Sunday, January 31, 2010

not today

i'm not feeling great today; i'm just trying to rest and clear my head. i don't feel like posting anything today; check back tomorrow and i promise my big sunday post that i promised here will be posted.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

strong and capable

from my earliest memories i have always had a strong spirit, not the "in your face" kind of strong, domineering spirit. i was always shy and still kind of am, so i don't know that others would've even suspected that about me. the inner strength always manifest itself to me in very personal and private ways, like not being afraid when facing certain situations that young children don't normally have to be faced with and being able to be a leader to those who needed leading and protecting in those particular instances. another example was around the time i was 7 years old. i had to have the 1st of a few corrective surgeries. i was afraid as any young child would be, but i vividly remember the closer they wheeled me to the operating room the stronger i became. i continually reminded myself to be strong and brave. even as they placed an anesthesia mask over my face the comforting thought was that i was strong and that i could do that.

as i got older i picked up a few insecurities. i didn't forget that i was strong, but it felt as if that quality was slowing being overtaken by insecurities. i still had many strong and capable moments, but it's certainly not the characteristic that i associated myself with anymore. then i married pete. i feel like i let that strength get lost even more because he was so strong; i could depend on him for so much strength. i got so used to depending on him for strength that i forgot that i was once so strong.

then pete had his cardiac arrest. within the first 12 hours i cried to everyone that i couldn't do this without him. i said 100 times "i can't do this. i can't do this without him." after i had convinced myself that i couldn't do life without pete, i had a very personal manifestation of the strong and capable trait that i had long forgotten. a loving Heavenly Father reminded me in a very direct way that He sent me to this earth to be strong and capable and that i still possessed that strength. the very clear message was that i could do this. i needed to do this. i had the encouragement that i needed to go forward and be the person i was sent here to be, strong and capable. i had overwhelming certainty that no matter what pete's outcome was that i could do it. my phrase changed from "i can't do this without him" to "i don't want to do this without him." that was a much more sustaining attitude.

i'm still grateful all day every day that i got pete back exactly how he was before and that i don't have to do this life without him. i'm almost equally as grateful for the renewed sense of strength that i have. i will not allow life to take away my strength and capability anymore. in all things i plan to just go forth and be the person i was sent here to be here, strong and capable.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

lesson on love, kind of

there has been no question that this experience has deepened our relationship. for the last 2 months our relationship has been so amazing i was certain that we were experiencing a once in a lifetime thing. i have been so grateful, and i'm still holding on to much of that. however, i have to admit, that as our lives have "normalized" more it is almost as if part of the euphoria has started wearing off. i think we both have started doing things that may drive the other one crazy from time to time; they are just little, normal things, but i have been very disappointed by this. i was convinced that our relationship would always be as perfect feeling as it has been with no interruptions at all. i've found myself being down about it on several occasions questioning where we have gone wrong.

i'm thankful for a lesson that makes me know that we haven't done anything wrong. early in december i had struggled with a similar thought blogged about here. a previous co-worker of pete's left a comment that i think will always help me in times like this. she wrote:

"i know, better than most, how you feel. My husband had stage 4 cancer. He has beat it. I thought he would never anger me again if I could just keep him. I promise you are changed. Although we are human with all that goes with being human, this experience will always impact you. You and Pete will fight, but your heart will soften quickly. Kids will be naughty, you will yell, but you will hug quicker. Be patient with yourself..."

i have found that this has applied to us. even though pete may do things that hurt my feelings at times, i am grateful that my heart does soften much more quickly now. it doesn't feel good to be angry anymore. i am still impacted deeply and our relationship is at a whole new level, but we are still human with all that that involves. we will just keep working and doing our best, and i know our relationship will always possess this new depth.

Monday, January 25, 2010

practical lessons i've learned

10. be familiar with the hospitals in your area. know their reputation and what their specialties are. i'm grateful i knew which hospitals i did not want pete at and which ones provided more specialized care for his condition.

