Monday, March 29, 2010

Can You Believe It?

A Mountain Monday post!
Pictures first, then I will tell you what is going on.

I was already writing an obituary in my head for Ms. Tenacious. I wasn't expecting to see her again, after the last three months or so. But guess what? She is still hanging in there. Wow. What spirit she has.

Spring is here in fits and starts as is usual for a Utah spring. There is still a lot of snow on the mountains.

I love the contrast of the snow and the dark rocks and trees.

If you look close enough, you can find a promise of the Spring to come, here and there.

Junebug, can you believe she will be THREE in June?

Sweet Squid, she has the most beautiful eyes.

All the girlies love their Pop-Pop!

Buttercup will be 10 months old this next week. Her eyes are still blue, much to our delight. Her mommy, BB, spiked her hair just for me!

The Pea. Remember the unadulterated joy of childhood? She is four and half and just a hoot. She announced to her mommy and me that she will be attending "killer garden" in the fall! We laughed, she got offended.

My own personal spring has arrived. Last week, it was the strangest thing. I have been slowly getting better, but was still very tired, very brain fuzzy, (which I hate)lots of headaches, and in general just feeling not great. I was taken off my daytime O2 on the 18th. I am guessing a lot of the yuckiness was coming from trying to adjust to being on blood thinners since other folks complain about the same things. But on Sat the 20th, I woke up and felt good! Brain fuzz gone, energy up, I felt so good it was weird! Every day since then has been pretty darn wonderful. I just feel better. I guess my body adjusted. Whatever, it is great to feel better.
Being sick takes a lot of energy. I had no energy to blog, (in case you hadn't noticed) not enough energy to have my grandbabies by myself, I wasn't even reading much. I didn't even THINK about my camera, much less pick it up. It has been months since I touched it. I knew I was starting to recover when I began to think about my camera again. Now, I have enough energy to be with the grandbabies AND take pictures. It is wonderful.

Do not watch the video without a generous slathering of Cute screen on, because the cuteness is at lethal levels!

I have been hitting the gym in our apartments. Now don't get too excited, I am using the gym because I can keep an eye on my heartrate there, whereas, if I am out walking, I can't. I don't dare stress my heart. I picked up some of my records from the hospital and I was horrified at some of labs and tests. Besides being horribly anemic, I found out I was in moderate heart failure the day I went to the ER. My BNP was 621! I am actually glad we didn't know then, being told I might die was plenty to handle at the time.
I am up to 30 minutes on the treadmill and as long as I keep my heart rate in the mid 130's, I get a workout, but I don't overdo it. The first day I did it, I pushed myself too far and almost passed out. But I can be taught, I won't do that again!

I am praying the good days continue, I love feeling better, and it makes Spring that much more precious to me this year. As if the whole world is coming alive, just for me. Thank you for all your kindness, your emails,visits, phone calls, prayers, meals, flowers, cards, good thoughts and love. If you meant to make me feel loved and cherished, you did a good job!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Sabbath Musings

On Death and Dying...

But before I get to that, I am alive and doing well. My doctor said I am recovering quickly, considering how bad off I was. I am still on oxygen, but able to do more, walking quicker, and Bald Man is happy that I am helping with Little Man again. I am back to being the designated butt wiper, much to Little Man and Bald Man's delight, and my un-delight.
I get out a few times a week, mostly for dr appts, and sometimes to the store. I stick my O2 tank in that little cart and ride around. That pretty much tires me out and I come home and take a nap. I haven't ever really been this sick before, so it is a new experience, and boy do I have to be mindful of my physical self. I want to stretch myself every day, but not go so far that I am debilitated. It is a harder thing to balance than you would imagine. For the most part I feel fine, until I don't. But I am working on it.

So, back to the serious stuff.
In the ER, when they told me that this might actually kill me, I would be lying if I didn't say I was scared. I was SCARED.
Our beliefs about death come from many different places. Our family's beliefs, our religion, and our culture. The three things that have shaped my beliefs about death are being raised a Catholic, being Lakota, and being LDS (Mormon). All three of these belief systems believe in life after death, and for the Lakota, and the LDS, a circular belief of time, of always being and always been.
It is interesting to me, to note what went through my mind, as I contemplated my exit from this life. There were no regrets, nothing I felt that I needed to do, or anything that was undone. I felt at peace with my relationship with my husband, and an assurance that we were NOT done, and our relationship would continue on into forever.
I would have guessed, if you had asked me, I would have some serious misgivings about leaving my Little Man, who is so dependent on me. But you know what? I didn't! I felt in the deepest part of myself, I knew he would be okay, more okay than most. That was a big surprise.
What I felt most of all, is I wasn't done. I wasn't done loving my family. Was not done holding my grandbabies, laughing and loving them. That was all, just a sense that I couldn't leave before my grandson was born in April, before I got to hold him. No regrets, no wishing I had done more. I just wanted more of what I do, love my family. That was really reassuring, to know I really am at peace with my life and my choices. Of all the things I have done, or dreamed of doing, when it came down to the very essence of life, all that mattered was the love.
I knew I would see everyone I loved again, and I was at peace with that.

The first night, (I didn't know this until just two days ago, I was in the cardiac ICU. Ahem, kind of glad I didn't know!)in the hospital, I had a tremendous experience. At the time, I didn't understand completely what was going on, but looking back, I realize it was a near death experience, I was not completely in this world, but not in the next either. Straddling life and death as it were.
While I lay there in the bed, in the dark, I was very far away from my physical experience. I wasn't in any pain, and I really couldn't feel all that much.
What I did feel was incredible. I was at peace. Complete peace. I felt cradled and held. I could actually FEEL the prayers and good thoughts upholding me. It was transcendent. To feel wrapped in love and peace. I don't even know if I can explain it, because there was no mind chatter, no negative thoughts, no fear, just a sense of incredible love and peace. I hope I never forget how it felt, because it is something I want to hold close to my heart for the rest of my life.
I was awake most of the night, and as the night progressed, I become more and more aware of my physical self. By morning, I was very firmly back in my body, I was completely sick and miserable. The day that followed was really awful, I was in pain, and I was very tired, and I was really, really, really sick. Too sick to read or watch TV or do anything except lay there. I was very disappointed at the loss of the peace and love, I guess some part of me was expecting that experience to last. Sadly, it didn't. But because of the misery, it points out how very incredible the night before was. I am grateful. Love, love is everything. Go hug the people you love and tell them.