Friday, April 23, 2021

One Step at a Time

Terry is recovering well from his heart attack on the 10th.
We are both beyond grateful that he survived and is coming along,
but we still find it hard to believe that it really happened.
Terry has a lot ahead of him with heart rehab sessions, but his prognosis is very good.
We're taking it one step at a time.

These past two weeks have been challenging and exhausting,
but thanks to the love and support of our family and friends,
we've come through the chaos and uncertainty.
Last night, for the first time, I didn't lay awake for hours
listening to make sure Terry was still breathing.

Terry has been amazing.
I've been strong for him, but he's been stronger for me.
He was shaken by the thought that he might have left me alone.

I appreciate all the messages of support from my blogging and writing friends.
They have comforted me and helped me make to here, tonight, as I write.
If I haven't gotten by to visit, I will.

I have just about everybody to visit, because I've hit several walls.
Hitting a wall is when you are so tired you literally can't move.
You sit in a numb haze until you can summon the energy
to crawl to the couch or the bed and crater.
But it's all good!
Things are normalizing, smoothing out, calming down.

I keep looking at this photo of Terry and me:

Less than a week later, Terry almost died.
It's hard to process.  It's unimaginable.

But I know this:  You can't take life or love for granted.  
They are incredible gifts.
Accept them with deep gratitude and make the most of them.

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

On the Bay of Fundy
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Do Not Wait! Call 911!

I am posting today while I have a chance, and I will not be posting this Friday 16th.

Terry is alive today, after surviving a major heart attack on Saturday.
He is alive because Terry "listened to his heart talk," as one cardiologist expressed it.

He played pickleball for two hours straight late Saturday morning.
He came home feeling tired.
He quickly realized that he was feeling not-the-usual-pickeball-tired.

Pickleball Players

Terry lay down on the couch, and I brought the pillows he wanted.
He put his head back, and it didn't feel good or right.

I rapidly went through all the heart/stroke symptoms I could think of,
even though Terry is fit and healthy.
The only thing he was experiencing was a different tired,
a very subtle pressure in the center of his chest.

We decided to go to urgent care right away.
He stopped in the bathroom while I grabbed a few necessary things.
As we went through the laundry room next to the bathroom he said,
"This is not right.  Something is wrong."
"Screw urgent care, we're going to the emergency room," we both said.

We jumped into the car, and I floored it for the hospital five miles away.
As we were going down the last, biggest hill on Inspiration,
I was aware Terry was getting worse.
I told him to look at the beautiful snow on the mountains.
Then I said, "Talk to me."
He said, "Do you know where the hospital is, because I don't know how to get there."

"I'm 95% sure."
I focused on making the 90ยบ left curve at the bottom of the steep hill,
and clung to a song pounding in my head.
I made the turn onto Pine Drive, stopped at the flashing stop sign,
and turned right onto East Pine Lane.
"I'm 100 % sure, Babe," I said.  "We turn at the next light."

Curve at Bottom of Inspiration Drive
It's actually much steeper than it appears in this Google street view.

Fortunately every light was green,
and all the other drivers were going about eight miles above the speed limit.
We raced up to the emergency entrance at the hospital,
even flying through a stop sign because no car was driving near us.
So not me! 
"Go! Go!" Terry had urged me.  "Don't stop at the stop sign."

We hurried into emergency.  
We didn't even have masks, so I pulled my sweater across my face.
Someone whisked Terry away, while a security officer checked me for Covid,
ran me through a metal detector, and get this,  
checked my purse to see if I was carrying a gun!

He took me to Terry's room.
The emergency staff was already hooking Terry up to all kinds of things,
and a medic with purple black hair and tattoos was running an EKG.
She said.  "This EKG is concerning."
She paused and said, "I'm calling it."  
Someone said, "Get a chest X-Ray."

A Chinese tech and assistants quickly moved in with an X-Ray machine,
and I dashed off to re-park my car and then raced for Terry.
When I got to his room, the X-Ray machine was on the move out and so was Terry's bed.
"Follow us," someone said.

Zoom ~ We were up an elevator and through curvy halls.
They stopped at the cardio angiogram/cath lab and placed Terry on a table.
I managed to wave at him before a nurse sent me to a waiting room.

Next came a very long hour of mostly pacing.  
I kind of knew what was going on because our mothers had gone through the same thing.
I sat there wobbly for a bit, a song pounding through my head.

Then I realized I should start texting family members.
I couldn't remember how to text more than one person at a time,
so I texted my sister Donnie, the first name I saw. 
Then Terry's sister Noreen, and mid-way through my next text
to my sister Bertie, I remembered how to text a group.  Duh!
Brain on fire and in survival mode.

An hour in, I decided to go to the bathroom,
and of course that was when the nurse came.
If you want someone to show up, go to the bathroom!

