisher. Sigh. Another asked me to remove a sub-plot and its back to work. Otherwise my writing has been slow. Even my blogs have been difficult.

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Most of my family gathered for Christmas Eve and did a silly grab bag involving colorful socks. My oldest son and his wife had her son for company in another state.

On Christmas morning my oldest son’s wife Linda had a massive heart attack and later died. She was a wonderful woman who loved my son as much as he loved her. She called me her Mom. I don’t know why things like this happen. I don’t blame God. I may never understand.

So here I am. At my computer, determined to write my stories. To have a good year. To remember Linda with love. To welcome my grand-daughters, and in another sweet moment, my grand-son’s wife calls her two children my great-grand-children.

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Rereading ‘Savers’ is like eating comfort food by Barbara Edwards

The stress of my husband’s heart attack, even with the hopeful outcome, left me exhausted. I didn’t realize how much until I looked at my current manuscript, a short Christmas story due December first and suggestions from an editor for rewrites for another short novel. I haven’t worked on anything since his attack.

Queen Mary 2 in Bar Harbor, Maine

Not that I didn’t have ideas churning in my head screaming to be let out. I didn’t have the energy. When I sat in front of my computer I was just tired. The opportunity to go on vacation, actually leave the house with the dirty dishes, laundry, and unmowed lawn for ten days on a cruise sounded like heaven. Who could refuse.

I packed my computer. I said I would get back in the groove. Instead I took the advice of another writer friend. I sat on a deck chair and watched the waves. I took naps. I smiled at my husband and

From end to end a thousand feet

told him to have fun as he wandered the ship. I took advantage of my kindle to reread some old favorites like “This Rough Magic” by Mary Stewart, several by Barbara Michaels, the first twenty in the Death series by JD Robb… Did I mention I’m a prolific reader?

The writers provided a remembered pleasure, a recognition that some things never change, that you can find a kind of comfort in knowing the end and just enjoying the power of the words to carry the reader to another world.

Sailing away

Getting back to life as normal hasn’t occurred yet. Unpacking, doing laundry, getting my dog back from her  favorite  family other than me, and shopping for groceries took the first couple days.  I spent hours deleting old email since my connection to the internet cost me $2.99 per minute and I put everyone on digest. And I missed Skhye’s class on Triberr. Shoot.

To get back to my point. I am happy to say I feel better. My husband is still improving day by day.

Maybe life will never truly return to the old normal. Knowing that my favorite books remain to provide pleasure helped me to move forward. Better for my waist than comfort food.

Here are all the places I can be found:

Author Website: http://www.barbaraedwards.net

Facebook: http://facebook.com/BarbaraEdwards

Ancient Blood buy link: http://on.fb.me/naHRY5

Twitter: http://twitter.com/barb_ed

Authors Den: http://authorsden.com/barbaraedwards

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/barbaraedward

Please drop by to Friend me, Like me, or read an excerpt.

 

Playing catch-up on my promise to share his heart attack with you by Barbara Edwards

Bill Edwards

There is no simple way to recover from a heart attack. Impatience makes the waiting, the slow rebuilding almost too much to handle. I hate watching my husband crab about the lack of anything to watch on TV. He doesn’t watch television under normal circumstances. Despite his interest in my writing he doesn’t read books either.

He likes to be busy. He’ll l spend hours shopping for the right tool to finish a job. He’s hop in the truck and visit the lumberyard. Only he can’t right now. I have to drive him and he doesn’t like being chauffeured around. And I don’t enjoy taking him: to the hospital for blood-work or for rehab therapy; To the doctor’s office for check-ups;   or for that dragging cough.

So he has pneumonia and has to be admitted again. Only this time he’s awake enough to complain bitterly about the food, the floor, the beds, the other patients. Why can’t they give him medicine and let him stay at home?

I have to admit I gave a sigh of relief. I’m so pooped. If he needs to be on IV antibiotics, then the hospital is the best place. I slept twelve hours that first night and woke with a severe cough. No joke. I called my doctor and made and appointment. I am diagnosed with bronchitis- not quite pneumonia but close enough to scare me silly. I didn’t know that pneumonia is catching, but it is if your defenses are down.

So I take heavy-duty antibiotics. I take cough medicine with codeine to help me sleep and I visit the hospital daily. He gets better faster than I do, but he’s there for five days.

To my horror, a dear friend’s husband dies and I don’t hear the news for days.  They are in my prayers.

So my husband is home again. He spends a lot of time on the phone complaining. I don’t even ask who he’s garnering sympathy from. They don’t live with him, pick up his mess, cook or wash. They don’t get his meds arranged so all he has to do is take them.

In another couple days, he’ll go to have his heart checked for permanent damage. Maybe when he has the facts, he’ll be more positive. He doesn’t see the big picture he. He’s alive.

