Sunday, October 1, 2006

Love the People You Love

Hubster and I bought new furniture--real furniture, as in, furniture that didn't come from Wal-Mart or Office Depot. And it would be our furniture, as in, not furniture that relatives bought thirty years ago and handed down to us (not that we're not thankful for all of that ... we just got a really good deal on some real (and heavy) furniture at a going-out-of-business sale in Myrtle Beach a few weeks ago). Our friend, Pepe, a Myrtle Beachian, was going to deliver it Saturday evening.

Saturday, Hub and I scurried around the house, taking apart our old bed, taking the clothes out of the dressers, cleaning, and generally preparing for the new furniture to be delivered. I thought to myself, "I wish Mrs. Gwen [my mom] were here. It would be so much fun to have her help me decide where to put things, and how to decorate." (I have no skill at such home-y things; my mom does, plus she enjoys them. Home-y things are mind-numbingly boring for me, but if I do them with my mom, they're fun.)

Then I had a bittersweet thought: I could pick up the phone right then, if I wanted, call my mom, and tell her that I love her and wish she could be here to help re-arrange things. A good friend of mine, whose mom died of cancer a couple of months ago, can't do that with her mom. I felt so sad for my friend. I called my mom. Knowing I could lose her in an instant made me anxious to hear her voice right then. I felt so lucky to have my mom, and a little ... guilty? ... as well. Not guilty, but something like it ... because I can call her and hear her voice--what a blessing to have a mom who is healthy, fun, loves me, and even likes to be with me (and vice-versa).

Fast-forward to this morning. I really was planning to go to church--after we got the furniture moved in. We were up early, and everything was going smoothly. Then I saw Hubster leaning against a window next to the back door.

"Wifey, I need--"

"First aid?" I asked, half-jokingly. But then he nodded and said to bring him an ice pack and a rag.

Then I saw the cut. A huge-looking gash on his shin. He had been carrying in our heavy furniture with Pepe and had backed up into the lawn mower. He fell over, and the fancy-looking metal leg of the dresser fell on him and scraped into his leg. Luckily (or maybe his guardian angel was working overtime), he was able to get out from under the dresser before it fell all the way.

I was back in a flash with the ice pack and rag. By then, Pepe had him sitting outside on the steps. Hubster looked bad. His face was white, and his eyes were half-closed. He was shaking. Then he said the five words that any wife would be terrified to hear:

"I'm having a heart attack."

I ran inside to dial 911 while Pepe and Dodger (our other friend who is here) brought Hubster in and laid him down on the floor, propped up with some pillows. After I talked to 911, I sat by Hubster's head and rubbed his face with a cool washcloth. He was all sweaty and clammy. And the gash on his leg was bleeding all over the towel we held over it. But the good news is ...

He started to feel fine a few minutes later. He wasn't having a heart attack. He only thought he was because he knew the symptoms, and he was having most of the symptoms. Turns out he had only (only! ha!) briefly gone into shock, probably from the pain. (Of course, by the time the EMTs showed up and treated his leg, my eyes were red-rimmed from crying from the very possibility of losing the Hubster, and then from being so thankful and relieved that he was OK after all.) We went to the clinic later, where they cleaned out and further treated his wound and gave him a tetanus shot.

A very harrowing afternoon. We did get the furniture moved in, and the dresser fared much better than Hub did.

It was the most horrible feeling, hearing Hubster say he was having a heart attack. His father died of a heart attack at a relatively young age (and had his first heart attack when he was even younger than Hub is now), so I worry. I shouldn't worry, but I do. And faced with the prospect of losing Hubster ... I can't even begin to explain. I was calm, but I couldn't stop crying. And when he was okay, I cried even harder because I was so happy to have him alive and healthy.

I have another good friend whose husband is dying of cancer. I can't imagine what she is going through. What I felt today, when I thought Hub was having a heart attack, must be a tiny, insignificant little version of what she is experiencing now. And what I felt today, for just a few terrible minutes, was almost unbearable.

It has been a sad year because our family has lost (or will soon lose) several friends and one family member to cancer. Fortunately, everyone in my immediate family is healthy ... but I'm reminded once again that our time and our health is limited on this earth. It is a realization that cuts to the quick, even though I am a Christian, but it also helps me to remember what's important in this life, and what's not--and that we don't have forever to right wrongs, or hold grudges, or wait to tell people we love them.

I'm sounding mushy, I know. You probably hear this kind of stuff on talk TV every day. But humor me ... find someone you love, and tell them how much you love and treasure them.

Someone other than your pet, I mean. :)

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