Home > break, hiatus, updates > Not quite the rest I was hoping for…

Not quite the rest I was hoping for…

Greeting Gentle Readers,

I still have a number of comments to catch up on, but it’s been slow going. We got back about a week ago from a vacation, during which I had fully intended to get caught up,  that did not prove very restful or relaxing. A couple of days into the trip (before I flew down to join my husband and daughter), my van broke down and had to be towed to a dealership over 100 miles away (springing for the better AAA membership TOTALLY paid off). Turned out to be a bad alternator and a bad battery damaged by the alternator. They needed to order parts, so my husband and daughter left my van behind and continued southward in her car. She had driven separately as when we finished our vacation, she was off to a conference.

We met up on Hilton Head Island, where we were staying at the Disney Vacation Club resort, of which we are members. We had a lovely couple of days with some time spent at the pool and beach as well as a fun excursion to Savannah for the day. BTW, if you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend the Old Pink House restaurant. A bit pricey, but a wonderful historic building and the service and food are exquisite.

The next day, we were swimming in the ocean and when we went to head back to shore, my husband felt a bit out of breath. When we got up the next morning, he was very tired so he stayed behind in the room while my daughter and I went to do a bit of shopping. When we got back, he still wasn’t feeling well and when we measured his pulse rate it was 140. This was sitting at rest in an armchair, mind you. A very strong indication that he was in atrial fibrillation (afib). He was hospitalized in December with atrial flutter and underwent a cardio-revert and an ablation and then had another episode of afib in February. The one in February we caught early enough that they did an immediate cardio-revert in the emergency room then sent us home. We saw his cardiologist less than a week before he left and everything looked good, so this came as a bit of a surprise.

We looked up the local hospital, which turned out to be excellent, with an award-winning cardiology department. If you have heart problems, Hilton Head Island is a good place to have them. The nursing staff was also excellent (and trust me, at this point, I have a lot of experience by which to judge! 🙂 ) When we got to the emergency room, his blood pressure was really high and his pulse rate was around 140-150. They performed an EKG and he was in Afib. They treated him with IV drugs to attempt to bring his pulse rate and blood pressure down. While they helped, he did not revert to a normal sinus rhythm and he was admitted to the hospital.

The next morning,  they did a transthoracic echocardiogram (standard echo through the chest). The results were indefinite enough that they ordered a TEE (transesophageal echocardiogram, you get to swallow the probe). They moved him down to the lab for the TEE and cardio-revert around 11 only to find out that an anesthesiologist wasn’t available until 2. So my daughter and I decided to go back to the hotel to grab lunch and pick up a few things and be back in time for the procedures. At which point her battery light went on.

We checked the connections and called a mechanic who is a friend of the family. He told us most likely the alternator was going so the battery wasn’t charging. So we couldn’t drive it, as we risked the car dying on the way back to the hospital. Panic ensued. I needed to get back to the hospital by 2:00, so I called the front desk to find a cab company and we experienced the Disney Difference! A very kind young woman immediately asked where we were and told us a car would be right over to drive us to the hospital. As she was driving us to the hospital, she told us to just call the resort when we were done and someone would be sent over to pick us up. I cannot begin to explain the relief. I actually teared up when I thanked her.

So we did make it back to the hospital before either of the procedures. When the echo showed no clots, they did the cardio-revert (shocked him with the paddles) to put him back into sinus rhythm. The first didn’t work, so they upped the voltage a bit and tried again and that worked.  Once my husband was back to a normal heart rhythm , and back to his room, we called Disney and they drove us to the airport where I rented a car. Then my daughter and I  dropped her car off at a mechanic’s she had found just a few minutes away from the hospital, and then went back to the hospital. They kept my husband overnight for observation. We picked him up the next morning. The car was done late that afternoon and we returned the rental car.

Disney continued to be incredibly kind, extending our reservation for a night (as well as leaving cookies and a gift basket in our room with a lovely note). We managed to enjoy the last couple days with time at the beach and pool. Then my daughter drove my husband and I to Virginia Beach to pick up the van. We all stayed there that night and the next morning, my husband and I headed home.

We had an appointment with BN scheduled for that day, but had to cancel since we had moved everything back one day and would not be home in time. Which stretched my break to three weeks.