9. if you are experiencing a recurring heart symptom or feeling that would suggest that something may not be right, then go to a CARDIOLOGIST, not a family practice doctor. they will know what testing to do to find problems. don't feel silly about going; you could be saving your life. there are many preventive measures that we have been learning about if you know what is going on with your heart. it's really not something to take lightly or blow off, especially if you have a family history. if you are having concerns and just not sure where to go, then contact me; we have been working with a renowned group of cardiologists.

8. check your benefits; know what your work offers you or your husband. if you are unsure, then talk to the person that can tell you. if your spouse doesn't love handling that part, then take over. just be sure you are taking advantage of everything that is available to you. had pete and i been more informed about the benefits that were available to us, then we never would have missed a paycheck.

7. life insurance. if you don't have a policy, then get one. you really never know when you might need it. when we were certain pete was not going to live, i had a big burden lifted knowing that i wouldn't have to worry about how to pay to our bills or about how i was going to have to work full-time the rest of my life to support my family. i was grateful to know that i would still be able to stay home with my children. don't wait for something to happen before you sign-up.

6. health insurance. NEVER be without it, especially if you don't have to. we have received several more insurance statements since my post about the cost of all of this. we are now in it over $200,000. had we not had health insurance we would be SUNK. don't procrastinate getting it, and just never be without it. you may never need it, but then again you might. just pay the stupid premiums because they will be far less than an incident.

5. if you think someone in your family is snoring, then respond instantly. don't just roll over and try to go back to sleep in hopes that they will stop. if that would've been what i did that night pete would be dead. i know it seems annoying to check every abnormal breathing sound that you hear in a night, but who knows it may be something wrong one time and one time is all it takes. it won't kill you to check the noise, but it may kill someone else if you don't.

4. if there appears to be an emergency type situation going on around you, call 911 immediately. don't waste too much time trying to figure out what exactly is going on or if it really warrants a 911 call. i've learned that when in doubt, just call. you can try to figure out what's going on or lose your head after the ambulance is on the way. my funny take on this... i can tend to be a bit of an over-reactor in medical situations; pete seems to over-think medical situations. with him i didn't hesitate to call 911 since i was the one in charge. as i was running away to get the phone to call i turned back and yelled at him "i don't care if you want me to call 911 or not, i'm going to!". he obviously didn't hear me or didn't think i was over-reacting for once. :)

3. always know where the phone is when you go to bed. most of the time our phone is never hanging up and is always in some dumb random place like the laundry room. the night i had to call 911 it just so happened by a miracle of a chance that the phone was in the place it should be. if i would've had to search for the phone i'm afraid i would've lost my head. i now make sure the phone is hanging up when we go to bed. i never know when i'm going to have to call 911 in the middle of the night, and i certainly don't want to have to be looking for the phone.

2. learn cpr. i don't mean go to nursing school, just learn the basics. put the knowledge in your brain even though it may seem like you will never use it. when the knowledge is in your brain you have a much greater ability to recall it in an emergency than you would if it wasn't there at all.

1. never go to bed angry; i know it's cliche to say, but seriously. if pete and i ever had a disagreement before we would always sleep on it because we knew we would just feel better in the morning. i won't do it anymore; i will force myself to never go to bed angry because i really have no way of knowing if we will both wake up the next morning. send your spouse to bed every night like it could be your last night with them; make sure they know how much you love them.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

wrapping up

this is pete's last week at home full-time. he is set to go back to work a week from tomorrow. i am still loving to have him home and will be sad to have him gone, but i know he is anxious to return to his old life and schedule. having him home for so long has been a vital part to his physical healing and my emotional healing; we are both in a really good place now.

our lives have been changed from this incident, and while we attempt to return to our "normal" life and schedule it will never be "normal" again. we have learned too many things from this to ever be exactly the same again. i'm certain we would both choose the changed version of us. many of the lessons i have shared here and many i haven't. over this next week i will attempt to share a few more in this space. we are all feeling a healthy slipping away of pete's incident, but i'm sure the impact of it will always be so intertwined with so much of what we do and feel that the writing about it will never stop completely. after pete's monumental return to work i think it will be time for my focus to shift a little. my writing here will begin to focus more on all the baby nesting going on around here and about two little boys who are growing and changing so very fast right before our very eyes.

all of you have been so supportive of our family during all of this, and there's no way for us to fully express our gratitude. i know many of you have been changed and impacted from this as well. at the end of this week i have a special plan for you all to share some of those changes and a great big attempt to say thank you. please check back next sunday for more details.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

the best part of my day...

