Sunday, January 25, 2015

A year ago this weekend

It's been a year since my husband Art had a cardiac arrest while playing pickleball with me at our winter home in Tucson. Here's what I said last winter about that experience: and

I'd say it was a life-changing experience. I realized that we are not guaranteed happily ever after. It can change in a heartbeat -  or a lack of one. To that end, we've had a busy year full of learning.

  • I was Art's advocate while he was in the hospital. I listened to the doctors as they discussed possible diagnoses and prescribed new medications. They took him off one medication and added two new ones. Pacemaker appointments were scheduled, and follow-up visits. We were in Tucson and our medical insurance carrier is in Seattle, so it was up to me to keep everyone informed. Until Art got used to his health regimen I was the reminder and the encourager. But after three months Art wanted to take over his own care. That was when I had a problem: how to let go of the responsibilities I'd taken on and trust Art to assume them. That phase was a bigger adjustment for me than for him.
  • I wanted Art to take it easy. He wanted to live his life. I had to let him.
  • We decided to stay in the States this year, to put off international travel until he had a year of recovery behind him. We took trips to Idaho, Maine, the Washington coast and Hawaii, and came to Arizona in December. On the first two trips my eye was on Art. On the latter three it wasn't. I had learned to trust his judgment.
  • We bought the park model we'd rented in Tucson for two winters. I love the sun and Art loves the arthritis relief. There's no time like the present to plan for living.
  • I joined the Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Church. I had learned the importance of a spiritual community.
  • We invited family - my sister and her husband - to live indefinitely with us on our property. In a nurturing family, everybody wins.
  • We planted a big garden and harvested strawberries and raspberries and blueberries and grapes and lettuce and spinach and radishes and beets and tomatoes. We watched a mother bird sit on her nest in our grape arbor and we watched the babies hatch and then we grieved when bigger birds found them. Life happened in our garden.
Yesterday we celebrated a year of Art's recovery with a trip to a Tucson nursery for a tomato start (a winter garden) and lunch with Arizona friends.

We are living a blessed life.


Arkansas Patti said...

It doesn't not seem like it has been a year. So glad he is doing so well. Must be the caregiver.

Olga said...

I know these things happen for a reason--we are meant to learn something. Just wish some lessons didn't have to be so hard.

Deere Driver said...

Art's got some Arlo Guthrie going there!!
Thanks for the follow up. I'm guessing I'd be like you, so its good to learn from your experience.

Quilting away here, waiting for Blizzard Juno.

Sally Wessely said...

I'm so happy to read this because it is a reminder that Art has been given a second chance with life, and he is using it so well! Art has a new look. I like it.

Tom said...

I like the cake and candle -- and, like it says, congrats!

Pam said...

Thank you for sharing the highlights of your past year. Seems that if we're honest, there are lots of challenges as the years go by, but we can learn from them...and from each other. I especially appreciated your sharing the fact that it wasn't easy to give the reins back to Art when he was wanted to take them. I am there. Enjoy your time in the sunshine!

#1Nana said...

Great post. It is good to be reminded of how quickly our lives can change and the importance of living life while we have it. Art is looking good!

Linda Reeder said...

I love it when you share your "learnings". There are lessons here for all of us.
Congratulations to you and Art on a year well lived.

DJan said...

It doesn't seem possible it's been a year, but then again, they sure have sped up the rotation, from my perspective anyway. I knew he looked like somebody and yep, it's Arlo Guthrie, all right! :-)

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

I'm so glad to see Art doing so much better and both of you enjoying this bonus time that will extend, I hope, many more years! Thanks for sharing some important lessons that we all need to hear!

b+ (Retire In Style Blog) said...

Love to see Art's smiling face.