We say my husband’s cardiologist here in town on Monday. He approved all the medication changes they made when he left the hospital. There is a small possibility that there may be minor heart damage, but the cardiologist thinks the low reading which indicated damage was only due to my husband being in afib. He’s doing a follow-up echo in a month to check. In the meantime, my husband is on a heart monitor for a month which actually transmits live, real-time data on his heart (Geek moment: Really cool and amazing bit of technology!). So far we’ve heard nothing, which means he’s staying in sinus rhythm. Good news, since the reason for monitoring was to see if he was going in and out of afib without realizing. His cardiologist saw this as just a bump in the road and pretty normal for someone with afib. I really trust my husband’s cardiologist, more than any other medical professional I’ve ever worked with, so it was really a relief to have him be ok with everything, especially all of the medication changes.

I don’t think I had realized how scared I’d been, because after I heard that, I kind of collapsed inward. I went to work the next morning and everything caught up to me, and I felt exhausted and overwhelmed and needy. I was sitting at my desk and couldn’t stop crying. Thankfully no one came in. It finally hit me that I was feeling needy, which brings up an enormous amount of shame, so I hide. But what I really needed was connection. So even though it felt scary, I reached out to some friends. The more people I was able to connect with, the better I felt. In the middle of feeling awful, I had read something that I found incredibly triggering and emailed it to BN to discuss in today’s session, but also asked for reassurance as the topic was physical touch (specifically hugging) in therapy and I feel like it’s been talked to death! In the meantime, at the encouragement of another friend, who agreed my reaction was a little intense :), I stayed with the feelings and connected what was going on for me. So I ended up having an awesome, connected session today with BN during which we were both able to see a lot of growth in me. I’m going to post about it at some point, as I made some very important connections and powerful realizations that I want to write about and share.

And very much on the upside, according to an agreement my husband and I had, another hospitalization would trigger immediate retirement. He was planning on retiring either late this fall or early next year, but we both agreed that we would feel more comfortable if he retired right away. So he has started the process and his retirement begins August 1st, when there will be much rejoicing in AG’s household. 😀 I am planning on continuing to work for a number of years; I have a much less demanding job and one that I really enjoy, while my husband has worked a very demanding job he often did not enjoy for 32 years to take care of our family. He truly deserves this! And he’s committed to taking over the lion’s share of the housework, so I’m not sure there’s a downside to this. 🙂 We’re both looking forward to having more time both to enjoy ourselves and do a better job with self-care.

So that should bring everyone up to date. I’ll be working on my backlog of comments next, followed, hopefully within a short time frame, by some new posts.

Categories: break, hiatus, updates
  1. June 19, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Wow! What an ‘adventure.’ I’m glad you and your husband are home safe and sound and you are starting to find your feet again. It certainly sounds like it was very intense.

    Crossing fingers, toes, and whatever else that your husband doesn’t have heart damage and will remain stable.


    • June 20, 2015 at 10:25 pm

      (((Cat))) Thanks so much, it was a bit on the intense side. Thanks for crossing all those appendages. 🙂 He’s been doing really well, his blood pressure and pulse rate are both excellent and we’ve both been taking better care of ourselves and that’s helping to. He also officially retires August 1st and we’re both excited about that. It’s one of those half empty/half full situations. Ok vacation wasn’t the best, but I am very grateful we were on land, the local hospital was excellent and my husband came through. 🙂 xx AG

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ms. Sharkey
    June 19, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Holy crap, you’ve really been through the wringer AG! Hugs to you and I hope you and your husband really enjoy his retirement.


    • June 20, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      Ms. Sharkey
      Good to hear from you! “Holy crap, you’ve been through the wringer” cracked me up as I do think its a concise, pithy description. 🙂 Thanks for the hugs and I’m pretty sure we’re going to enjoy it. My husband and I were talking today about how happy I am to see him retire. The truth is that he has worked for a number of years in a difficult and demanding job which he didn’t particularly like, in order to take care of his family. His life has been the epitome of delayed gratification. I told him that he was now able to reap what he sowed by retiring at 57 and being able to enjoy the benefits of all that hard work. Thanks for your support and encouragement. xx AG


  3. June 19, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    So sorry to hear the vacation was so stressful, but glad your husband is ok. Hope the retirement transition goes smoothly and his health improves. Can’t wait to hear about your session!
    Sending hugs


    • June 20, 2015 at 10:30 pm

      (((Armored))) Thanks so much for the support! Things are already looking up! And I promise to get to my last couple sessions as fast as possible. Weve been doing good work and I want to share some of what’s happened and the connections I’ve made. I am grateful for such a patient readership. 🙂 xx AG


  4. gentlewind
    June 19, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Wow AG! I’m so glad your husband is ok. Sounds like a Murphy’s Law type of vacation but glad you reached out for support. That’s a hard thing to do and I’m glad it helped. Here’s hoping things are quiet and peaceful for you and your family for the next very long period of time! Look forward to hearing about your session.