...was sam telling me that the best part of his day was getting to sit on my lap. he is sure an easy child to please, most of the time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

dirty refrigerators & other things

a weird night for us... will spilled a pitcher of juice in an attempt to pour his own cup. it went under the refrigerator, so we had no choice but to move it and clean underneath. oh, wow! talk about that needed to be done 2 years ago! yuck!

i think before the incident i would have just expected pete to have moved the refrigerator and helped me; i would've been so hung up on the expectation that i wouldn't have even been able to focus on how grateful i was that he was helping. tonight i was definitely grateful. i was delighted that i married the type of guy who is always willing to get in there and get a job like that done, and i was super grateful that he was still here doing those kind of things.

the weird part is where i took it from there. i should've just finished cleaning the rest of the floor once the refrigerator was moved back. instead i decided it would be a good idea to clean my black kitchen hutch that had been collecting random papers and junk for the last year. ok fine, but then i had papers to file so i decided i would just clean out the filing cabinet that i was going to be filing in. i spent almost 3 hours working on this job. now it's bed time, and my kitchen floor is still dirty, dishes in the sink, laundry needed to be folded, and i haven't even looked at the new stack of books from the library or worked on the quilt that i have going. but darn-it, my hutch and filing cabinet are organized. this is a quality/handicap that i do not love about myself. i don't see it changing anytime soon. oh well... i guess there will always be tomorrow to do the other things.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

my favorite lesson

many lessons came out of pete's ordeal; many of those lessons have changed my soul and changed how i try to live every day. my favorite lesson was about not wasting time, not wasting moments; i wrote about that here.

i've thought about that constantly. i don't want to waste anymore of my life not living how i most want to live. a very comforting memory when pete was in the hospital was how much we had shared and done together. i did not have regret that we passed up too many opportunities or that we didn't do enough with each other. i don't ever want that regret, especially when i don't have to. pete and i don't ever want to have that regret. we won't waste this.

i want to live more. serve more. learn more. travel more. create more. share more. give more. laugh more. read more. love more. and enjoy more. now is the time for that. no more excuses.

on the list of things i've always wanted to do is start an etsy shop. in case you are unfamiliar, etsy is a website where artisans can sell all types of handmade things and others can buy beautiful handmade items. i love creating things, and i've been interested in having an avenue to share that with others. that is why i'm attempting to sell on etsy. the 1st item i have listed is a framed hand embroidery piece that is a constant reminder of the important lesson of not wasting the time we are given. if this lesson became important to you and you would like a constant reminder, then please check out my work by clicking here. i also have a link to my etsy shop on my side bar. if you have questions, then please feel free to email me at

thanks for your support in helping me to "not waste this".

Friday, January 15, 2010

a direct answer

this is pete and sam snuggled up on the couch sleeping. when i walked into the room today and saw this, i was touched deeply. it was a blatant answer to one of my most fervent pleas during pete's ordeal.

the first night pete was in the hospital was by far the most critical. i slept at my sister's house that night; i guess i didn't really do much sleeping. it was just where i stayed. i couldn't close my eyes that night; the scenes of the early morning with pete at home played over and over if i even tried to close them. i couldn't stop thinking about how i was going to tell my boys they weren't going to have a dad; i didn't know how i was going to make them remember him. i found myself on my knees pleading more intensely than i ever have; it was a very specific plea. i begged to please let pete come home one more time no matter what his brain was like; please let the boys have one more chance to crawl all over him, and please let pete have one more chance to wrestle them and one more chance to hold them close. there are not words for the intensity of my pleading.

