Saturday, January 9, 2016

More Songs


More Songs

The unusually violent attacks had been all over the papers.  In an area of town we often frequented, people were being mugged.  But of course, no one ever thinks it will happen to them, so off we went to our favourite Mexican restaurant and, as it was nestled in a particularly leafy, pedestrian enclave, we assumed we’d be safe.  We’d just gotten out of our car and begun to make our way across the car park when two men appeared out of the woods behind the restaurant.  Almost amusingly cliche, they were large and scowling, moving fast, with hands stuck deep in their pockets. And they were making a beeline towards us.  We froze.  Then just at that second, a car pulled in between us, and when it passed - in that brief moment - the men vanished.  It could have been much worse.

Then there was the time we were returning home on a late night flight from Los Angeles.  Our plane began to descend, wheels were down and we could see the grey of the tarmac beneath us.  Then our heads were thrown back as the pilot took the plane up in a near vertical line.  Our runway wasn’t clear after all, disaster was narrowly averted.  It could have been much worse.

The time The Songwriter broke his ankle (which of course, could have been his head) on the Isle of Mull.  The night I took a header over Apple ( a nearly invisible object when curled up on a dark hardwood floor in the dark ) as I ran to catch the phone and landed so hard I saw stars.  The time I jumped off a tall stone wall in an attempt to emulate Peter Pan and broke my left leg in three places.  I was six, highly imaginative, and yes, it could have been much worse.  

And then… the day after Christmas, The Songwriter and I were having a quiet, pajama day.  Our afternoon ramble with Edward and Apple had lacked that certain holiday charm, due to the unusually hot, humid weather sitting tight on the South like a plastic lid.  We were eating an early supper when The Songwriter suddenly got up and left the room.  After a few minutes, I followed him and found him complaining of heartburn.  But he looked strange.  He was sweating, something that should never accompany simple heartburn.  I made him take an aspirin.  After several minutes, when it became clear he wasn’t feeling better, I asked him if we should go to the doctor.  “Just call 911”, came the reply, and I, a bit shocked, did.

In less than three minutes he was being hooked up to an EKG machine in our sitting room.  “This looks normal”, the EMT said.  “But I’d still suggest we take you in”.  I offered to drive him and was given a sharp, Vulcan Mind Meld  stare from one of the other men in the room which told me my bright idea was not advisable.  So off The Songwriter went in the ambulance, me following along behind in my little green Fiat.  When I reached the hospital, another EKG was done and the room began to almost instantaneously fill with people.  The Songwriter, who'd been given three hits of nitroglycerine and a shot of morphine, wasn’t feeling particularly bad anymore, and seemed calm and interested in all the commotion.  It was all happening so fast, neither of us knew exactly what was going on.  Before I could blink, I was running behind his stretcher as they wheeled him in to the Cardiac Cath Lab.  The doors opened, he disappeared, and I was shown to a large waiting room that was dark and eerily empty, rather like the hotel in The Shining, that spooky Stephen King book that I’ve never read but know all about anyway.  

I called a couple of good, faithful friends who were at my side in minutes and together we waited.  In an hour, a nurse stuck her head in the door and called my name.  
“He’s all done”,  she said.  
“How is he?  What happened?  What did you have to do?”.
She smiled benignly.
“You’re not going to tell me anything, are you?”
“Nope.  The doctor will talk to you.”

We rounded the corner and there lay The Songwriter, grinning up at me.  The doctor smiled at us both.  “He’s a very lucky fellow.  He had the worst heart attack a person could have.  We put in two stents, and the rest of his heart looks good.  It appears his heart has not sustained damage and he should be fine from here on out.  Calling 911 was the single best decision he’s made in his entire life.  Obviously, God wants him to write more songs.”

This entire experience lasted less than three hours, not nearly sufficient time to absorb all the implications and process the grace we were given.  We feel a bit like the only survivors of a natural disaster in which everyone else perished.  What if we hadn’t called for help?  What if, as was his natural inclination, The Songwriter had just decided to lie down and rest?  What if one of the city’s best cardiologists had not been on duty that night? What if we'd been up on that island in Scotland?  It’s just impossible to take in all these "what if’s".  

I suppose if we all realized how often we balance on the razor’s edge of peril, none of us would get out of bed in the morning.  Our guardian angels are no doubt overworked and underpaid.  Suffice it to say, I am unspeakably grateful and still, in the dark of night, a bit shook up.  In his usual fashion, The Songwriter is happy, positive and looking forward and, as usual, I shall follow his lead.  

By the way, isn’t it just a glorious New Year?

