He walked in the door from basketball not feeling like himself. “My heart is beating out of my chest,” he told me. I looked at him, and thought to myself “This is really happening.”
I rushed upstairs grabbed the bottle of Asprin and shakily poured some water into a glass. He took the pill and went to rest. When I checked on him five minutes later, I could see the erratic pulse in his neck vein.
This wasn’t good.
I ordered him to go to the ER.
Me being the shitty wife, made him drive himself. I’m not sure why, I just thought who would watch the kids, and I can’t take kids to the ER. Yeah, my brain wasn’t functioning.
While he was gone I filled my time with laundry, cleaning and organizing. Basically anything that would take my mind off the possibility that he was having a heart attack.
I rationalized with myself, he said his arm didn’t hurt and he didn’t have chest pains. So, hopefully it was nothing major. Maybe just dehydration or he didn’t eat enough that day.
Then the text came. “They are keeping me overnight,” it said. “I have AFib.”
I’m not a cardiologist.
What the heck does that mean?
I head to Google and started pouring over every medical article, trying to learn more.
My head starts to explode from all the information and implications. I can’t read this; it’s too real, too scary.
Once he’s settled in a room he asks me to bring him the necessities – a phone charger, the iPad and some toothpaste.
I start packing the bag and am strongly reminded of the times I needed to pack my dad’s bag during his hospital stay. I add some flannel pants, socks and a sweatshirt, because I remember my dad always complaining how cold the hospital rooms were.
The moment I stepped foot into the hospital my own heart started beating hard and heavy. The last time I was there, I watched my dad die. This isn’t something I wanted to remember, not at a time like this.
Making my way through the maze of hospital rooms I finally find my husband. He looked normal if I were to ignore the ugly hospital gown and the wires attached to his chest. The EKG flowed like a rollercoaster, one minute up and down the next.
I could see with my own eyes his broken heart.
This was happening.
It was real.
We ate pasta, and watched the football game. He complained about being bored and that his roommate might have the flu. I told him that he couldn’t leave me, he joked about his life insurance. The way he always jokes when he’s uncomfortable. I told him no amount of money would take his place, and we want him with us forever. The conversation quickly shifted to the boys, and simple things because neither of us could fathom the thought of life without the other.
I had to leave; it was time to get the boys ready for dinner and bed. Life still needed to keep moving even though I wanted to remain in that room with him. Normalcy was the key to coping.
My night was fitful and my morning hectic as always. The boys were full of questions and wanted to know where daddy was. I tried to explain that his heart was broken and the doctors were fixing it. But then someone said fart and they became distracted. I tried not to let their lack of empathy and interest bother me, but it did.
Why can’t they understand?
Because they are kids my rational brain shouted.
Yes, they are only kids and their dad still had so many memories to make with them. “Please let it be nothing,” I pleaded to the skies above.
The skies answered my pleas.
During the night my husband’s heart found its rhythm. In the morning he spent the day having tests, and his heart passed with flying colors. We were in the clear.
It was a fluke.
He would be with us forever.
Memories can still be made.
His heart will beat on.