We learned a few lessons we didn’t ask for

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Time has been flying lately. The days didn’t have enough hours, the nights were too short. Christmas arrived too early, and the New Year come by almost unnoticed.

We did manage to put our 7-Dollar-Tree up December 18th. I decorated the tree, and my husband put the ornament hooks on the decorations. We have made progress, our last follow up appointment with the Cardiologist went very well. My husband is allowed back to work, starting January 13th, of course with restrictions and on light duty for the first four weeks.

He is relieved and so am I. We will get our normal back, the worst is behind us. I am exhausted and tired, I am ready to take a break, anytime, anywhere. Taking care of a heart patient, unprepared with a full work schedule had been a bit much.

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Someone was rude enough to leave a comment stating I would be a better caretaker if I would have had children. People’s cruelty and ignorance don’t surprise me much anymore. There are too many out there, and they show their ugly face way too often lately.ย 

Imagine! A few diaper changes, a little bit of a fever, a cold now and then, all this would have easily prepared me to take care of a patient after open-heart surgery. Who would have thought? Life can be easy -for the uneducated and simple-minded I suppose.

Taking care of your spouse after open-heart surgery -or any other life-saving surgery- is a tough call. How much easier it was to take care of my dying friend or my sick Grandmother. Gentleness and kindness come naturally to most of us if we love the person we take care of.

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MAKE HIM or PUSH HIMย is so different and, oh so hard. “Do the exercise four times a day,” “Walk outside in the cold or in the house,” and “Step on these stairs and down again.” I think that was the toughest part. Watching him work through the pain was difficult.

Interesting enough his chest didn’t hurt him, it was the leg the harvested the vein from, which bothered him the most -still does.

Bossing him around was hard. I wanted to give him a break, wanted to tell him to sit down and take it easy, but that’s not what it was all about. I pushed, and he let me, and in the end, we proudly managed to walk 3,300 steps a day. 1.2 miles in the park and 43 steps up and down in our house in snail speed.

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The doctor called him a rockstar and so did I. Lately I have been his walker caddy, he didn’t need it anymore. We just carried it along because we thought we had to. Now its folded up in a closet, waiting to be forgotten.

He scored 52 points of 56 possible ones and was released from Physical Therapy, and allowed to go back to work. We have worked hard and we got rewarded. He had started out with only 19 points four weeks ago.

Soon cardiac rehab will begin, and there he will learn how to live a heart-healthy lifestyle. I suppose we both will learn a lot, and I know we will listen.

People around us have been very supportive. We live in a state which doesn’t pay temporary disability. If you are out of work, too bad -you are on your own. Help, of course, is available for the poorest of the poor, but not for the middle class. You are supposed to have a family to fall back on. What if you don’t? Well, let me tell you.

The people around us were phenomenal. Perhaps it was the magic of the Christmas season. His coworkers collected money and they surprised us with a few envelopes full of $20 bills. Some of his colleagues gave up their gift cards.

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Students and customers came by and brought us gift certificates even food. A pre-cooked meal comes in handy when you have your hands full with life. People amazed me, surprised me, made me cry and they made sure my core belief, that most of the people in this world are good, got boosted.

I worked and worked harder, even took a commercial project on which kept me up until 2 a.m. A restaurant needed their booth seats repaired. They brought them by 8 pm in the evening and picked them up the next morning at 8 am. Booth Seating is money! No seat, no money! I understand and I felt grateful. We have been lucky, the job came along when I needed it the most.

But, as much as I hate to admit it, I am almost useless after working nights. Was there ever a time in our life when we were dancing until the sun came up? How did we survive back then?

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I learned a few lessons about our bank and credit score system. I was naive enough to call our bank. Ask for a short term loan in the amount of $1,500, which was not enough to ask for I learned quickly. Also, we don’t owe enough money, our credit is not the best. Good grief, what happened!

We are dept free, this is what happened. We don’t have a mortgage, don’t have a car payment -just recently bought a car payment which is not showing up yet. But the worst is, we don’t have open credit card accounts. We thought we would be smart to pay for everything with our debit card, turns out we were not.

The American credit score system is based on debt only. You have to owe money, then you are worthy to borrow money. You have to have at least five open accounts -including mortgage and car payments -to have good credit. Of course, neither credit cards can be maxed out. Use only 75% of what you allowed to owe, and you are on top of the lender’s list.

