What now? (continued)
I had only begun to contemplate what retirement might mean to me: leisure strolls through quaint little towns, early morning fishing trips, exploring the Redwoods in California or staring into a star-lit sky in Wyoming. These hints of a relaxed, comfortable life with my spouse were just beginning to take shape.
A mere two months slipped by before the waters muddied. My spouse’s heart attack wiped the board of expectations with one quick swipe, leaving only a bleary film of what might have been.
Blessed is the only word that describes the reality that my husband’s life was spared. Not once, but twice, his heart stopped. A skillful hospital staff, a magnificent defibrillator and the grace of God brought him back to life.
Much like retirement, the first few days were filled with joyous appreciation of possibilities. Soon, reality set in and changed the direction of my sails. Survival mode consumed the following year. Unspoken fears crept into the recesses of my mind until the depths of normalcy were no longer familiar. Sleep became a gift offered in increments of an hour or two at a time.
Blood pressure cuffs and nitro tablets became the tools that occupied my hands instead of casting rods and fishing bait. Unexplained chest pain, mid-section spasms, a surge of adrenalin that triggers unexpected responses, sends us to the emergency room. Instead of deciding locations for our next vacation, we labor over when to call for an ambulance or risk the ten minute drive to the hospital.
Even the simplicity of grabbing a bite to eat became diminished by the limited selection of food while adhering to a special diet. The complex balancing and timing of medicines dictate the hour on the clock. Day trips and weekend get-a-ways are things of the past. The circumference of our world is limited to the time it takes to reach the Emergency Room. Doctor appointments fill the squares on the calendar.
There are good days, when visits with friends and relatives bring laughter and distraction from the new norm. Walking provides a daily source for burning the unused energy that escalates the anxiety building inside. Sunny days offer an escape drive to the river and provide a break from television and computer games.
The bearings of my new course have brought many exciting rewards in addition to precious more time with my husband of forty years. A renewed focus on writing emerged as I became intimate with my laptop. One book published, Peaks and Valleys, one on the way, Burning Embers. A friendship developed from the Pen to Paper Writing Club opened new avenues for reaching readers and writers. I had never read a blog, much less wrote one, before I met author Amanda Bretz. New possibilities surface on the horizon.
What now? I have no idea, but I can’t wait to find out!