Don’t be snarky about prayer by Barbara Edwards

My sister suffered from diabetes for most of her adult life and lost kidney function. I prayed daily for her recovery. I prayed for her to get a transplant. I believed that God would answer with the wonderful miracle of health.
When she died after years on the transplant waiting list, I screamed my rage. “Damn you, God. I’ll never speak to you again,” I vowed.
I repeated my promise daily as I ranted at Him for taking this wonderful person from my life.
It took me two years to realize that I was still praying. Maybe not in church or on my knees, but the words were aimed to God’s ears.
To my shock He helped ME to heal.
Some things happen the way they are meant to happen. I still cry about the loss of my sister.
I also have long conversations with God. A little one-sided at times, but He has answered me over the years.
Prayer is an odd thing since you need to believe first. The methods varied from religion to religion. Tibetan prayer wheels spin in the wind. Incense burns in the Orient wafting prayers upwards with the smoke. Prayer rugs are spread three times a day to focus the conscious on the center of the Muslim religion. Worry beads are fingered in Middle-Eastern pockets. The Rosary with its repetition of the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be, comforts Christians with familiar prayer.
Several years ago I read a scientific study done in an attempt to verify the power of prayer. Machines were used to measure all kinds of energy. The researchers were surprised by the results. When people pray the energy can be measured.
The more people praying together as in a house of worship, the more powerful the energy waves became.
So I’ve reached the point of my blog.

Barbara and Bill in a happy time

So many friends and acquaintances offered prayers for my husband’s recovery after his heart attack that I lost count of the numbers. I am so grateful for your help and support.
Thank you for your prayers.
I truly believe that every one of you added so much strength that the prayers reached God and he answered.
My husband’s struggle still isn’t over, but he’s getting better daily.

Please keep praying as he recovers.
I’ll pray for you, too.

Visit my website http://www.barbaraedwards.net or follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/Barb_ed

Don’t let your husband’s heart attack kill you

“Don’t let your husband’s heart attack kill you,” our cardiologist warned.

I nodded absently, my mind on a hundred details of taking my husband home from the hospital
Yes, he made it. Now he’s going to recover and rehab. He doesn’t need to go into a facility after all. He can walk the hospital hall, feed himself and use the bathroom. Everything is paced at a crawl. The next four to six weeks will determine what the rest of his life will be like.
The heart recovers very slowly and any extra burden can hinder the progress.

It’s like getting hit with a baseball bat. Initially everything goes numb. The heart muscle goes into hibernation from the shock. This prevents further damage if you heed the warnings and take it easy. Rest is the great restorer.

He’s to rest, so who has to do all the fetching and carrying? Of course it’s me.
Take him home. Set him up in the living room with the tv changer, something to drink and a newspaper. Go to the pharmacy for his medicine: eight prescriptions that he never took before. Remind me to tell you how that got messed up. Take them home and put the right dosage in the right dispenser for am or pm. Go to the grocery store for food. I sort of depleted the fridge and cabinets over the last week. Unload the bags and bring them inside. Make his meal without using salt, fat or anything with vitamin K since he’s on Warfarin. Get the bedroom ready so he can get up when he needs to without stumbling over anything.

Bill and Dixie enjoying the surf

Our dog had decided he was gone too long and if she lays on his feet he can’t leave again. She is right in the middle of the floor, but I don’t have the heart to shoo her aside. She missed him, too.
I sit down just as he wakes, ready for a nap myself.
I’m tired and when my son calls, I realize I lost a day.
My husband needs extra care. He doesn’t want to sit and wait to get better. If he feels a little better, he’s up and walking around. Then the fatigue hits and he growls as he climbs back into the recliner.
He is angry. Shot-tempered. Impatient. And I’m in the target zone. I understand.

I really do since I have my own heart problem to deal with.
That’s probably the source of the doctor’s dire warning.

I’m tired. But I can’t tell you how happy I am that he made it. Sure it’s a long haul to full recovery, but we’ll do it one day at a time.

 

Doctor-eze or What did you say?

I think that my brain stopped working under real stress. I didn’t understand what the nurses were telling me about my husband;s condition. The cardiology floor is a busy place and I sat with him for hours gathering snippets of information about heart attacks, stents, after-care, ekgs, sonograms until I felt stuffed as a Thanksgiving turkey.
I woke up after a terrible night and drove to the hospital so early I beat the valet service. I arrived hours before visitors are allowed. I wanted to speak directly with his doctor. Do you understand that our cardiologist is part of a large group practice. The good part is that there is a continuity of care. The bad part is you never know which doctor will be covering on a specific day.
The doctor on duty had a pleasant manner and to my horror I heard myself ask if he had graduated from high school yet?
OMG. A bad start to a serious discussion. Luckily he had a sense of humor. He actually took the time to explain to me why my husband is on the medicine he’s taking. How they monitor the dosage and what to expect over the next few days.
So here I am. Depending on his progress: his warfarin will be adjusted until he reaches the proper dosage to keep another clot from forming; he’ll go to rehab if he needs to recover muscle mass from lying in bed; he’ll improve slowly over the next four to six weeks.
So. Another day to practice my patience with my patient.
Thanks for your prayers and support in this difficult time.
I’ve always believed that prayer works miracles.

 

 

 

Patient or patience: a lesson to learn

Waiting is the hardest part of being the one not in the hospital. I have no patience in real life. I want everything done right now. Be prompt even early.
That’s not what happens in the hospital. I wait for the nurse to finish her (I am surprised by the number of male nurses. I guess i’m old-fashioned.) or his giving of medicine, checking vital signs, checking the lines or asking questions. I wait for the nurses aid to do her share of the care. I wait for the doctor to make his rounds and I wait impatiently for his answers.
I know my husband will be on a low salt, low fat diet. He’ll also need to avoid special foods that interfere with warfarin, a blood thinner. He’s already complaining.
It’s a good sign that he’s grumbling about the bed, the blankets, the air-conditioning and the food. He’s the the patient, but I’m the one who will need patience.