Monday, March 9, 2015

A Visit With Rachael ~ An Update On My Husband


I wonder if I can do this: Sharing happy pictures from my visit yesterday at Rachael's place of work, the gorgeous William S. Hart park, with the increasingly sad, scary, but maybe also hopeful news of my husband.

Don't look at me, look at the gorgeous landscape behind me.

William S. Hart was an actor and director of Western movies in the early 1900s who donated his retirement home and surrounding land to the county of Los Angeles. I pass by the Newhall exit for the park every time I drive to UCLA and it was easy to make the short detour to the park and so worth while.

The pictures will be from the park, the story will mostly be about my husband and my feelings about where we are now. 

My friend, Rachael. 

This is the latest on my husband: 

He got a new liver Saturday. He survived what I will describe next: 

When they opened him, they found his stomach, liver, and whatever else is in there, covered in infection. The surgeon, who called me Saturday night, said his stomach looked like it was full of asphalt. I don't know what that means, if it was black or what. They did some sort of rinse to help clear the infection. As best they could, it is still there. 

Rachael takes care of a herd of 13 American bison. Here are two of them.

The doctor then said (while sounding so darned cheerful) they spent three hours attempting to stop bleeding; they had to transfuse my husband, my poor husband, with 86 units of blood. I think he said one unit equals one pint. Then they packed him to keep the bleeding under control (whatever that means), then sewed him up temporarily, without finishing the transplant. The surgeon said this often happens. It's better to give the patient a chance to rest for a day or two than to just push on with the surgery. I think he also said they had to code my husband three times. He was talking so fast, but then he's a surgeon, and as long as he's a good surgeon, never mind what he has to say about it. I got it: It was a very difficult operation. 

 A not so good picture of the actor's beautiful home. This place is just gorgeous. On the top of a mountain with panoramic views all around. I'm so happy Rachael is working in such a beautiful environment.

The plan is to open my husband up again today to finish the transplant and clean out more of the infection. The way my husband looked yesterday, I don't see how he could possible survive another surgery. But the doctors over there are so positive, so optimistic. I talked to a doctor who said my husband was a challenging patient. I can just imagine! Everyone assured me he was doing a little better yesterday. It is amazing what they can do these days to keep someone alive. 

I'm feeding the little mule deer the park took in after someone "rescued" her and tried to raise her in the suburbs. Rachael named her Deer Abby and she's the most adorable critter. So soft to pet, those ears, ah... she  touched my heart and I was happy again.

After spending a couple of hours with my husband yesterday, I feel at peace with whatever happens. The good thing is that he has a new liver, the old liver and the cancer tumor are now gone. He could recover and get relatively well; he could recover and be an invalid for the rest of his life; or he could pass away. This uncertainty has been awful for me, but something happened yesterday and I feel at peace now.


He was heavily sedated. I sat a bit away from him and didn't touch him because I petted animals at the park and thought there might be something on my clothes. They make sure you wash your hands a lot over there, but still. There was no place to touch him anyway - every inch of him has something stuck in it. Lines going everywhere. 

 I always love to meet a donkey. This one was a bit snappy, maybe she's a retired movie star......

I am learning so much from being in this situation. When the nurses left for a minute, I stood there and looked at his face with all those tubes - in his nose, his throat, and covered with a blanket because he was so cold. As I stood there, I felt such strong, enduring, love. I knew that the 30 years we have been together always had this strong love there, surrounding us through happy times and sad. My husband was always there for me. Yesterday, I learned that no matter what happens, his love will stay with me. 

 Rachael with an old steer. Yes, all you need is love and cuddles, no matter who you are.

Ever since my husband came home with Faith last summer, I have worried. Doing the math: if Faith lives a healthy, normal life, she will be at least 12 years old. Which means I would have to live to be 86, at least. While this has put some pressure on me to eat my veggies, go for my walks, and so on, I still worry. 


Then Rachael called me last night and told me she needed a key to our house. In case something happens to me, she wants to be able to get in and take care of the dogs. She assured me that with all her friends who work in animal rescue, or who are just animal lovers, she would find a new home for them. I never asked for this, so in the midst of all the difficulties and worries, I get this gift. This priceless gift of knowing that our dogs will be OK. 

This is a wild boar! Rachael raised him and his sister and earned their love and respect. 

