Friday, 26 October 2012

Riding high in the Kindle Charts

What an amazing week it's been.

We've been settling in to our new temporary accommodation (whilst our log home is being built), which I have to admit is proving to be no great hardship. Having sold our house, we're now staying with our son, his wife, and our two little granddaughters. (You know, the ones I'm always bragging about on Twitter!). They've been out of the country on holiday for the week and due back tomorrow.

The best news is that my husband has improved immensely and continues to do so. Thing is, if he improves any more he'll be a damn nuisance!

And the next best news is that Language of Thieves, my debut novel, reached the dizzy heights of  #2 in the Kindle charts! Thank you to all those who bought it. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

That emotional high was equal to when my novel was accepted for publication last year. I cannot believe my good fortune after what I can only describe as one of the most difficult years in my entire life. Of course, these highs are short-lived and hold little substance. It was great while it lasted.

Somebody once said: "Don't take life too seriously. None of us is going to get out out of it alive."

Good advice.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Five months down the road less traveled

I feel a need to move on from 'Lost in February.' It's nearing the end of June and we're five months down the road now. Rather than resent time lost - I'm looking more to lessons learned. The first one being, gratitude. Gratitude for many things: having a car, able to afford petrol to travel to the hospital & back every day for two months, a loving supporting family, two loving sons - wonderful, caring step children and good friends. But mainly, I'm truly grateful for the life of my husband.

The second important thing I've learned, is patience. Patience only came after much frustration. And when patience arrived, it was quite sudden, and almost tangible - like a precious gift placed upon me. Suddenly,  I was no longer desperately trying to speed up his recovery, which I couldn't anyway. But when patience appeared, recovery accompanied it. Now it's just a matter of time... and.... patience.

He's certainly much tougher than I ever thought; and much braver than the fictional hero's that live in my head. He's regained his voice, good looks, and also a little weight. 

Yesterday he had his fist cup of tea in five months. This morning we shared tea together - it was sheer delight. 

I'm all gushing but he's very reserved. He thinks before he speaks - I don't. He takes everything in his stride, while I battle all the way.  

I've learned to love, accept, let go, play, laugh, cry, and not to take myself too seriously. But above everything else, I believe I've learned a little more about the importance of prayer and how much I need to incorporate it into my daily life.  

Thank you, dear Twitter pals, for your support and friendship, and making me laugh when I felt like crying.  

Friday, 9 March 2012

Lost in February

This is just a very brief outline of what’s been happening these last few weeks and explains my absence from Twitter. Of course it would be impossible to include a blow by blow account of all the traumatic events that took place. But what I can say quite categorically is this. Without a belief in the God of my understanding I would have fallen at the first hurdle.

Thank you to my wonderful friends who have supported me through what I can only describe as a living nightmare. They know who they are.

The weather was cold and bleak as we headed north up the A19 to the James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough on the 6th February. My husband’s operation for a triple bypass and aortic valve graft had been cancelled for the 17thJanuary and rescheduled for the 7th Feb.
The operation was vital. He was a heart attack waiting to happen, said the consultant.  At the pre-assessment we were told he’d be in hospital between five and fifteen days, and knowing E, he’d be out in the five.

The operation was cancelled again on the 7th because of an emergency that had cropped up at 4am. Don’t know a lot about surgery – but you don’t want a tired surgeon slicing open your chest & decoking your ticker! I asked E did he wanted me to fetch him home and take him back the next day? He said no, they’re going to operate the following day, so I’ll stay.

The day of the operation was a tense one for me. I telephoned to see if he was back from theatre, having been told at the pre-assessment how long the op would take. They said no, he’s not back yet. I knew instinctively something was wrong just by the length of time he’s been down in theatre. Later that evening they said, yes he’s back in the recovery room, telephone in the morning.

The next morning I rang. “Your husband had complications, excessive bleeding and oozy connections. He’s still on a ventilator – we’ll try again soon; see if he’ll breathe on his own.”  This went on for three attempts over thirty six hours. By now I was going out of my mind; unable to think straight, sleep, eat, or function on any normal level.

I was by his bedside in intensive care – talking to him, willing him to breathe. I knew he was there... somewhere... floating beneath the surface; able to hear my every word. I begged, willed, and prayed for him to breathe. Eventually, he did. There were tears of joy from me and his children.

Three days later his heart went out of rhythm – they had to restart his heart with those electric clamp-type things - and once again he was back on a ventilator. I remember saying. “I love you, darling, if you can hear me squeeze my hand." he squeezed it!
My husband spent two whole weeks in intensive care. While there he was prayed over and wept over, by me and his six children. There cannot be a man more loved than he was during that time. 

The day I rang (as I did every morning at 6am & every night at midnight) and they said he’s been moved to high dependency, the relief was enormous.

At the moment he's fed by an NG tube. Yes, I know all the medical terms now – wish the hell I didn’t! These last five weeks I’ve learned how to read those heart monitors that you see on TV.  I can read blood pressure charts, pulse rates, oxygen levels, artificial feeding, calorie & nutritional value. I know the James Cook Hospital like the back of my hand.  Believe me, when E comes home, I don’t want to see inside another one for a long time!

I travel the 50 mile round trip every day as I have done every day for almost five weeks. Patients & staff now know my face; smile and say hello as I make my way to Ward 28. I get home about 7.45 in the evening, heat up a ready meal; food I’ve never eaten in my life, but I can’t be bothered to prepare a meal for myself. Everything’s usually homemade. My husband is waiting for a transfer to a hospital eight miles away. He’s waiting for a bed.

The stroke he sustained has left him with a paralysed left vocal chord and unable to speak, and the inability to swallow. I’m expecting him to make a full recovery in the next few months - I refuse to buy into doctor’s negativity. They always paint the worst picture for some reason, a reason I’m not particularly interested in. I’ve learned over the years, they don’t know everything; much less so of the human spirit, from whence recovery springs.

Three days ago, E was waiting eagerly for me when I arrived at visiting time. He had a pen paper ready. He wrote: what is the day? Date? How long have I been here? I said four weeks, he wrote, I’ve lost February.  I’m hoping for a soft landing, he wrote, and smiled. He'd have had a softer landing jumping out of an aircraft without a parachute!

I’m so looking forward to my darling E coming home soon. We’ve had 37 years together and there’s many more to be had. We’ve a life to live – and believe me, we’ll not waste one a precious minute of it. The house is on the market tomorrow – our cabin will soon become a reality, and the campervan is ready for the road.

Apart from that - I miss my cup of tea in bed every morning.