We met in the hall, and she told me Terry's heart had stopped,
but he had been revived with paddles and had a stent put in.
She said they would be working on him for a while longer.
She wagged her finger at me and said,
"Next time, call 911!"

Back to the waiting room and updates to the family.
Terry's sister was on her way with about an hour to drive.

Thirty more minutes crawled by, and a nurse came and got me.
They were already moving Terry out of the cath lab and to ICU.
Terry was awake, alert, and his face was flushed with a healthy pink.
I hadn't realized how gray he was on the way to Parker Adventist.

The cardiologist spoke to us briefly at the cath lab doorway.
He said we were very, very lucky.  We were fast and early.  
If Terry's heart had stopped out in the field he would have died.
He meant anywhere outside of the hospital.

Parker Adventist Hospital

Good thing we didn't know that when we were flooring it for the hospital.
I hadn't had time to be scared.
Really, until I sensed Terry was getting worse, I thought we were just being prudent.

Later after Terry was settled and Noreen was visiting him,
I had something to eat at the cafe and chatted briefly with the chaplain.
She had previously spoken with Noreen and me in the main waiting room,
as we were swapping out seeing Terry in his ICU room.
She spotted me in the cafe and was double-checking to be sure that I was okay 
and that I had the support I needed from family and friends.
She was so kind and compassionate.

Hot food tasted so good,
I had only had coffee and a biscotti in the morning.

Noreen left and I watched Terry chow down a big supper ~
Always a good sign from the MacBeath family perspective.
We had the first of many consultations, and I left wiped out.
Back up the three big hills on Inspiration to the rotary,
my eyes darting side to side as I scanned for the damn deer
who love to jump on the road, especially at dusk.

Mule Deer

Home ~ Whew!  
A jigger of rum chata on ice, long phone calls,
and shorter texts to my group of eight.

"Do you know what LAD means?" Terry had asked me
as we  puzzled over notes on the white marker board in his ICU room.
I decided shortly after midnight to see if I could find out.

My brother Roy texted me later,
"Sometimes a lack of knowledge is bliss - don't research too much."
He was so right, but it was already too late.
I had googled "LAD medical" and read Widowmaker.
I didn't sleep much Saturday night.

An LAD heart attack, a widowmaker, is the most serious kind,
and if one occurs outside a hospital, the survival rate is low.
It is "caused by a 100 percent blockage of the left anterior descending (LAD) artery. It's also sometimes referred to as a chronic total obstruction (CTO). The LAD artery carries fresh blood into the heart so that the heart gets the oxygen it needs to pump properly." Google Search

Wordpress ~ Original Source Unknown

I was suddenly thinking of the people I knew
who had heart attacks and were dead before they hit the floor
or died in a location where medical help didn't arrive fast enough.
Not everyone is as lucky as Terry with an LAD heart attack.

So many people had told me, "Next time, call 911!"
At the hospital.  On the phone.  In texts.
It hadn't occurred to us, because we didn't know how bad things were.

"Don't hesitate," said a close friend on the phone,
a retired firefighter who had planned and run
the medical response and triage team for the pope's visit years ago.
"Paramedics can call ahead, and the hospital will be ready.
They can send an EKG and restart a heart.
So what if it turns out to be nothing.  Better that than dead."

"Call!" said his wife, a sister-friend to me.   
"If you're wrong, it's not like you have to spend
every Thanksgiving and Christmas with them for years."

"Well, I know a certain firefighter and his wife
who we've spent many Thanksgivings and Christmases with..."

"Louise, call 911," laughed my dearest friend.

Flickr ~ gintheemt ~ Licence

It's my intention that there won't be a second time.
"I've got this," I've told family and friends.  
"We will do whatever needs to be done
to make sure Terry makes an excellent recovery."

I told Terry, "I'm your rock, your boulder of gneiss, g-n-e-i-s-s
Don't mistake it for nice, n-i-c-e."

Terry is doing very, very well,
and we are immersed in all the things one has to do after a major medical event.

A nice gneiss boulder from a beach near Cromarty, Scotland. 
(Credit: @TheNobleGasbag)

I'm writing this post for two reasons.
First, listen to your heart talk.  It may be speaking very softly.
The cardiologists told us that Terry would have been experiencing
serious symptoms quickly and by then it would have been too late.

Second, do not wait.  If somethings seems off, not right, call 911.
Remember, it's okay if it's nothing.
After all, you won't be spending Thanksgivings and Christmases with them.
You'll likely never see them again.

And that song that kept pounding in my head, that helped me focus on the road?
Carrie Underwood's Jesus Take the Wheel.
I had thought about it for the first time in forever
when Terry was driving on slick snow and ice recently.
Then it blasted into my brain as I raced toward the hospital,
and it has stuck in my head since, unexpectedly comforting.

