Life As We Know It
Life as we know it….
Life is a tricky thing. Just when you feel in control there will be reminders; sometimes gentle, sometimes exciting, sometimes scary, sometimes tragic but almost always a lesson in life that you will either respect or allow to derail you. It’s the wake up call that shouts, “ You’re not in control! “. What a challenging time it can be, but what an amazing time if you embrace it for what it really means.
This past Christmas I had one of those wake up calls. My husband Jamie and I woke up on the Friday morning before Christmas Eve like normal but excited to have the day off together. He was planning on going to play basketball early that morning with a group of men that he has been getting together with for years. He left around 7:30 AM and I got up to do my morning stuff. I got out of the shower and had a missed call at 8:30 AM. I couldn’t imagine what was going on. He should’ve been in the heat of the game. I returned his call to hear on the other end a good friend of ours,“ Kim? Jamie fell and hit his head. We are on our way to Urgent Care.” Having been an ICU nurse in a previous life it takes a lot to get me worked up. I thought well if they are going to urgent care then it can’t be that bad. Was I wrong! As soon as I arrived to urgent care and saw him and how much pain he was in I knew we had to get a CAT scan immediately for fear that he was bleeding out. We rushed over to the Imagining Center because going to the ER at this point would have created an even longer delay. While waiting what seemed like an eternity I watched as my husband was writhing in pain. I felt so helpless. As soon as the CAT scan was complete I had called in some favors from a few friends including an ER doc to get him rushed through the ER admissions and into the hospital because I knew as a nurse what was going on was not good. I was hoping it wasn’t a bleed, but I knew from my assessment of him that it likely was. If he was still actively bleeding then time was our enemy because every second that we are unable to relieve the bleeding, brain death can occur to the tissue and permanent damage. He had to get to the hospital as soon as possible. We were so close to the hospital, blocks, but with last minute Christmas shoppers the traffic was unbearable. I made the decision to put him in my car and begin to get him there instead of waiting for an ambulance to arrive because I felt like this would be the fastest option. I have to tell you that the half mile ride to the hospital was the longest and most stressful drive of my life. Jamie at this point is going in an out of consciousness and in a great deal of pain. I’m trying to keep him awake by talking which, as you can imagine is the very last thing he wants to do. All I’m thinking in my head is, is this the last conversation I’m going to have with my husband? Is he going to die right here in this car? All my years of training and ICU experience and I am unable to do anything to help him. If he bleeds out there will be literally nothing I can do. At the same time I’m arguing with myself to keep it together, don’t let him see how scared you are, tell him he’s going to be okay, and for God’s sake stop being negative, it’s all going to be fine.
We arrive at the hospital and they are there at the door to greet us and get him immediately put into the system. The CAT scan does in fact show a bleed, but surgery is not necessary and now we must wait and tolerate the pain because at this point medication is contraindicated until such time that we are certain bleeding is no longer possible. We spent a couple of nights in ICU and were home in time for Christmas, however things would not be the same for a while. The room spins spontaneously, the headaches are tremendous and once all this begins to subside there’s depression, strange odors and tastes and suddenly in front of me is my husband, but he’s different. It is challenging to say the least. We are on a 6 month recovery timetable and at this point are at the 4 month mark. I recently began to see my husband returning to me slowly, you know more of himself. He has some intermittent long -term memory issues, but overall is definitely making the turn to a full recovery.
Now, life as we know it is different. I chose to respect this tragic reminder and now all the things that used to make me crazy about my husband; the messy side of his closet, the forgetting to do anything around the house before he leaves for work, the dishes in the sink, all those things now have a greater meaning to me. They mean he is alive and well. I now smile when I see them instead of getting frustrated. When I can look over at him in the bed next to me and see his pink skin and feel him breathing I’m at peace and everything else in our life is insignificant.
Pilates is one of those disciplines that can offer a certain amount of control to an otherwise uncontrollable life. It gives you the ability to slow down, breathe and control your body with every movement. I now look at my Pilates practice in a different way. I respect what it offers me each day and that is a period of time in which I can connect with my mind, body and spirit in an otherwise crazy world.
Here’s to you and hoping that you may find the lessons in all that life throws at you and respect what they have to offer and also find the daily discipline that will give back to you in ways that benefit your mind, body and spirit.
In health and spirit,