Today in the morning we celebrated his 1st BAB (Birthday after bypass), the first of hopefully many more to come.
Last year right about the same time I am writing this, I was hiding in the chapel of the hospital, which amused a lot of people for months. No, the sky did not fall down on me, neither was I hit by lightning. It simply was the quietest place I could find, far away from nurses and doctors I was able to listen to music during a long time of waiting.
A few hours later at 2 am, my husband was already responsive and joking around with the night nurse. Five days later he was back home in my care, which worried me a bit.
How would I manage to find the strengths for tough love, when all I wanted to do was pamper him. He was on my nerves a few days later, and before I knew what had hit me -and him- we were in our first AAB (Argument after Bypass.)
Again, I was not struck by lightning. The universe was alright with our argument -and there were many more to come. Turns out bitching and nagging came naturally to me. Who would have thought?
Lifestyle changes! Goodness can it be hard. Breaking old habits is not the complicated part, but creating new ones and sticking to it -well, that’s a bit different. The universe, in its infinite wisdom –because it’s the universe– had put me in charge. Wowzer! Good choice! Well, not really.
I struggled, and so did he, and having shoulder replacement surgery three months after a quadruple bypass didn’t help either. My husband became an old man and I didn’t like it. I did not sign up for being with an old man -yet.
He got used to sitting in his reclining chair, while I was running around like a chicken without a head. Serving him and helping him was needed, he couldn’t take care of himself and so my role went from wife, lover and friend, to nurse, fitness instructor and maid. It didn’t make me friendlier!
I suck as a nurse. I felt overwhelmed and often just downright scared. Filling up his pillbox gave me nightmares, seeing him flinch when I hurt him (not on purpose) haunted me for days.
But then I got used to it and hurting him became second nature (Just kidding.)
A few months later all had healed nicely, still I was serving him and so I went on strike. “You have another arm,” I told him frequently. A sentence his PT (Physical therapist) made me use. Oh, what a heartless woman I had become…snicker!
By June he was back to work on light duty, and I spend one whole day sitting in my old pj in the living room in quiet celebration -unwashed, but teeth brushed. It was heavenly!
I learned the cardio language and used it mostly in the kitchen. It started when he picked up a bag of chips. “Oh, you bought suicide in a bag,” I joked and I think he lost his appetite right then and there.
The truth is, he is not healed or cured. A bypass is indeed just bypassing the problem and his problem are his blocked arteries. We had to change our lifestyle, there was no way around it and lifestyle changes start in the kitchen.
Salt-less and low sodium meals became the norm until I got tortured with daily leg cramps. I work physically, on top of it I am a sweaty mess whenever mother nature decides to award me with a hot flash. My sodium levels were too low. “Eat more salt,” the doctor said and I felt like having a nervous breakdown right then and there. WTF?
Nowadays I cook low sodium meals, and in the evening I drink coconut water to fill up my sodium and potassium levels.
The foul language in the kitchen continued. Burgers were called, ‘Heart attack in a bun,” fried food was called “Cardiac arrest on a plate.” He got the picture. Now we own an air fryer and I actually have fun using it.
For his birthday I bought him a Fitbit. 10,000 steps are the goal every day and he has no problem with it anymore. The Fitbit came with compression socks -black ones, like long stockings -quite sexy perhaps if you consume enormous amounts of alcoholic beverages, which I don’t. The leg where they harvested the vein from is still swollen in the evening. It will take more time to heal.
Aging made its way into our home and I can’t wait to kick it out. I know we will get older, but I have also learned -by watching, reading and listening- that it often is a choice.
We can rest and take it easy for the rest of our lives, because finally we have an excuse to do so, and we talk about it frequently and compare our health with others like soldiers tell their war stories, or we fight our way back.
We all have health problems sooner or later. We don’t choose the diseases but we can choose how we deal with them. Do we allow them to dictate our lives for rest of our life or do we fight?
We have decided to fight. We eat to live! Both of us!
I fight my RA and Celiac disease and my husband fights his heart disease, because he is a cardio patient for life -but not bound by it.
Life might be different now, but we have adjusted nicely.
Happy 1 BAB my Love!