As I sit here perched on the 7th floor heart unit at the University of Michigan, overlooking life outside of these 4 walls, I can’t help but feel being sandwiched between 2 different worlds.
I stare out the window, watching the tip-tops of the trees changing, cars going from here to there, electric scooters whizzing down the sidewalk, birds scanning for a place to land, construction trucks working hard on the blank canvas of dirt below them, and AeroMed doing what they do best.
Then I look the other way, to the hustle and bustle of the hallway, watching doctor after doctor speedily walking to the next room, assigning their wisdom to each patient and ensuring that they are doing their best to get each and every one of us out of here as quickly as possible. It’s a different world in that hallway. Everyone fighting for the same thing – health. As I walk past the rooms on my routine walks, I peer into the rooms and see so many different walks of life fighting for their own health. Some more mobile than others, but some with evidence of mental health struggles. It’s a hard scene to witness at times, knowing I’m half the age of most of the patients here. But we are all within these 4 walls, with different stories, but the same problem. Our hearts are failing us.
Outside these 4 walls, it’s hard to not want what those who are driving in the vehicles have. Freedom. But as I’ve watched them stop at the stoplight, I can’t help but wonder what their struggles are? What are they wrestling with today? Maybe they are heading to the hospital because their loved one is dying of cancer. Maybe they are heading to a job that they despise, but can’t give up because they need the money. Maybe they are grabbing coffee with a friend who is going through a hard time.
Within these 4 walls, what is sure within them: incredible care at a place I need to be. And beyond these 4 walls is a place outside of myself, that I will one day step back into. But sometimes we need to be walled in, to be healed. To come back to a healthy place in life. Sometimes those 4 walls may mean sitting in a counselor’s room. In a coffee shop with a friend. In a chemotherapy room. In your own room at home, regaining strength for the next day, all because of depression. As much as I want to escape these 4 walls and enter the world outside, I know I can’t do it until something is accomplished within them. And I get healthy.
Where are you at in life? Do you feel stuck between 4 walls, pounding on them to escape, so that you can live the life everyone else is living beyond them? Oh how I’d love to go out to eat right now and hear the mumbling chatter of those doing the same. But right now, I know I need to be between these 4 walls so that one day I can go beyond them, and continue on the road God has set before me outside of them. And right now, my mission is within them.
So don’t let your current situation make you wish for someone else’s. I wrestle with that myself. And trust me, it’s not a good path to go down. Beyond your current situation, your 4 walls, you never know what someone else is dealing with. There will be days of joys and triumphs, and there will be days of grief and pain. But in them all, God is faithful. He is just. He is good. He is righteous. He is all-knowing. He is certain. He is comfort. He is peace. He is provider. He is everything we need Him to be, right when we need it.
As for an update…I had an ECHO yesterday and it showed that the mitral valve I had replaced 2 years ago is all good – whew! The ejection fraction maybe isn’t what we thought it was (last week we were told it had increased significantly), but the doctor said to not get too hung up on that. What’s true is that my heart is having a lot of PVCs and we need to get them under control. Tomorrow I will have an EVO2 test (walk on a treadmill with nose-plugged and tube in mouth, to test oxygen). That also involves ECHOs. After that I will have the rest of my PFT test. It’ll be a bit yet. Sometimes it’s hard to wait because I want to go outside these 4 walls, but I know without a doubt, that ultimately I have to be here. Something is wrong and it’s time to get ‘er fixed!
Some have asked if I’ve gotten bored yet and I honestly haven’t! I knew I was coming so I brought a lot to do, but if you’ve ever been in the hospital, you know it’s not like sitting on the couch in front of a fireplace, overlooking the mountains, with complete solitude. It’s busy. It is quiet at times. But I sleep. I read. I just sit. I figure out what I want to eat from the cardiac menu. I meet with techs. Nurses. Nurse practitioners. Physician’s Assistance. Doctors. Phlebotomists. The IV team. Everyday. So in a strange way, the days absolutely fly. I’m hyper aware of how I feel, I go on walks when I can, and mentally it’s nice to just sit and listen to music. If you’ve been in the hospital, you know the feeling! Getting better is hard work, isn’t it? But I’m giving it all I’ve got!
I keep telling the nurses I’m living until I’m at least 80, if not 90, so I’ve got a lotta fight and grit in me. Some moments are easier than others, absolutely. I have to be realistic with myself and the situation. And…my parents came for a surprise visit on Sunday, which was such a fun surprise! The day flew! But what’s most difficult is that the thing I struggle with most is talking. I can get incredible short of breath. Y’all know me, I like to talk. If you’ve read to the end of the post, point made. I even have a vase of two yellow roses sitting on my window sill from a dear friend. And the sheer number of texts, emails, and facebook messages, is incredible! Makes me tear up just typing this. I tell all of my nurses about the incredible support system I have back home and I am so grateful for each and every one of them. It’s rare I’ve learned.
Mazy and Dan are doing okay. They are both tired and it’s not always easy, but from what I understand, they both are so well loved. Thank you for being an expression of love to them during this time. Mazy is doing a 100 times better than my previous stay. God is answering our prayers in mighty mighty ways! I will be here a few more days I believe, but so much depends on what they find. So thank you for continuing to walk this journey with us! We know one day we will have answers!