when i walked in today and saw this i knew it was a specific answer to my desperate pleading. pete was home. he did have another chance to hold his boys. he's hopefully home for a really, really long time; he will hopefully hold these boys close many, many more times.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

reality check

the weirdest thing happened last night, and i've been a little weirded out all day. i obviously know that pete has an irregular heartbeat; it beats really fast at times, and we learned all about that November 29. well, last night i had a personal reminder of that irregular heartbeat.

i was laying on his chest with my head right on his heart. i could feel it beating normal. then it took off and started beating very fast for a long few seconds. it returned to normal on its own. i really felt it! it reminded me of feeling his chest the night of his incident, and it was moving SO fast. i'd never felt anything like it. last night was weird, too. his heart really does have racing moments, and i felt it. it's even more of a reality to me now. maybe a scary reality. thank goodness for a defibrillator to keep that problem in check!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

not tonight

there will be no time for blogging tonight. a few weeks ago in pete's therapy the therapist introduced him to the game sudoku. now we are both addicted. we try to squeeze at least one in every day. we print off the same one, set the timer, and race against each other. we need that tonight; we may even do three. after that we'll go to bed if we're tired, but if we're not then i might start picking away at the sewing project list that seems to be growing faster than i'm working. good night.

Monday, January 11, 2010

a small price to pay

i think we have received the last of the insurance statements from pete's week in the hospital. it was a lot of money but not as much as was expected.

the total up to this point is $122,773.32

it's a bit overwhelming to see some of the charges on paper. for instance, the original ambulance ride was listed as "life sustaining"; simply to drive the few miles it did was $475- that didn't include everything else. the ride was $2368.45. it makes me wonder if it costs less if it's not a "life sustaining" ride?

every time i see a charge for a brain ct scan i feel as anxious as i did then waiting the result of brain damage. those ct scans were $2574 a pop.

the daily room charge for the icu was $1180. that's by far the most expensive room we have stayed in!

his defibrillator & procedure was a whopping $55,850. that's pretty cheap insurance for a lifetime of peace of mind and security this won't happen again.

the most shocking charge was the $256 charge by the original icu doctor that shared the bleak news of pete's condition upon arrival. before, i think i would've thought it was ridiculous for a doctor to charge for that consultation. afterall, isn't it just part of their job? i feel differently now. i can't imagine that would be an easy thing to have to tell a young wife that her husband was very sick with a 2-5% survival rate. not an easy thing to have to do. certainly deserves a consultation charge.

$122,773.32. what a small price to pay for life. thankfully we will just be responsible for a small portion of this bill, but i would have paid it all because i got to keep my husband. there's no amount of money that would've been too much to pay to keep the love of my life.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

sleeping more soundly

on friday i tried again to sleep on my side of the bed. ever since pete's incident i have slept on his side of the bed. i felt like i needed to be the protector. my brain told me that as long as i was on his side of the bed i could stop him from rolling out again and there would not be another tragedy. i have not enjoyed my time on that side. i love my side of the bed, and i always have. for some reason pete always has, too; he has begged me for that side for about a year ( i have no idea why by the way). he was happy that i have been giving him that privilege. well, i was ready on friday to try again.

friday night didn't go well. i felt panic. as soon as i laid down i felt exactly like i did in the instant that i woke the night of the incident. every sound of that night was ringing in my ear. i felt like i couldn't keep pete close enough to me the whole night; every time i woke in the night i was squeezing his arm. every time i woke in the night i was afraid he wasn't there. when i was asleep i had the re-occurring dream about pete & i choosing to die together. i was very afraid in my dream that if i chose to die with him i would give up too much of what i still had left here, but i knew i didn't want to go without him. i was afraid it would hurt to die, and i kept begging him to remember how it felt to be dying. i was afraid asleep, and i was afraid awake. friday night didn't go well.

