Monday, March 16, 2009

How do you mend a broken heart? how do you stop the clots from forming round?

(My family - when we were an intact family - now, mom is married to Frank; dad is married to Norreen - I love Frank; I love Norreen - so...well - things work as they will.)

There is not a more heartbreaking sound than the rapid, terrified breaths of a mother who thinks she is about to lose her son, especially when she has already lost one to the same kind of thing, and especially when she almost lost the other. The sound is breathless and quick and it cut to my marrow. I still hear it. I close my eyes at night and I hear her breaths...breaths....breaths...breaths...breathsbreathsbreathsbreathsBREATHS....

That was my mother's breathing when she ran out and said, "call 911..." I never knew how calm I could be, as if I were a robot. I calmly picked up the phone, pushed numbers, spoke into the phone, "Hurry, my brother is...." I look at my mother, for I don't know what's happening....her breaths panting... she said, "He's having heart attack...Tommy said this is how it was before, he said..." And...I spoke something, and then handed the phone to my mom...opened the door to ready for the emergency techs to enter, as Tommy came to sit on the stairs leading to the upstairs - the ones that face the front door, his face a mask of afraid...he said, "sister...." and my heart broke in a million pieces at that sound, but my face remained impassive...calm...surreal. I said, "Does it hurt?" he said, "yes..." I said, "they'll be here soon..." Calm. Impassive. Surreal. I hear distant sirens, too distant it seems. Tommy said, "I'm hot..." I opened the door wider, eyes scanning for the emergency techs, and let in the cool Texas air. I said, "Soon. They'll be here soon." I cautioned one look at my brother again - he was looking down, concentrating on his body, concentrating on hope that it wouldn't be like it was in 2005 when he coded several times (he told me death is peaceful, beautiful - but it isn't when you are still alive, is it?). I remained: Impassive. Calm. Surreal. Another heart attack? But a few minutes ago, he was laughing and talking. How? But...

He did - a "minor" one (and to me, no heart attack feels minor to those waiting, to Mother's with breaths breaths breaths breathsbreathsBREATHS). When my dad walked into the hospital emergency room, his face was folded in worry, drawn in - for once, he looked his age. Oh daddy!

Tommy's blood simply will not flow freely. When he has "procedures" - like his hernia surgery - where he had to get off the plavix (blood thinner), his blood just clots on up inside of him. I remained Passive. Calm. Surreal until he was settled in the emergency holding room and seen by a doc--then I broke down and cried. My brother has been through too much for a 46 year old man. And it's not like he hasn't tried to be healthy: he's thin, he quit smoking, he eats healthfully -- but his blood is just too thick, too clotty. The heperin shots he was taking in place of the plavix and aspirin saved his life. Next time he has a procedure, he needs to be on something stronger, however.

Right now there is good news and happy news and all is well-mere moments ago, he just had a stint put in, and all his other stints look good and he's doing great

But I'm not there with him today as he recovers from getting his new stint. I was chased away. I was told GO HOME DANG IT SEESTOR!

My friends. I am writing to you from a hotel in a cute clean little town of Bartlett Tennessee. I left Texas at noon yesterday, but not without crying and worrying. Tommy and Frank (frank is home now and we spent some time talking while my mom lay exhausted on the sofa, her breaths breaths breaths turend to exhausted moans in her sleep); both he and Tommy said, "Go Home! You've been gone almost a month -- there will never be a right time to leave." And then they both said I need to work on the book. I said family is important. They said, "family is proud of you and that book - are you going to let us down by not getting it done?" I struggled struggled. Tommy does not want to feel the "guilt" of thinking he "kept me" from what I am supposed to be doing. It's all tangled in familial love and worry and pride and ...all of it. I received promises from Tommy that when he left the hospital he'd go to our mother's house until he was all clear. He rolled his eyes, but he'll do it - because I told him I'd fly back down to Texas and kick his ass if he did not. Big Sisters Rule.

Now, I must go; get back on the road. I don't have my glasses -left them in the boopmobile - and can hardly see what I'm typing, but I wanted to come in to tell you what's been up. If you see my Boopmobile in your town today as I wend my way back to Killian Knob - give me a honk and a wave -- as i said, you'll know the Boopmobile when you see it.

Thank you all for being patient and for still coming round even though I've been away and involved and thank you for all your thoughts and....well -- *kiss and hug* -- thankyou.

15 comments:

kimmi said...

xoxoxo backatcha, ((((Kat)))).

Janna Qualman said...

I'm glad you're on your way home, and hope you find peace when you get there.

You expressed those feelings very well, and I felt them all over again with you. My mom had a double-bypass a few years ago, when she'd had no forewarning of an unhealthy heart (and, like your brother, did things "right"). She's very well today, and I bet your bro will be, too. The human body is so resilient.

Linda said...

Hang in, Kathryn.....You've got SO much going on in your life right now....

Barbara said...

Oh, Kathryn, you have been through so much in so little time. You will soon be home in the arms of your peaceful mountains. Drive safely.

jinksy said...

Good wishes go with you... xxx

Literary Nut said...

Positive thoughts and prayers go with you and your family!

Small Footprints said...

This is the first time that I've cried while reading a blog! I'm so glad that things turned out OK with your family. But still ... it is frightening and exhausting!

Soon you'll be in your mountains again ... and I know ... they will refresh you. Home, Kat ... where life makes sense!

Drive safely!

Small Footprints
http://reducefootprints.blogspot.com

JOY said...

God Speed. We're here for you wherever you are!

Brian said...

Stay strong Kat, we're keeping you in our thoughts.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Passive. Calm. Surreal. Pretty much describes teh whole family care giving thing, I think. (You got to see some of my calm-in-the-storm while you were, here. Sorry!) You've been a good and faitful daughter/sister. Go home in peace and rest. Then on to that BOOK!

Hugs, prayers, love.

Debbie said...

Oh, you are getting closer and closer! You've been through so much and I'm happy you are almost home. The mountains have prepared a nice day or two to welcome you back.

Sandra Leigh said...

Kat, I hope that by now you are having a good night's rest. Your family is right. It's time you were back on your mountain, letting Good Man Roger look after you, taking comfort in Jake's furry presence.

All good wishes going out to you and to your family -

Lisa said...

wonderful Kat- your mountain is waiting for you.......blessed be, sweet sister xx

Jill of All Trades said...

Hang in there. It is a scary thing. My sister was in the hospital two weeks ago with what they thought a heart attack, it was not but it was close. She's only 49. Scary, scary stuff. Hang in there.

Deb Shucka said...

I love your family and the fact that you listened to your baby brother. As a big sister, I find it really hard to let my brothers tell me what to do, even if I want to.

So glad it's all okay and you're headed home.