  5. MYB
    June 20, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Welcome back, AG!! What a crazy time you had but how wonderful that there was so much support for you all along the way. And, yes, there is definitely a Disney Difference!! I can attest to that from a food allergy and chemical sensitivity stand-point. And soooo happy for you with all the growth you’re experiencing in therapy these days. HUGS!!!


    • June 20, 2015 at 10:36 pm

      Thanks for the welcome back! Yes, a fellow fan who knows the phrase “Disney Difference” 😀 It really is amazing how much further they will go above and beyond their obligations. There really was no reason they were responsible to get me back and forth to the hospital, so I was so appreciative of their care. And you’re also right that I am blessed in my support. ~ AG


  6. Fullmoon8
    June 20, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Wow you did really well!! Happy for your family & special time in your future. I’m curious about your feeling of “needy” only because I get this.
    Could it really be a perfect storm of insecurity & sadness? I”m trying to tease out what “needy” or means to me. It’s a time I really need my therapist but can’t have them. I almost feel alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 20, 2015 at 10:42 pm

      Thanks Fullmoon8! For me needy feels like I am screaming at the top of my lungs inside my head and wondering why no one is hearing me, then realizing I am keeping it so hidden. Its the feeling of being drained and overwhelmed and realizing that I am just going white knuckled trying to handle things on my own but my grip is still slipping. I need understanding, compassion and comfort from other people, but man, does that terrify me. So I often end up feeling terribly alone (because there was a time I was) until I realize I really can speak up and will not be met with rejection and criticism. Hard stuff, learning to express our needs and doubly so when we’re learning as adults. I think our Ts are often the first people we feel safe enough to reach out to, so there is a period where when they are not available, it evokes painful memories of the times that we were isolated and alone when we should not have been. ~ AG


  7. FullMoon8
    June 20, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    Wow AG that was a really beautiful reply. My “neediness” is similar, but also a broken heart with the strings flapping and no attachments, I need someone to confirm my being, my feelings, my worth. It’s heartache. Thanks for the reply I know you are a busy woman!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. drgeraldstein
    June 21, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    Cheers to you and cheers for the good result!


  9. Moto
    June 21, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    AG I am sorry your vacation didn’t go as planned. I think you handled the whole situation with great courage! I am excited for you about this new chapter in your life with your husband retiring!! I hope this helps his heart condition stabilize! I am happy you were able to bring that in to session with you and discuss it. Way to speak up and talk about how you feel and what you need!


    • June 22, 2015 at 3:09 pm

      Thanks Moto! We’re both pretty excited about him retiring (which is nice because we were both worried about how scary it might feel). I am very grateful that my husband has been such a careful financial manager and we have been blessed with enough income, that we can afford to have him retire at 57. I know this wouldn’t be possible for a lot of people. I am really looking forward to having a house husband. LOL. He’s insisting if he’s not working, he should be doing the housework; I don’t know if I’ll EVER retire. I am domestically challenged and this may be the solution I have been searching for. 🙂


  10. Ann
    June 22, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Oh AG, it sounds like you handled the situation with so much grace! I would have gone into a major melt down. I am also impressed that you were able to later mentally step out of the situation, analyze your emotions and use it towards your own healing in therapy. I bet BN celebrated that success! ( with a huge drink, behind your back, of course!:-)) I look forward to your next post to hear about the specifics!
    I see my T this week and then it is his vacation time! Curiously I am not too panicked. I will be seeing one of his collegues, a woman, while he is gone. Though I know I will miss him, I am psyched about seeing a woman again!! Xoxoxo You’ve been missed.


    • June 22, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      (((Ann))) I save the meltdown for when I get back. 🙂 Please trust me that sitting at your desk, staring at your computer and not being able to stop crying does NOT feel very graceful! It’s very kind of you to describe it that way. I love the thought that BN would have a drink to celebrate (we have a running joke about him needing valium after my sessions, so that’s a MUCH better reason for drinking than the ones I would come up with. )

      I love that you’re not feeling panicked about vacation time. I find breaks are getting easier and easier to tolerate as our work has progressed. I hope things go really well with the woman T, would love to hear about it! xoxo AG


  11. kelly
    September 14, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Another of lifes little adventures! They all form a section of our journeys in life, I do hope everything works out and your husbands heart is ok, its incredibly scary, I speak from experience!!!

    One thing I’ve learnt is life is short and you only get one shot at it so I’m really pleased you guys have looked at your future, take care and enjoy the retirement.


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