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Three score and ten or more

Thursday, May 01, 2008


I haven't posted anything here since tax day. It isn't that I haven't had anything to say, but that what I have to say is so close to home and sort of like "déjà vu all over again that I am rather tied up. My life intersects so deeply with that of my wife, and Janet had expressed some problem with me discussing both our lives in front of the world, that I just couldn't write about the stuff that is going on with us without her permission. She has agreed that if I seriously can't write about me without writing about her then "Okay."
I talked about our adventures in Finland when they happened. I wore out my pencil about the time we came home, but our lives have been so rich since we passed what seemed to be a defining moment that I have continued to write about our joy, even as we have lost friends.

We began to have a shift in gears back in February when Janet fell down in the checkout lane at Wal-Mart and broke her wrist. She had surgery to repair the wrist and has been on the mend, but we haven't been able to participate in water aerobics which has been a major force in keeping us healthy. About a month ago, just before the Orthopedist removed her brace and approved the return to exercise, she had a routine visit with our Cardiologist which included a stress test and a number of sonograms.

The day following the test, the nurse called stating that our Dr. had seen some troubling things on the sonogram, indicating a possible aneurism on the descending aorta and he made an appointment for CT scans at the local imaging center.. This, in turn, excited the radiologist enough that he said he was going to make a 3D mockup to send to Dr. Shin (the cardiologist) By this time, our moral was beginning to fade a little. When the cardiologist called to let us know that he was arranging an appointment with the chief thoracic-cardio surgeon at the Medical College of Georgia, worry became a little black cloud that surrounded us

To top it off, Janet began to have trouble keeping food on her stomach and seemed to be getting weaker and weaker. Three Saturdays ago, she began to have splitting headache and went to bed early. She wanted to be feeling better on the morrow since she was supposed to speak in our church. I ran off to Lowes for an hour to buy closers for some new storm doors we had bought, and to indulge my Lowes addiction a little bit. When I arrived home, I had a strong impulse to go check on Janet. She was not in her bed, I turned and found her collapsed on the bathroom floor. She was awake and alert, but couldn't get up. I don't know what kind of nut I am, but the first thing I did was take her blood pressure (very low) and give her an aspirin. I then tried to help her into bed, but one of the maddening things about having become a coot is that I can't lift a darn thing (Janet's not a darn thing, that’s just an expression). I couldn't get her back to bed so I called my son, and he came over (about fifteen miles) and he helped me get her in bed.
Together, we gave her a blessing (Mormons do the laying on of hands thing, a lot).

I cursed myself for a couple of hours for not calling 911, but she seemed better. After while, she indicated that she needed to return to the bathroom. This time I was present and helped her. As we were returning to the bedroom (walking with my arms around her) she stopped, groaned and virtually turned to jello in my arms. It was all I could do to keep her from banging her head on the floor or the cabinet as she fell.

This time, I did call 911, and the paramedics came, check her blood pressure, blood gasses (whatever that means) and other stuff. They put her back to bed and didn't feel that she needed transported to the hospital, but they stayed for awhile until they had another emergency call. As they left, one turned to Janet and said "If you fall down again you are going to wake up in the hospital." She didn't. She did fall one more time just getting into the bed, but I covered her up on the bedroom floor, gave her a pillow, and after she had rested for a little while, together we were able to get her back to bed.

Suffice it to say that she didn't preach any sermons in the morning (or give any other kind of talk)
This was the beginning of one of the worse couple of weeks of our lives. I have written about it about as much as I can do, but I will try to continue this tomorrow or the next day. If anyone is still reading this stuff after I have been silent for weeks, or if you are interested in the REST OF THE STORY, tune in in a couple of days.


At 11:10 PM, Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

I figured something was wrong.

If I lived next door to you I would also do "the laying on of hands thing" - for both of you. It works. It sometimes works even better than doctors.

You said: "This, in turn, excited the radiologist..." There you have what modern medicine is. It's a science (a mental exercise) that excites its practioners. It is not the art of healing.

We need both. And you (and Janet) should not take what docs say too much to heart. It can cause anxiety and more illness. Hear what they say with your mind but let your faith heal you.

I don't know if your "laying on of hands" is accompanied by prayer - a longing of the heart and soul. Mine is - but a loving touch is worth a thousand "medical tests."

BTW "Blood gasses" is the term for measuring the concentration of oxygen and carbon dioxide dissolved in the blood. More oxygen = good. More CO2 = bad.

At 8:38 AM, Blogger Gayle said...

We also practice the laying on of hands, and it does indeed work.

I sincerely pray that Janet is going to be okay, Richard, and I'll return in two or three days for the follow-up.

Many blessings!

At 10:03 PM, Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

05 02 08

Hey Richard:
I will return in a coupla days to see about you all. We also do laying of hands and I am glad to know you guys did it for Janet. Sorry to hear that she has been ill. I also understand how it is when you want to share something on your blog, but it is intimately tied to your life AND your partners.

Just know that as you think of me from time to tim, I think of you and Janet and am praying right now.

Hope all is well.


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