Our plans for spring break this year were much more simple than last year. Last year we visited Washington DC several times over the break, took in many of our area’s local attractions and ran ragged showing the grandchildren the beauty of their new home. This year, we intended to slow down, to give the house a thorough spring cleaning, catch up on some paperwork, and just hang out. All our sports/scouts activities had been canceled for the week, so we were free!
It started off pleasantly enough. We had two soccer games and had the little grandchildren baptized on the first day. It was special with just close family and friends. Sunday we went to church again and lounged in the house watching movies. Monday, the cleaning plan kicked into gear. We spent three hours scrubbing the dining room and the laundry room, fixed the garage door and had a big family lunch. Our neighbor convinced the kids and I to go on a long hike at a nearby park and we agreed that was a great idea. My husband and son stayed home to continue to work on the garage. (and enjoy the peace and quiet) Our spring break was starting off in classic fashion. The problem came later in the day.
After dinner, my husband began to complain of feeling discomfort in his chest. We checked his blood pressure and it was HIGH… not just a little, a lot. Our niece (who is an ICU nurse at a local hospital and happened to stop by) begged him to go to the emergency room, but he refused. We sat and watched him for over an hour, re-checking his blood pressure and watching his face. He relaxed, the pain went away and his blood pressure slowly lowered into the just high range. He agreed to check with his primary care doctor in the morning, but I got very little sleep.
At 55, my husband is pretty typically out of shape. He eats all the wrong food, doesn’t exercise, and quietly holds all his stress inside. That, combined with a family history of heart disease, had me pretty worried. Over the course of the week, plans got sidelined and doctors were visited. The children took it in stride. Never complaining when plans got canceled, never arguing when I lost my temper with them.
The teenagers took turns babysitting, and making meals. The little ones did their best to stay quiet so that Granddad didn’t get too stressed out before his stress test! With the help of good friends everyone still managed to relax and have some fun during the break. A hike in the woods, a trip to the playground, bowling… everyone flexed their schedules to help our spirits up and enjoying what we could of this crazy week.
After hours of blood tests, EKGs, a sonogram of his heart, and a stress test, on Friday, he was pronounced healthy. The cardiologist called it a wake up call. A reminder for all of us to slow down our pace, start taking care of ourselves and to take deep breaths every now and then.
For me it was truly that…. for weeks, I have been worrying about work, schedules, scouts, school work, dishes, mismatched socks and ever mounting bills, but the truth is, without my husband by my side every night, none of that would matter. He is by far my best friend and closest confidant. Our trials and tribulations for almost twenty years have only brought us closer and made us a stronger more united team. Despite his propensity for leaving his socks in the middle of the floor and squeezing the toothpaste from the wrong end, he is the rock that stabilizes me.
I know that as school starts up again on Tuesday we will have a host of commitments and activities everyday. We will still have to make dinners, do laundry, check homework and pay the bills. We can’t back out on all of our volunteer commitments, but we can delegate some tasks to other volunteers. We have promised each other to walk more, eat healthier and talk through the stress rather than let is fester. I know we will run full throttle for the next month from scouts to baseball, soccer, and work, but for this moment in time, we were given a reminder from God that our time together is a gift.
The children will grow up and start families of their own, we need to show them how important it is to have a loving partner to share it with.