****

After learning everything I’ve learned about heart attacks in the past couple of weeks, I feel compelled to say… if you or someone you love ever feel as though you should perhaps call for help… do so.  As part of our regular health check-ups, both The Songwriter and I had a cardiac calcium scan several years ago that showed zero plaque in our arteries and gave us both a zero percentage chance of having any sort of heart attack in the next ten years.  This of course, proved to be inaccurate.  I’ll be happy to answer any questions I can.  Just email me.

38 comments:

  1. Pamela you have given us a lot of food for thought here. So glad it all ended so well.

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  2. What a very blessed way to enter the new year--as a survivor. Best wishes and prayers of healing not only for the Songwriter's physical recovery, but for you, too, as you deal with the emotional and mental aftermath that, as you say, can leave one shook up and more than just a little unnerved.

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  3. I don't think anyone of a certain age has zero plaque in their arteries. Did you have to pay for that test?

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  4. Wow, just wow.....what a life-changing experience. I am so happy for you that all turned out well. Blessings to you in the New Year!

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  5. Geez Pam, no words. Even though I'm a stranger, please tell The Songwriter that I am happy it turned out ok and he is recovering well. And my thoughts to you also. I think we all need to take life a little slower and take a moment to be grateful. My husband has been working exceptionally hard of late, and I'm going to ask him to take this weekend off. Please take care of both of you. Bev

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  6. This is wonderful news! I read every post but hardly comment. On this one I will. I work in a hospital and from 1998-2005 worked in our local cath lab. Its incredible the miracles I saw each and every day. :)

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  7. OMG, thank goodness this 'what if' has a happy ending Pamela. Because the two of you did everything right, all worked out well. Of course a great surgeon and nurses to thank profusely also. I think I hear joyful music in the distance, floating toward North Carolina, and yes, the manuscript is signed by The Songwriter! Tell him to take things a bit easier for the time being - and you my dear definitely need evenings by the hearth, knitting, reading and cuddling with your three lovely roommates!!! Emergencies such as this take their toll on the entire household you know.

    Happy New Year to you all - Mary x

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  8. What a scary ordeal to go through but to realize how lucky you were to have the help available, it is like a miracle and a lot of luck too So happy things have turned out as they did. But you need recovery time and maybe a time to grieve too. So take the time you need to settle yourself. The Songwriter got drugs and treatment, you've just had to soak it in with very little help! Take care and a blessed New Year for you all.

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  9. So glad you called 911. I always think I probably wouldn't. It is a wonderful new year for you both and I think I am going to call my doctor and schedule some exams. Those what ifs are really serious as a heart attack.

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  10. I'm so grateful to hear of this wonderful outcome. I had a mitral valve repaired a year ago myself after watching the valve degenerate for almost 10 years asymptomatically. When your chest is opened and they reach in to play, it gives one a more humble perspective. My band opened for PTG back in the Paleolithic era - please keep on with what you are obviously called to do. Rich blessings on all of you. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  11. You are both blessed beyond words, and rightly so. May 2016 be wonderful (and a bit less eventful).

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  12. SO glad everything turned out ok! Thanks for posting this as a reminder to count our blessings and do everything we can to make sure we are around to do so.

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  13. So much for a relaxing Boxing Day. And very glad to learn of the positive outcome to this sudden and very scary event! Happy New Year to all of you!

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  14. So happy to see your post today and to know all is now well with all of you. I read your post every day and when I hadn't seen one since Christmas I hoped you were on vacation, but was a tiny bit worried one of you was ill. Best wishes for 2016 and hope the rest of the year is filled with good health for you both and your two hairy kids! Laura

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  15. So glad all is well and The Songwriter listened to his guidance to call 911. I wonder if my husband or I would just wave it off and wait to feel better. A very similar incident happened to one of my husband's best college friends at the first of December, and he had to have two stents put in. Fortunately his wife was at home and was able to call 911, otherwise he probably wouldn't have made it. He's also doing well and the guys have had their quarterly get together in the mountains and he was able to come. We are at that age where you hear these stories more and more. We can't constantly live in fear or worry about life's perils, but it is good to pay attention to your guardian angel. Hope the year ahead is full of good health and countless blessings.

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  16. I'm so glad this frightening event evolved into rescue and a healing grab from the edge of the abyss! Praise God. These unnerving experiences require time to process and settle down from. As Mary said, sit by the fire with dogs, books, knitting and the Songwriter.

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  17. Heaven be praised for how well this all turned out. Thank you for your wise counsel. May 2016 be a bright and shining year for you and The Songwriter (and Edward and Apple)!