People have been telling me that it wasn't Terry's time to go,
that the Big Guy Upstairs was looking after him.
I have some issues with that,
starting with why should Terry survive over so many equally-deserving others?
But I'll take it, that Amazing Grace, with profound gratitude.

Terry and I are deeply grateful, relieved, and hopeful.
We received wonderful care and support from the people at Parker Adventist Hospital, 
people who are a blur of kind, helpful, and informative faces scrambled in my mind.

As for Terry, one of his most urgent questions is,
"When can I play pickleball again?"

Soon, Babe!
Someone Wants to Play!
Diamond Head Pickleball Court
Honolulu, Hawaii
March 2, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

See you on Friday the 23rd.

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

On the Bay of Fundy
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


That Song Pounding in my head:
"Jesus, take the wheel 
Take it from my hands
'Cause I can't do this on my own
I'm letting go
So give me one more chance
And save me from this road I'm on"
                                        by Brett James, Hillary Lindsey and Gordie Sampson

One of Carrie Underwood's Recordings of  
Jesus Take the Wheel 


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

IWSG: Wednesday, April 7, 2021 ~ Controversial and on the Fly!


It's the first Wednesday of the month,
the day that members of the
Insecure Writer's Support Group
share their writing struggles
and writing successes
and offer their encouragement
and support to fellow writers.

To visit the IWSG website, click here.

To become a member of the IWSG, click here.

Our wonderful co-hosts who are volunteering today,
along with IWSG Founder Alex J. Cavanaugh are PK Hrezo, Pat Garcia, SE White, Lisa Buie Collard, and Diane Burton.

I hope you have a chance to visit today's hosts and thank them for co-hosting.
I'm sure they would appreciate a visit and an encouraging comment.

Every month the IWSG announces a question that members can answer
with advice, insight, a personal experience, or a story in their IWSG posts.

Or, the question can inspire members
if they aren't sure what to write about on IWSG Day.

Remember the question is optional.
This month's featured question is: 

Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?
Happy April, Everyone!
I'm dashing this off Monday afternoon at the new CIRCA
on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas.
Tomorrow Terry and I fly home after a blissful week of freedom.
If everything goes right, this will post on Wednesday,
and I'll be good to go with the IWSG. 

Legacy Lounge, CIRCA, Downtown Vegas
Sunday, April 4, 2020
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue All Rights Reserved

Throughout my life I have primarily written nonfiction, 
in many non-fiction genres: newspaper articles,
scientific and non-scientific research projects, papers, and theses,
grant proposals, company reports, curricula, blogging, and memoir ~
You name it; I've likely written it.
I've used 1st, 2nd, and 3rd POVs depending on the situation.

I have experimented with writing short stories and have two published,
one in the Canadian literary journal The Antigonish Review, 
and the other in the 2020 IWSG anthology Voyagers:  The Third Ghost.

I am currently working on a memoir.

In my memoir and in my memoir-based blogging posts
I have dealt with controversial subjects:
starvation, sexual abuse, mental illness, and racism.
Some of my writing, especially on my blog has garnered angry or hateful commentary,
and I'm sure my memoir will generate some similar responses.
However, I will handle it, because I believe in writing the truth.
Why else would you write?

Arranging A Dream by J. Q. Rose:
This month I indulged in a gentle and courage-filled memoir by IWSG member J. Q. Rose.  She shares her story of an undertaking many would never contemplate.  She and her husband, accompanied by their baby daughter, leave the security of the known and familiar and strike out to achieve their dreams.  It's hard enough moving to a strange town in a different state where you know no one, but image doing so to start a greenhouse and flower shop business!  Vision, determination, hard work, and the willingness to eat a lot of mac and cheese can definitely help you succeed.  But so do love, respect, new friends, and standing up for yourself. What I will long remember is the tender, fierce love of a mother for her baby and the poignancy and guilt of relinquishing nursing her to become an entrepreneur.


Enjoying a meal I didn't have to cook
with the special guy who made my dreams come true!
Magnolia's, Four Queens, Downtown Vegas
Sunday, April 4, 2020
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue All Rights Reserved

Enjoying Stadium Swim 
CIRCA, Downtown Vegas
Sunday, April 4, 2020
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue All Rights Reserved

I invite you to stop by the IWSG Anthology blog today and check out the latest posts.  iwsganthologies

Print copies of Dark Matter: Artificial are available for preorder on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and from the publisher, Dancing Lemur Press! eBooks are also available. Release date is May 4, 2021.

Happy IWSG Day, everyone! 

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue 

Vegas Vickie in Her New Home
CIRCA, Downtown Vegas
Sunday, April 4, 2020
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue All Rights Reserved