How Life can change in a Heartbeat

We have been happy and relaxed and really enjoying being a family again after Ged finally finished stage one of the solar inspections (30,000 kms in 3 months).  I have been revelling in unbroken night’s sleep as he gets up for Ben in the night and I have to do a lot less chop wood and carry water when he is around.  Plus I get to go for a run every day (yay!) so everything was looking rosy.

Then I woke up in th emiddle of the night when Ben woke up and called out as usual.  I felt the other side of the bed for Ged but he wasn’t there so I presumed he was already up for him.  I must have gone back to sleep for a minute or two and then Ben called again and I listened for Ged, thinking ‘where is he?’  And I heard a truly horrible noise.  It sounded like the Thermomix we had borrowed the weekend before kneading dough.  Sort of harsh, grating and groaning.  So I got up and went to investigate.

Ged was unconscious in a pool of blood, sprawled over the bathroom floor in a pool of urine, with his head resting on the side of the bath which had burst his cheek, just under his eye, as he made contact.  His eyes were wide and staring with pupils like pinpricks and I tried to lift him, to communicate with him, to shake him, wake him, to no avail.  Meanwhile I was trying to keep Ben out of the bathroom and calm him down.  Finally (it seemed like forever!) Ged came too and was able to lie down on a towel I put on the floor.  Of course the recovery position didn’t even cross my mind.  I realised immediately that his cheek would need stitching so told Ben we would have to go to the hospital for the doctor to sew up Daddy’s cheek, just like he had to go and get his chin glued up when he fell on the slippery slide.  I set him to packing a bag with toys and books while I tried to sort Ged out.  He was groaning and swearing by this time so I had to try and shut him up!  He managed to sit up and then threw up. I ran a lukewarm bath and he managed to sit in it.  Needless to say I was dosing everyone up with Emergency Essence and, as usual, at my best in a crisis!

Got us all dressed and organised and in the car by about 3.30 and to the hospital by 5.  No one there so he was straight into triage.  They had him on a bed and an ECG within 5 minutes and then discovered that while he hadn’t had a heart attack, his heart was in extreme distress with arrhythmia.  Watching the numbers on the ECG was like watching some sort of random numbers game, 138, 32, 114 etc.  Ben was terrified and refused to stay near the Daddy who was hooked up to all these machines and insisted on returning to the waiting room to read stories with me.  He came in again for a brief moment or two while the young and lovely Doctor (I am definitely getting old – they are all little more than teenagers!) told us that Ged’s heart was all over the place and he would be staying put for the time being.  Ben and I went home.  I was ever hopeful that Ben would sleep and so he did for almost 20 minutes until we pulled up outside the door and then he was awake and adamant that he was not going back to bed, despite being up since 2.30am.

And thus began a surreal day.  Ben got to watch the Gruffalo three times while I did the washing up and ‘thunk’ – that we don’t have insurance for Ged, that we can’t afford to lose him, that we lose everything if anything happens to him, that I want him to get fit and slim and spend a long and healthy life with him . . .

And every few hours I would ring the hospital where Ged was being wheeled from test to test and seeing specialists etc.  He passed out again when they stitched his face – lucky he was lying down.  Finally at the end of the day they moved him into a private room and out of the Emergency ward so he could sleep.  Ben and I somehow got through an extraordinary day.  The poor child was as much in shock that his mother let him watch TV all morning, than that his father, so recently returned to us, was in hospital.

Suffice it to say we all slept extremely well that night.  And thankfully Ged’s heart was beating better in the morning.  Ben and I decided to visit him after lunch (so hopefully Ben would sleep in the car – ha, ha, this eternal hope of mine is laughable!) By the time we were on our way the hospital had decided to release Ged and he was, according to the nurse, in the ‘transit’ room.  Air side or land side I was tempted to ask . . .

But Ged told me he was being sent home with no monitoring equipment or any guarantee that this wouldn’t happen again so of course I went ballistic.  The nurse knew nothing about his case.  So I called in reinforcements.  I rang Macca and she agreed that he couldn’t come home to the farm without some sort of halter monitor.  She knows only too well what the hospital is like (she used to work there) so she put on her battle armour and said she’d meet me there.  She got there before me and woke Ged up from snoozing in his armchair.  He wasn’t surprised, he knows me well, he just raised his eyes to heaven and said ‘Hi Macca, she called in the artillery, did she?’

Ben and I couldn’t find a car parking space in the same postcode as the Hospital so we took advantage of our 4WD and parked on the grass.  And then walked long, featureless, corridors to find the transit lounge.  Not much of a lounge and not much transiting taking place as its inhabitants looked to have been sitting there long enough to have melded with the furniture.  Apparently waiting for a doc to sign a piece of paper can be an all day affair.  When the very young trainee doc came to sign Ged out with her red stethoscope and matching high heels (I last saw style like that in a B&D Brothel where a friend used to work!) I stated my case for a halter monitor.  She looked shocked to be challenged in her role as benevolent authority and disappeared to find the specialist.  Another well heeled blonde appeared in a pencil skirt and sashayed in front of us to find a meeting room.  Any red blooded man would get better just looking at her!  She was about half my age . . .

I stated my case and she proceeded to bamboozle me with science and medicine which somehow soothed and calmed me even though I cannot recollect a word she said and I didn’t understand most of it.  I think they must learn some sort of hypnotherapy mind control at med school . . . ‘I’m a doctor, TRUST me . . . ‘

At least Macca had some fun reading and talking to Ben, even though she didn’t weigh in to my medical stoush, and we got to take our stitched up, banged up, much loved husband and father home.

We all had our safe and ordered world rocked.  Ben then came down with a five day fever and has been a pale and listless caricature of his former self and we are all trying to get a handle on how, why and will this ever happen again.

Ged and I went to the specialist yesterday who at least gave him permission to drive, hooked him up to the ECG again and ultra sounded his heart.  It all looks normal and sounds steady so now they have to work out if he is stress sensitive, so they treadmill him next week and then book him in for a night in the sleep clinic to monitor whether he has sleep apnoea.  He has to lose weight (hurrah, someone else singing from my song sheet!) but then so do I – at least we can help each other there . . .

And we need to make more time for each other, for holidays, for fun as well as the farm, for play as well as work.  I need to learn to relax and enjoy.  Both Ben and Ged can teach me that.  I have to let them.  And we have to savour every moment, treasure each other, stop taking life and each other for granted.  We none of us know how long we’ve got.

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