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Our beautiful economy is based on debt. The way we are judged is based on the money we owe. I couldn’t help research other country’s credit score systems. Quite an eyeopener and very thought-provoking.

It doesn’t matter anymore. We will be fine. I have work lined up into March, there will frequent paychecks from my husband by the end of January, and the beginning of February will be a game-changer. Just four weeks, hang in there!

His shoulder surgery is now scheduled for February 19th. From this point on Workmen’s comp has to send us a weekly check, and there will be a nice settlement coming our way after his recovery. Go figure!

No matter how hard I try, I can’t see the logic in all of it. I suppose the system is set up the way it is for a reason. I just wish somebody would explain it to me. Perhaps rich guys made the rules, not knowing how much suffering they would spread with it -or perhaps they knew, and did it because of it. Nah…nobody would be that cruel, right?

In the end, it all won’t matter. We were lucky, we will be fine! We learned a few lessons we didn’t ask for.

We are fine! We are alive! We are strong! We are happy! Screw the rest!

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26 thoughts on “We learned a few lessons we didn’t ask for

  1. Taking care of my Dad for the last 6 months of his life gave me a much bigger respect to people who do care giving. Taking care of someone you love with a medical condition is hard. It is hard physically and emotionally. You have my utmost respect for caring for your husband during his recovery and still working. You are amazing!!!

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  2. I am glad for the things that are going well, and think the thoughtless comment which someone made about having children to be foolish (I never had them either, and that’s just fine). We might all be better or worse at something if we had had other experiences–like, time in jail or being in a street gang or war would prepare people for certain thing that they might not be ready for otherwise, but we can learn what we need to learn in some other ways. Best wishes for it all, and it is so wonderful that things are getting better in many ways and that your coworkers were so kind.

    I also have no credit cards, since I got in over my head once decades ago, paid it off even though it was inflated and not fair, and gave them up since I hate them and find them unfair and unpleasant and all that. My credit score may be poor too, since I am self-employed and married to someone self-employed, so they have no evidence that I spend wastefully!

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    • Many parallels I see. (Yoda Voice)
      I too got myself into credit card debt years ago and getting out of it took longer than I had hoped for.
      I am self-employed as well and I think we spend money within our means. Our small nest-egg had been melting away last year, but it will soon be refilled, I have no doubt.
      I don’t want to be judged by a number. I refuse to be judged by a number and most importantly, I refuse to pay high interests rates.
      Nothing wrong with a car loan or mortgage, nothing wrong with a creditcard account used for emergencies only, but this is not how it works anymore. People live far above their income standard and will continue to do so, until one day, the debt balloon will explode -again.

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      • Yes, it seems some of us have learned that debt is really really bad and painful and like eating dessert first and then having to pay for it over and over later, even if we felt forced into the situation of debt because of whatever circumstances. I know people who are maybe 40 years old who have so much debt that they feel they can never get out of it, and so they feel their lives are over. What a terrible thing.

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  3. Great to hear the health news, and fingers crossed for the next stages of recovery. Just for info, our credit rating system is as weird as yours. I use three different agencies to check mine: from the same base data Iโ€™m rated as fair, good or excellent, depending which one I choose to believe. I donโ€™t have any credit either, and they all tell me I should. Strange value set! I hope you continue to be in a position to ignore them.

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  4. Bridget, I think you are both superstars and I hope that 2020 proves to be a good year for you both. It won’t be great because there are still worries ahead which you have to negotiate but, together, I’m sure you will be much stronger before too long. Love and blessings to you for a healthier year ahead.

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    • Just last night I told him that I would take two weeks off the moment his recovery after his shoulder surgery. I will not cook or clean, I will sleep and read, drink and eat merciless. Will play and spend days in my Pj’s. That’s the plan and I will stick to it -until I decide otherwise. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. You have done very well with caring for your husband during his recovery and with how you’ve chosen to live your life. There is so much more to your story than what you’ve shared here yet you are far more authentic than many people and I admire this about you. None of us can really understand what it’s like to walk in another’s shoes but when we empathize with one another it greatly helps. I don’t know if you’ve read the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz but he speaks at great length about the cruelty of others and how it’s more of a problem with them than with us. He explains it much better and while I know it’s easier said than done, moving on, and I know you will, beyond the ignorance of this comment will be greatly beneficial to you. There are so many things you’ve said in this post that speaks to the general decline of our culture and to your credit you’ve kept your head above it all. The excess, greed, and general apathy about how we live is going to be our downfall unless we all come together and do better. In my opinion, we are living with a system designed to hold us hostage and we let it because of our insatiable human desire. Sorry, I didn’t mean for this to be a rant, I get so angry when good people are taken advantage of and you do not deserve any of this treatment. As testimony to the kindness of people, you and your husband were the recipients of the goodwill of others. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help out. ~Steph

