Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Nightmares promise an ending.  When you wake, you have only the remnants.  Nothing more.  Nightmares cannot hurt you in the light of day.  While horrible, nightmares are brief, lasting only as long as you sleep.

People suggest that I'm living one.  I have a husband with an inexplicable heart condition that, to date, has merited so many visits to the hospital that we now know the weekly menu by heart.  The experience sounds like a perversion of a Christmas carol: four hospital stays, three surgeries, two ER visits, and one un-healing heart...

Not particularly lyrical, but true nonetheless.

I wish it was a nightmare, readers.  Because then it would have an ending.  I could wake up and I would have my husband in bed next to me tomorrow morning.  I could wake up, too, and know that he would wake up able to cut the lawn in one afternoon, that he would be able to take steps without getting too winded, and that I would never have to tell Gavin that daddy was "having a bad day" again.

As it stands, we have what I am optimistically calling a "permanent lifestyle change." And, if the truth must be told, it doesn't seem particularly nightmarish.

Don't mistake me here.  It's terrifying.  I hate talking about where he keeps important paperwork and watching him write out bills ahead of time.  All of these things are "just in case."  But, the truth is, that Erik's condition is not terminal.  And, for that, I am eternally grateful.

Longtime readers, as well as those who knew me when, know that I watched my father die and that it took twenty-odd months for the cancer to do its job.  I know enough about "terminal," thank you.  Knowing that my husband isn't terminal is, well, wonderful.

We try to laugh as much as we can.  We eat dinner as a family as much as humanly possible, given our schedules.  This past Saturday we had our family portrait taken.  Last weekend we went to Phipps.

He isn't terminal, but that doesn't mean that we continue as usual.

This blog isn't about how we are rediscovering life.  That would be trite and cliched.  This blog is what I'm writing as I eat ice cream from the container and as I drink a glass of homemade white zinfandel.  As I wonder if I'll be able to sleep tonight.  This blog is a culmination of today, of sitting in the hospital while the husband had his pretests and had his medication changed, of sitting in three different waiting areas over the duration of six hours, of trying not to think about my son crying last night because he "had a headache."

When you sit in the hospital and wait, even when you know that it's just routine tests, you think about everything that could go wrong.  In-between, you get calls from the car dealership, letting you know that the car's oil has been changed.  Unbidden, though, comes the thought that you'll probably keep the minivan and sell the sedan because you'll only need one car.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


It's 12:24 a.m.
I burned my finger on a hot coffee mug.
The television is on.

Yesterday  Erik and I marked twenty years since the day we met. Twenty years ago, it was a Saturday night, there was a tremendous snow storm, and Seton Hill was hosting a "House Quake II" party in Sullivan Lounge.

As a bright-eyed frosh, I went. Dragging my roommate with me. I wore black stirrup pants and a beaded flowered shirt.

And I met him.

He was the tall, quiet guy that I had been stealing glances at ever since we returned from Christmas break. Just as my roommate and I were ready to leave, he walked in. After covertly watching him stand off to the side for a while, taking things in, I walked up to him.

"Are you going to stand there all night or dance with me?"
I swear to God, those were the words that came out of my mouth.

Twenty years later, we laugh at how bold I was.

And now, tonight, I sit here. Alone. My burned finger smarts. The television is still on.

And my best friend of twenty years is in the hospital with an atrial flutter that was discovered during a routine physical today. They're monitoring him tonight and testing for clots tomorrow. We're hearing worrisome words, but none particularly devastating right now. The head of the cardiology department himself came in to meet with us.

Right now, we're hoping he'll come home tomorrow. Tonight, I'm home. Gav is with my mom, having a sleepover. It only makes sense that, at some point, this would happen. Everyone gets older, everyone's health changes. But, as cliched as it sounds, doesn't this happen to other people and isn't he too young? No, don't answer that.

I keep staring at the wedding portrait over the fireplace, as well as at the family portrait that hangs to its left.

My finger hurts. The television is still on.

It's 12:51 a.m.