Over the weekend we had existed in a sort of bubble in the hospital; insulated from the rest of the world,which seemed to have faded into insignificance for us.
On Sunday I thought I would be able to keep my two work appointments on Monday and pick Paul up in between when I got the call that he was ready. I was so out of touch with reality!
In fact, we both needed me to just focus on him. He was recovering from an uncomfortably close brush with death and I was cruising on superficial calm, quite out of touch with my emotions. Below the surface lay turbulence I had not acknowledged.
On Monday I began to get an inkling of that when I felt panicked at the thought of going to talk with someone about fire regulations while Paul might be waiting for pick up. With the help of my coworkers I managed to adjust my commitments.
At the hospital an efficient nurse named Emily; the epitome of organization and careful communication; went over discharge papers as she placed them one by one into a brown envelope. She also gave us a white envelope with 8 prescriptions which she went over equally thoroughly. Satisfied that we understood everything we left for home. We were just about to leave the parking lot when Emily called me on my cell phone. She had a correction to make to one of the prescriptions. I went back, she made the change and then we were off.
On the way home we filled the prescriptions and then at last we were both home together after a weekend that had felt like an eternity.
We both felt dazed and Paul began to experience the overwhelming emotions that run their course after a heart attack. Our children both dropped by and friends sent emails and messages with kind offers of help where needed. Even talking was exhausting to Paul and I felt protective of his energy levels. I felt unexpectedly fragile and vulnerable myself. That was when I sent a personal emergency email to the prayer team of The Word Guild (a writers' association I belong to). Knowing that this dear group of prayer warriors would be supporting us as well felt extremely comforting.
In the evening I tackled filling a dosette from the 8 bottles of medication and planning to get the paperwork sent home, organized, looked for the brown envelope. I couldn't find it anywhere. I didn't want to stress Paul out and decided to look in the morning--perhaps it was in the car.
But the next morning it was clear that somewhere along the way we had lost that envelope. I had a meeting scheduled but this was critical to sort out so I sent my regrets and decided to retrace my steps of Monday.
I went to the drug store but no one there had seen it so I went back to the hospital, to the cardiac floor, and I explained my dilemma to the first nurse I saw. I was clarifying what I remembered of the envelope's contents and that it was "Emily" who had filled it, when Emily herself appeared. I greeted her with the enthusiasm normally reserved for long lost family members!
As I poured out my story Emily's brow furrowed thoughtfully. It appeared that once information leaves the floor, it is "somewhere" in the system, but not necessarily easily accessible, at least for a couple of days while it is still "in transit," but she got on the phone to Health Records and then told me to report there and they would try to fix the problem. Happily they did and I left the office clutching the recreated envelope to my chest as if my life depended on it.
As I walked past the hospital gift store on my way out, a card caught my eye. Shiny diamond-like stones dotted the letters on the front, which read, "Angels From Above Watch Over Those We Love." It expressed my conviction so perfectly that I bought it for Paul.
On the way home I stopped at our local No Frills grocery store and stocked up on all the healthy food I had wanted to buy the day before but had no time or energy to buy. I felt so much better going home with both the envelope and bags filled with fruit, vegetables and brown bread. All was well in Belinda-Land again.
Since that day we have gone from strength to strength. Paul is ahead of schedule according to his Recovery Road book. We are both deeply grateful for God's grace, prayers of friends, and for every moment that we have together.
I was at the hospital on Mother's Day and my gift from Pete and Sue was a plaque, which she chose for its reference to writing and my love of story. "Let the Best of Your Story Begin," it says. It seems the perfect start to the rest of our lives; there is still more for us to do. The adventure continues...