    Pamela, I had my own Peter Pan episode, at the age of 5. I loved Peter Pan. Certain that I would soar into the sky just like Peter if I jumped off the garage roof, I jumped. I landed on my back with a thump which knocked the breath out of me. After a few minutes I was able to wobble around the garage to where my grandfather was working. He always told me, "I took one look at you and I knew exactly what you had done." Of course, a hard thump on the ground doesn't quite match your broken leg.

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  18. What a frightening experience for both of you! So happy he is OK. Good thing you gave him an aspirin. Probably saved his life. Hugs to you both!

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  19. I'm so relieved the songwriter will be okay. What a frightening experience. I wish you a less stressful rest of 2016.
    Karen

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  20. We never know what strange things life will throw our way when we least expect them. Glad to know the Songwriter is doing well and I wish you both the very best in 2016. Here's to More Songs!

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  21. Wonderful and thankful news that all is well. I know that was quite a scare for both of you. I expect there were many Guardian Angels at work to see that all went well that day. Yay to More Songs and Blessings to From the House of Edward in this New Year!

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  22. Exactly one year ago, yesterday, I sat at the hospital while my husband received two heart stents. He had no symptoms, however, during a routine check-up for clearance to remove his gall bladder the surgeon told us he had a "bundle block". I had never heard of that before. Google the term and it should explain how it is related to how the heart works. The cardiologist thoughtfully told us that God gives us two so we have "back up" if one decides not to work.Husband was sent to have many tests done. Eye opening! My husband is doing well now. He has loss 30 pounds and exercises every single day. I am so glad to hear that your husband is doing well, too!

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  23. Will be praying.... God bless!

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  24. Will be praying.... God bless!

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  25. My goodness me ! Thank heavens for 911. You're both in our thoughts and prayers.

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  26. I am greatful all worked out. "The Songwriters" songs have been a very important part of my life for a long time. One song was played at our wedding. You are both in our thoughts and prayers.

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  27. You are both in my loving thoughts I am so glad everything turned out fine.
    Blessings
    My beloved Mother died of a sudden heart attack.
    Love Jeanne

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  28. Dear Pamela I am just so very happy that he is alright and it was taken care of quickly! Such is life it does not move in a straight line! All the best to you and yours in 2016!!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena
    Life Lessons: So Honored!

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  29. Whew!

    And yet you manage to relate it with wit and humor. So glad to know that all is well.

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  30. Oh my goodness Pamela, what a scare for the Songwriter and for you. I am so pleased that all is well and now you can both look forward to many more years of music making !! XXXX

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  31. Yowza! Yes, our guardian angels work overtime sometimes. Mine facepalms often! So glad there will be many more songs to come for you both.

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  32. Prayers being sent up from Asheville. We experienced a similar event and thankfully all turned out well for us, also.
    Abundant blessings to you both.

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  33. I held my breath while reading your elegant account of a most terrifying experience. I can only imagine how many times you held your breath while going through this trauma. Please breathe now, deeply. We hold the Terry family in our hearts and prayers.

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  34. So glad the Songwriter is doing well. I went through this last year on the 18th of January. After going to an Urgent Care to see about husband's shoulder pain, we were told to go to ER and tell them that he was having a heart attack. I took him and parked the car. When I enter the room, he was surrounded by numerous people and my husband kept telling them he didn't having heart trouble and the doc said, "you are having one now." He had one stent put in that was 80% plugged. We were lucky. Husband had only upper shoulder pain, He thought he had pulled a muscle until the pain grew quickly and he was ready to go see about it. No history of heart trouble in the family so now I pass that information on to my children. Will keep you both in my prayers Its a very frightening thing but my husband did keep his sense of humor through the entire thing,
    Hugs,
    ConnieL
    CFl/IN

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  35. Hi Pamela, I don't know you or your beautiful Songwriter except through reading your lovely blog but I am so glad that everything turned out well for him. He is obviously meant to contribute a great deal more to this world. Best of wishes from Sydney Australia, Lisa xxx

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  36. So happy to hear that The Songwriter is well! What a scary time for the both of you. I had a scare myself a few months ago and drove myself to the emergency room at midnight, unfortunately my husband was out of town, thankfully after a few hours I was sent home and told it was stress.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you both.

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  37. That is so frightening. I had a heart attack nearly 20 years ago, and I still remember it very clearly. I didn't need a stent but had an angiocardiagram then went to ICU for 2 days, then into the ward. Phew! I never want it to happen again.

    How lucky the Songwriter was! And what a great decision he made.

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I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at pamela@pamelaterry.net. Thank you for reading!