Monday, January 16, 2012

It's a Nuisance, Not Crisis


I'm in Indianapolis, after an adventurous day. This is actually quite typical of my marriage to John. He went to work yesterday and passed out, falling on a very convenient box full of plastic cups so he didn't even get a bruise (no word on the fate of the cups). So after scaring his co-workers and taking an ambulance ride, he seems to be fine.

Discursus for background: He had Hodgkins Disease when he was 19 and got 4 rads of radiation. He's been dealing with the results of the radiation ever since - 2 heart surgeries for scar tissue in his coronary arteries, 1 brain surgery, carotid artery surgery, lung cancer, and scarring of his mitral valve. And all that radiation didn't work anyway. The Hodgkins came back as our 3-month anniversary present. He got chemo that time, and it did work. If he'd just waitied a few years until the chemo protocol was out, all this could have been avoided. And life would have been much less exciting. 

Anyway: We've been watching the mitral valve for a couple of years. The scar tissue is narrowing it and causing congestive heart failure. They kept him in the hospital overnight to be sure he was okay, then his cardiologist came in this morning and said he was sending him to IU to get him valve replaced. Today. ASAP. So John left by ambulance a little after noon. I followed after getting the dog boarded, the trash to the street, John's things packed, my things packed, food packed for the week, the dishwasher unloaded and reloaded, and I don't remember what all else.

As I said, this is typical for us. Whenever he has an emergency his mother just sighs and says, "It's a good thing he married a nurse." And he does have emergencies. (NB - He's never had a crisis. To a critical care nurse anything that can be gotten over is a nuisance, not a crisis.) And he's the least dramatic person on the planet. When he was diagnosed with lung cancer last summer and told he'd probably survive a few months, all he said was that he would try to live long enough to do the taxes. This is not duty and self-sacrifice on his part; there are few things he enjoys more than doing taxes. This was an incentive toward survival. (I'm not too normal myself. The first thing I thought - and, of course, said - was that at least he could have a port for chemo this time. His last chemo was before ports were invented. The oncologist was shocked. He shouldn't have been. He's known me for years.) The incentive worked; this kind of cancer doesn't go into remission but it's at bay, reduced from before chemo, and he's been promoted to maintenance chemo. So paying taxes is actually good for you. 

So anyway, road trip. We're here for a week - or 2 - or goodness knows how long. Thankfully I have an understanding boss and veterinarian. Jethro the dog is happy as a clam. Being boarded at the vet's is vacation time for him. He has a wonderful time, then comes home and spends a week sleeping it off. We may need a week sleeping it off, too. When we all get home we'll form a mammal mound on the sofa, put on ESPN, and recover from it all. Until the next excitement comes along. It really is a good thing he married a nurse.


  1. Praying for you John and Joan. Try not to have TOO much of an exciting time!

  2. A "mammal mound" -- what a great phrase, and an even better image!
    Hope the hospital has pudding, or at least ice cream...
    Prayers, prayers, prayers.