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  6. So happy to know hubby is on the mend. What a relief! But, yes, I understand the exhaustion. You just feel mentally and physically drained. As for the kid comment, well my ‘patient’ was my son, and caring for a post-operative patient is not the same at all, although we did joke about the six meals a day and getting back to having solids. You’ve done well. The both of you. Here’s hoping 2020 gives you a better year. As for the debt thing, we are the same, but we have been fortunate enough to have savings. Seems that you get penalised for being thrifty though. It’s a mad, sad world which exists on debt. Take care xx

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  7. I think caring for an ailing spouse is very difficult and nothing at all like caring for a child, especially after major surgery. Bravo to you both and hope the healing continues to progress. It sounds like you both are doing wonderful jobs in a trying situation.

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  8. I just learned a “boat load” of information reading of your experience. I am really surprised, although I wonder at why I’m shocked, at what you’ve shared about our debt society! Goodness knows you fall into a category that doesn’t easily fit some norm they’re working from. You’ve been really responsible for your own debts and future, what a concept!, and that leaves you alone and without banking help when you need it? What a world!

    But what you’ve experienced in friends and family is so very valuable. You and your husband have experienced love and support, and that’s just wonderful. We really do need to hear stories of people taking care of others, because it’s all to easy to feel utterly despondent and cynical when much of what we hear is only about greed and self-interest.

    I’m delighted to hear that your husband can return to work. What you’ve been through is no small deal at all. I don’t have firsthand experience as the caregiver to a heart patient, but I’ve witnessed it many times, and i know that beyond the diligence required, one thing, too, is handling the fear. Blessings to you and your husband for a healthy and completely emergency-free 2020! Keep sharing your experiences. Not a one of us knows what’s around the corner, and I think we need to learn about compassion and caregiving from each other.

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    • It’s surprising what we think we know and never question until we have to question it, isn’t it? I never thought about our credit score rating either. Our whole great economy is based on dept. The Billions spent during Thanksgiving and Christmas are dept most added to the dept they already have. Scary, when you think about it.

      I felt rattled when I learned I wasn’t worth borrow “quickly” $1500 without refinancing something, which also is not logical because all of it would have taken way too long. I have some original artwork, now it’s for sale on eBay and I almost hope nobody buys it. I hate to part. Modern, colorful collages and of course, there is a story behind it, how I got them.

      Not having family stings sometimes, but oh well. It is what it is and what doesn’t break or kill us, makes us stronger.

      Compassion is needed these days but I fear too many only have if for the ones they love. I wish I could take the angst away. People without fear and angst, imagine what a world it could be.

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      • I have really noted a steep decline in people showing compassion for others, and I’ve wondered if it isn’t because people are operating on fear and stress to the extent that others are invisible. I think it is really hard to ever know what someone else is going through, but we do know what it means to feel vulnerable. All of us have had some time in our lives when we wondered if we had what it took to get through. And to not be sensitive to that in others is a shortcoming. I really do hope that with your husband returning to work you’ll feel a little lighter burden simply by the comforts of routine. I think when we’ve been through something like you’ve both been through it’s a little like when we’ve had a fall and sustained a concussion. It takes a long time to feel mentally clear and open again, but it will come. Just be gentle with yourselves, since the world “out there” isn’t very good at that! I do think you have some good friends. They must be rooting for you, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • About a week or so ago I stumbled upon this quote by Victor Lebow โ€œOur enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfactions, our ego satisfactions, in consumption.โ€ It was included in this interesting video “The Story of Stuff Project”: https://youtu.be/9GorqroigqM

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  9. Congrats to reaching the points to go back to work and the financial system does Baffle me too.
    Sorry for the rude people and their comments – so many folks can be so narrow minded and plain stupid

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