I Thought My World Changed Last Night


Before I tell you my story, I want you to know that all is well in the Good home. It is now 5 o'clock on Monday morning. Eight hours ago, I thought I was going to be a widow once again. I felt the physical pang of loss and utter grief as I looked down into the face of my husband, Shelly, who stared up at me, unresponsive.

We spent a wonderful Sunday together. It began with our daily hot cup of freshly brewed coffee (we share the responsibility of who will make it each morning) that we sip together in our hot tub, outside our bedroom door. It is a ritual we started 26 years ago when we moved into a second home in California. We find it a great way to start our day... romantic, refreshing and peaceful.

After donning my white terry cloth robe, I went into the kitchen to fix a lovely breakfast of sunny side up eggs, turned over lightly, turkey bacon, juice, coffee and a delicious French croissant with home-made jam, a gift from a friend. Orchid looked up at us with her big black eyes waiting, not begging, for a bite of French pastry, which of course we gave her. As we listened to a mix of Hawaiian and French music, we spoke softly deciding on our plan for the day. We would go to the movie, Hacksaw Ridge (do not miss) and then grab a pizza and a glass of Italian Chianti at our favorite pizza restaurant. Little did we know that we would be in the emergency room of Eisenhower Hospital from 9:06pm until just after one o'clock this morning.

As we finished dinner, Shelly looked at me across our little table with red checkered cloth and said, "I am very tired. I want you to drive home tonight." This alarmed me somewhat because I am a wife who does not drive when we are together. Shelly is an alpha male and I love that.

He then looked at me and said, "I don't feel well."

I got out of my chair and went to him.

"What is wrong?" I pleaded.

He said, "I really don't feel well," and then it looked like he was having a stroke because he just stared at me, slumped over in his chair and did not say another word.

I screamed to people at the next table. "Please call 911 and help me lie my husband down on the floor."

I kneeled over him, put my hands on his cheeks and said, "Shelly, Shelly, I love you. Talk to me." No response. He just stared up at me.

The ambulance medics were in the restaurant in less than five minutes. By this time, Shelly was alert. After routine tests Shelly was off to the hospital, by ambulance, saying all along, "I am just fine. I don't have to go to the hospital." I insisted.

I followed the ambulance in my car with mixed feelings. Relief, because he was responsive. Fear because of the realization that my husband's age is something I have to face... and I don't want to go there.

I often say to him, "If I could have two wishes I would wish for good health for our children and grands and that we could relive every day since we met, even the difficult times, all over again."

I then add, "I hate that we are getting older because I don't want our wonderful life together to ever change."

My husband replies, "I don't want it to change because it couldn't be better. And then, to make me feel good, he adds, "The best is yet to come."

Last night, as I followed the ambulance, dear readers of mine, I did not think of Shelly's words the 'best is yet to come.' But I did live in the now -- happy that the medics told me that Shelly did not have a stroke and there were no signs of a heart attack. If the doctors at the hospital determined there was a problem, I would put on my thinking hat, determined to help my husband survive.

Dear readers of mine, we must face the fact that there are risk factors we face as we grow older. When a situation like last night occurs, it hits us squarely. We don't want to accept the realization that one day our loved ones will leave us. Last night when I looked at Shelly, it hit me and my mind could not contemplate losing him.

After four hours in the emergency room, with tons of tests, it was determined that Shelly's potassium level was low and that caused him to faint.

My husband has all his affairs in order. I know everything in his will, where all his papers are located, who to call if necessary. There is not a wife or partner who wants to face the realization of losing our spouse or partner.

A husband should have his affairs in order. My husband often tells me, "I love you and it is my obligation to protect you."

Many husbands love their wives. They are just poor managers and careless about their state of affairs. It is up to you, at all ages, dear readers, to manage your lives. Get on their cases. You should know everything about the business of your lives together.

Around 1:00 a.m. we had our release papers. Shelly was well. As we walked out of the emergency doors into the cool fresh air, my darling husband said, "Hand me the car keys. I am driving."

I smiled and with the utmost pleasure... handed him the car keys. We were going home, together. The best was in fact yet to come.