Friday, February 12, 2016

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

When you sit in a waiting room your mind runs through a thousand possibilities. Emotions like waves try to pull you in different directions on a vast ocean under a gray sky. Kristi and Melissa spent the day with me, helping me stay calm and keeping my mind distracted while Danny was wheeled away for his ablation.

The last two weeks have been waiting, waiting, waiting. Focusing on low sodium diet, beet juice and calming calls from friends done randomly to boost his mood and lower his blood pressure.

Two weeks ago I was driving in LA traffic completing contract work, our thoughts had been to have me home for Danny's recovery as it was going to be his third ablation. Like falling off a log, until Danny called with a blood pressure reading too high for surgery. He sounded frazzled, pained, frustrated and I would have given up the contracts to fly home except I'd had a fender bender the night I'd arrived.
For twelve hours his words played through my head like warning thunder. He didn't feel good. They'd mainlined nitro and then morphine and he didn't feel good, didn't have a good feeling and he was headed to sleep.

Twelve hours of restless waiting, waiting, waiting. No word. No call.
Finally I had called him to see if I could get a nurse on the line. Danny had just woken up. They were sending him home. Blood pressure had to come down. Waiting and reschedule.

Back to yesterday, we walked up and down the block to a nearby pizza place. Kristi and Melissa talked with me, keeping things light, and just being there.
As the hours passed they didn't take the girls pager away even though I sat shaking it as if that would make it go off, sometimes squeezing It as if it would pinch someone somewhere into some kind of indication of how things were going.  I kept thinking. I used to work in a hospital doing social work. I used to talk people through stressful medical issues and offer emotional support to their loved ones.
Four hours later. The pager still wasn't broken although I'd certainly squeezed, pinched and shaken it enough. We had even started the superstitious game of if we take turns walking to the bathroom, surely it will go off. A half an hour later it finally lit up and started doing an excited tremble. We were told the doctor would meet with us. Nothing more.

At this point, my blood pressure was probably high enough to map satellite locations. We went to meet the doctor. I focused on breathing. Why hadn't they said anything about how he was doing? Why so terse and enigmatic? I've always preferred casual communication rather than formalized scheduled appointments.

We waited again. Dr Makkar came out several minutes later. Those minutes were long. He described Danny's condition. He was in recovery, would be waking up soon. He was in normal rhythm. It was solid, they'd checked and made sure they thoroughly addressed his atrial fibrillation. His heart stayed in rhythm even when they tried pushing it out. He'd start waking up in about twenty minutes and we could see him then.

Relief was a wave rushing through.

It's over a week since his surgery. He's healing. Now the frustration is just waiting. Waiting for the healing to finish. Waiting for his energy levels to bounce back. Waiting for the frustration of dealing with a hopefully resolved medical condition and the lingering effects of living with that condition for several years to pass.

What are we waiting for? Waiting for Danny to feel good. Waiting to climb mountains, canoe lakes, hike to beautiful places, to perform magic.

While we wait, we focus on reasons to smile, ways to face down anxiety, uncertainty, and on doing what we can.