Although I’ve chronicled my recent surgeries here on the blog and elsewhere, the event I didn’t discuss was when the hospital discovered a blood clot in my husband’s lung five days before Christmas. I can still remember how the words “pulmonary embolism” reverberated through my body. The staff at the hospital told us he was lucky to be alive, that he must have some purpose to fulfill yet in his life, because blood clots in the lungs are usually a death knell.
He was put on a new blood thinner, a once-a-day pill that is advertised all over the TV with a thousand side effects. I didn’t sleep for a month, sure that I would wake up next to a corpse, that he’d bleed out from a paper cut, or internally bleed from bumping his head. His doctors at his follow up appointments assured me it wouldn’t be that bad, though he did need to be more careful in everyday living.
So far he’s lived up to his promise of thinking and looking before he acts. He’s seen how worry has affected me, so he is more careful. We’ve made it through almost two months of the new drug and its short-term side effects of fatigue and weight gain, and I’m finally sleeping at night. I do reach out to touch him, just to make sure he’s there.
He’s also giving me a measure of control by teaching me our rental business, and bill paying. We’ve been an old-fashioned, “traditional” couple, where I worked part time and took care of the kids, and he worked full time and paid the bills. Now that we are both retired, and the kids are grown, it’s time I learn what he does.
Now that we’re almost two months beyond that frightening December night, we’ve settled into an easy pattern. While his mornings are the most productive times during the day, my husband is slowly returning to his former activity level, and I’m resuming a not so anxious state. My best advice to someone going through a similar situation? Learn what you don’t know around the house. It’s a form of security and control that will keep you from spiraling into a chasm of fear and helplessness. Believe me, I’ve been there.