A Catalyst for Change


So, why, you, the vast and expansive void, may ask, why return to your blog after more than four years of silence. What was the catalyst? Because more often than not there is a catalyst when someone decides to make a big change, move forward on something that was pushed to the side, all but forgotten, shunned even. Well, as it so happens there was a catalyst. And it has a story. A three-part story, actually. So for part 1.

This last June, Mike and I decided to take a nice little road trip in our brand new Jayco, Jayfeather 7 hybrid camper, which I absolutely adore by the way. We were going to head south to the Dallas, Texas area to visit our oldest son and family. We decided it would be fun to take our six-year-old grandson with us. The one we have been helping to take care of since he was born. When we went to Texas last winter for an extended period of time, Gavin, the said grandson, said he wanted to come with us. We promised him we would take him when he was on summer break. It was June, the time had come to make good on our promise. We made our plans and set out on our trip leaving on a Sunday.

To make it easier on Gavin we stopped to camp three times along the way  allowing for downtime and swimming, which Gavin could do all day, every day. There were some challenges, Gavin didn’t like the bugs, didn’t like the dark, at one place there was no swimming but we worked through them.

Finally, on Wednesday we were in Dallas. We were later than expected and the RV storage Joe, the oldest son, picked for us to park our camper for a week was closing at 3. He called the storage place and got them to wait a half an hour.

I was driving. Joe was watching us on Life360, a phone app that allows friends and family, using GPS, to track their whereabouts. While tracking us on the app Joe was also on the phone directing us to where we needed to go.

“Turn right at the next light,” Joe’s voice blasted from our radio. We have a Honda Pilot with blue tooth capabilities.

I glanced at the clock on the console.  3:15  “We’re not going to make it”, I cried.

“Mom, you’ll make it. I have the best route for you. The next intersection is University Dr. Turn left then stay on that and you’ll see it. It’s about five miles ahead.”

Well, we did make it five minutes too late but the lady was still there waiting for us. I’ll tell you it was a white knuckle experience. I was frazzled.

We finally got to Joe’s condo. I was still shaking from the adrenaline of the drive to the storage place. At Joe,s I jumped out of the car and pulled some luggage out of the back. I dashed to the house, Gavin close on my heels. I opened the door and burst in. Joe was in the bathroom off the living room area. I could tell because the door to the bathroom was closed. I raced with my bag up two flights of stairs to the bedrooms. I hoisted the bag,  plopped it on the bed and spun around to go get more. I met Gavin on the stairs. All of a sudden I stopped dean in my tracks.  I grabbed my chest panting. I bent over. “Oh, my god,” I said.

“What’s wrong Grammy,” Gavin said.

“My chest hurts,” I told him.

Joe came out of the bathroom. “Why does your chest hurt Mom,” he said.

“I don’t know,” I replied.

I didn’t know then, but now I know, I was a having a small heart attack. I didn’t realize that then because, once I stopped for a minute the pain subsided and my breathing eased. There was still some pain but I thought, ah, maybe acid reflux. Oh, I had some discomfort on and off for the next couple of days but nothing to speak of.

On Friday,  we took Gavin for a walk with our dogs at the park. It was a large park with many paved and dirt trails. It was morning and aleady starting to heat up. The dogs wanted the water they saw at the bottom of this very deep ravine. It looked like there was a sort of trail going down so I told the dogs to go ahead. We, Gavin, Mike and I, watched from the top as the dogs splashed in the water and had a drink. The younger dog made it back up with no problem but our older dog Angie who is 12 looked up at me pleading.

“Help me, I can’t get back up,” her eyes seemed to say.

“Oh, jeez,” I remarked. “Fine.”

I went down the slippery, muddy path. I got about half way down and pointed to where there was an easier way for Angie to get out of the little creek. “Over there,” I said. “Go over there.”

She saw where I was pointing and made it up the hill. Now, I had to get up. It was rough going. Nothing to grab onto. I took a step and slipped trying to catch myself from tumbling to the bottom.  I landed on my butt and got mud on the seat of my nice green Capris. I found some vegetation to step on to get some footing.  I was practically on all fours. I reached out for a spindly little branch to use to pull myself up.

Finally, I got close enough to Mike  and reached out his hand. I stretched my arm and was able to grasp his hand. We clasped each other and he tugged me up. Once I was at the top, the hard pain and breathlessness hit me smack dab in the chest, again. I grabbed my chest instinctively and waited for it to subside. Which it did. I didn’t know what to make of this.

I should have had an idea. I mean 14 years ago I had a triple Coronary Artery Bypass Graft or CABG, pronounced cabbage by the medical community. However, because I had 14 years without an incident, I thought I healed myself. I made sure to watch my diet; I followed weight watchers. I exercised, walking over an hour a day, racking up to 18,000 steps altogether. I thought I managed my stress levels, although Mike will tell you not too well. So, you could say I was in denial, I would like to all it hope.

Getting ready for the catalyst, for the transformation.

To my credit I did think something wasn’t quite right and a year and a half ago I told my cardiologist. He did a stress test and echo cardiogram and proclaimed me just fine. So, I was just fine. Why would I think something was wrong? Ah, maybe because I should be the one paying attention to my own body. Sigh, that’s another story

I did eventually go get it looked at, in Texas and that is the second part of my catalyst So, to be continued…

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2 responses to “A Catalyst for Change

  1. Even though I know the “to be continued,” this was amazing to read! It is the journey…

  2. Thank you, Cathy I appreciate you reading it.

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