…And Just like That…

by Lydia Nolan

 January 18, 2021

...And just like that… our lives were sealed.

We would not make it out of this one. Sure, we all have to die someday. But how many of us really live before we die? I sure haven’t. You might say, I did it to myself. We all do it to ourselves. We jump at the present pleasure, rather than see the future outcome in mind and refrain from the Wrong direction. That’s what I did. I never considered the observations of my parents being “unequally yoked.” I should have learned from it, but I did not. Instead, I’ve been dreaming of so many avenues to derail upon from the definite disillusionment I’ve been actually living in the past few months, which, in reality began many, many years ago.

I have thought that there were many years prior to 2020 that were the worst of all years, but 2020 takes the cake of it all.

October 23, 2020:

My husband had been complaining recently about some pains he had in his foot, behind his right knee, and his calf. Nonetheless, he managed to smoke out his pack and a half while working and driving all day on his installation jobs. On October 23rd though, we had checked his blood pressure which had gone sky high. As ignorant as I was about that, I mentioned it to my neighbor upstairs, who is a head nurse.

“Lydia! You’d better get him to emergency, that is WAY TOO HIGH! He could drop from a heart attack or stroke with that kind of pressure.”

“He’s at work, as usual.” I said.

“Call him, get him home and to a doctor.” She said.

She scared me. I called him and demanded he come home immediately. Now, if anyone of you knows me, I am not a demanding person when it comes to my husband, especially since he has conditioned me to give in, as he is a passive-aggressive person when it comes to me. All this is old hash. So I called him and I became more demanding than I ever have.

“Jim, you need to come home right now!”

“What? I can’t, I’m working.”

“I don’t care. If you don’t come home right now, You will be dead or you will have a stroke. [Our neighbor] told me this, and you know she knows what she’s talking about. If you don’t come home right now, I’m leaving you for good. Think about your family for once!” 

Naturally, that didn’t scare him, I’ve been leaving him for the thirty-two years of our thirty-five year marriage. What did scare him is that he did not feel good and his blood pressure was so high, and our neighbor got involved. So, he came home.

Shortly after he got home, I called emergency. They checked his blood pressure and reaffirmed what our neighbor told us

“He should be going to the hospital right away. But he doesn’t want to go with us. Of course, you can drive him if you want, it’s not like our driving him is going to make it any easier to get him in. The simple fact that it is his blood pressure will hurry him through.” Glad they were so confident his life was in my hands safely.

So, we went, and from there it was downhill:

  1. kept him in hospital for the day, brought his blood pressure down. That night he was prescribed blood pressure medicine, and the emergency doctor referred him to his primary doctor.
  2. Next day, he went to the primary doctor who took immediate measures: blood tests, sonogram, found artery blockages behind his right knee and his foot, referring him immediately to a vascular surgeon.
  3. Next day, the vascular surgeon insisted he was pretty far into losing blood flow in his right leg, so immediately did an angiogram to attempt to open up the artery. It did not work.
  4. My husband’s foot got worse and his toes began to change color. Another angioplasty now, but scheduled to go into the hospital just after Thanksgiving.
  5. The next step was the killer.

It was Thanksgiving morning when I took him to emergency. He was admitted for surgery the next day. My husband; my tall, 6’4″ bountiful handsome husband lost his right leg to amputation.

We—he and I—were living a nightmare. It did not seem true. It is a completely different life now. He cannot work. He is disabled in a wheelchair, and neither of us can work out of household because I am taking care of him 24/7. The nightmare continues.

By far, 2020 has been the worst year yet. I’ve lost family members, pets, jobs, hopes in many things. But this was so sobering and frightening, I am still reeling from it. It is the future outlook being driven to its worst yet. I have nearly all our years together been anxious due to my husband’s unambitious, languid way of living throughout his life. While I saw us heading downhill financially, year after year, I kept nagging him, and he kept promising me, and we kept on together that way. 

I complained about his smoking nearly all the time, having quit when I became pregnant 2 years after we married, and not smoking for nearly 21 years until I stupidly began again in retaliation for my son starting smoking along with his father. 

In looking back, I see so many of my mistakes I cannot even tell you how I mismanaged myself throughout this journey. But now, I really am in a blind spot to our future because I love my husband still, he needs and will need forever more, help with this new way of life, and I am automatically inclined to care for him. The fact of the matter is this: I am 70 years old. I am getting too old to continue the exercise of multi-tasking—physically, emotionally, and mentally—and I am barely surviving as my health has dwindled gradually for years now.

I tell you the truth. If you notice something is amiss, you cannot ignore it, or be afraid to ‘make waves” about your concerns or discomforts. Better to hit the climax sooner in your story, than late. Because the later you wait, the greater the climax, and perhaps a truly surprising end. 

You must act on your best reasoning; do what you know you should do, no matter what your hopes and dreams tell you. Things come upon you like lightening striking you, and it will then be too late…. the plot thickens…

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