saturday night came, and i was afraid to try to it again. i did enjoy re-uniting with the groove my body had carved out over the last 3 years that i was willing to try it again. it was better. the sounds weren't ringing quite as loud, and the scary images only played in my mind until i fell asleep. i think saturday night was the 1st night since this incident that i didn't wake up more than twice, and his breathing sounded normal every time i woke. i felt rested. and more normal.

now sunday is here, and i think i need to keep it going. pete is not thrilled about the switch back; not because he is afraid but because he was hopeful he had finally seized his desired side of the bed. one added benefit of switching back is that the boys haven't figured it out yet. they still climb in on pete's side where they think i am sleeping, so now pete is getting squeezed to the middle. that is probably the safest place for him to be even if he is squished; he won't be rolling out either side now. THANK GOODNESS!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

another minor event

we seem to continue to have minor medical problems around here; perhaps pete's incident left a medical vibe in the air. today the incident was with will. he stuck at least 3 raisins up his nose. i can keep my cool while my husband is having a cardiac arrest on our bedroom floor and i'm his only life-line, but when my 2 year-old opens the shower curtain to show and tell me that he has raisins in his nose i completely lose my brain. i was in a frantic attempt to get clothes on to take him to the emergency room when i decided to let pete have a go at the recovery. he had will just blow his nose and what we thought were all of the raisins came out. whew, i was grateful i didn't rush him off. a small amount panic came back over me about 20 minutes later when will told me he had another raisin and i could see yet another raisin descending his nostril. i called pete to the rescue before i got over-anxious. he had him blow again, and it was out. thank goodness i'm not left to be the only one in charge over here! :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

postponed therapy sessions

therapy has not been postponed for pete; he is still top priority. unfortunately though my (sewing) therapy has been postponed. i continue to add fabric to this stack hoping that my finger will be able to work again soon and that my brain won't be too afraid to start cutting again. in the meantime, stay tuned. i'm thinking some lucky reader should be the recipient of this therapy project.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

it's the little things again

*family coloring sessions...

*afternoon resting time with all of us snuggled together in our warm cozy bed...

*a family walk in the chilly afternoon to get sam & will their 1st twinkie...

*preparing dinner all together with sam stirring the salad, will setting the table, and pete just doing whatever he was asked. oh, and not to forget the clean-up... the boys taking their plates to the sink and pete & i working together to do the rest while the boys are dragging out their cars for pretend play right under our feet.

*family games before bed,

*and the cherished bedtime routine of books, prayers, and talking about things.

these are some of the things that i'm certain i would have missed the most if we would have lost pete. i can't comprehend a life without him in it. he has such a presence and influence in our little family. to not have him here is a reality that i'm still grateful that i don't have to comprehend. i just want to work on comprehending how priceless each moment with him really is.

Monday, January 4, 2010

a lot can change in a year

this was a picture taken last christmas, and, my, much has changed...

*will likes santa now; oh, and he also has hair this year (thanks for leaving that alone, sam!)

*sam won't be caught dead in a sweater this year; the days of mother choosing his clothes are over

*my belly isn't nearly so flat; this year it's about 15 lbs. rounder

*pete now has a nice, big scar under that broad left shoulder, not to mention a metal device in the chest

we are grateful that change never stops happening; here's to hoping for the kind of changes that will keep our lives positive in 2010.

Friday, January 1, 2010

not quite what i had in mind

i had envisioned starting off the new year a little differently than i did. i had not planned on making a visit to instacare today, especially a visit for myself. i was hoping that our medical problems were all out in 2009. they would have been if i would not have cut half of my fingertip off with a rotary cutter while cutting fabric. i'm hoping this is not a sign of things to come this year. although even if our year is full of minor mishaps like this, i'm certain it will not be as trying as pete's medical incident. however, i'm still hoping to avoid it.

i hope your new year started off better. i will hopefully post my real new year's inspiration soon.
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