Saturday marked three weeks in the ICU, three weeks of fear and worry, and now, feeling the love and support from family, friends, Samson and Faith, other critters (how much they give us, these animals), and nature, I feel at peace. And I feel a love that won't end, no matter what. 


I hope this format worked for you. To read some difficult passages, but to also feel the happiness of spending time with a good friend in a beautiful place with some lovely critters. Good and bad, happy and sad, that is life after all......








61 comments:

  1. oh, bless your husband as he fights through so much more. but the doctors are giving him every chance, and for that, i am grateful.

    as for rachael, she is your angel. i thought of you and her about a week ago, wondering if she had access to your home in case of emergency. with you having to travel so much, i worried about the dogs at home alone. and your safety and your own health. i am so glad you have assurances that the dogs will be taken care of, no matter what.

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  2. Dear Inger, it makes me feel at peace too reading your wise word. You sure did all that you could and so has the doctors and the rest is up to God. In surrendering we set ourselves at peace because there's nothing else left and we trust in a higher power.

    I'm so happy that your good friend Rachel is looking after you and will be there in case she is needed. What a blessing she is to you.
    I'm keeping your husband in my prayers and you too dear friend.
    Hugs,
    Julia

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  3. I got so excited that I forgot to mention how great you look with your new hair cut. I especially like to see you smile.
    Hugs.
    JB

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  4. Hi there!

    I just stopped by to check out your blog. I've signed up for yet another year of the A to Z Challenge and saw you do too. I look forward to reading many, many posts next month and sent prayers of healing for your husband during this challenging time...

    Take care,

    Donna L Martin
    www.donnalmartin.com
    author of THE STORY CATCHER (Anaiah Press 2015)
    coauthor CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: ANGELS AMONG US (Simon & Schuster 2013)

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    1. Naturally, I had completely forgotten about the A to Z and there's no way I can do books now. I'll have to wait and see what April will bring. If things are relatively good here at home, I will just wing it with day to day entries on some other theme.

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  5. i love all the photos, and you look especially beautiful and happy and at peace in the one with the snappy donkey. i love that photo of you. i am so glad Rachel helped you by giving you the gift of lifting worry about your babies. and the news about your hubby is good,bad and not so good... you are right about that. prayers for him and for you. you did an amazing job of weaving the good and bad news together. i feel better knowing she has a key for you and for the dogs.. hugs

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  6. Small things from others can seem to be such a huge part of our lives when there is illness, sadness and the unknown. A key, doggies cared for, what a blessing to know this is taken care of, if you need to be away for any time, hugs and caring thoughts for you as this all takes its toll. XXX Jean.

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  7. Thank you for the update. You are facing this difficult situation with so much honesty, love and realism. Your husband is fortunate to have such a clear eyed loving wife. Working in the hospital industry, I can tell you that so often families fall apart and don't see the truth, can't function, can't make decisions in the best interest of the patient. You are showing great love and compassion through your desire to understand and do what is right for him. Again, I am so impressed.
    And, regarding the dogs. First, I wouldn't be surprised at all if you lived beyond 86. Secondly, with all of your blogger friends and local ones like Rachel, Samson and Faith would have no trouble finding good loving homes. I expect that there might be a battle for them, even.
    Continue to take good care of yourself. I continue to pray for strength -- for both of you. I'm glad you are feeling at peace. That is a true gift.

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    1. Maybe that's why the doctors talk so fast when they call you. They don't know what kind of emotions they will encounter from relatives. Didn't think about that, just wish they would slow down a bit, so I can understand what's going on.

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  8. I really enjoyed seeing you, smiling & petting the animals. Dealing with a snapping donkey with good humor is hard: I know this from dealing with my supervisor yesterday!

    Rachael is one of the great ones for all she's done for her. You and she have lovely smiles.

    Medical science has advanced so far these days. I am sorry about that inappropriately cheery doctor. I know from experience with my ill mother that doctors have this maddening habit of talking as if they were double-parked and afraid of being towed away!!

    You cannot help but be concerned with hearing what happened and seeing your husband all covered with tubes and wrappings. Each tube is bringing healing to him. I will pray earnestly today for the re-newed surgery he is undergoing.

    Rachael is an angel for relieving your mind about your pets -- but Annette voices my own belief: that you will live a long life with love and friendship finding you when you need it most: it is what I pray for. May light be given you to see where to place your next step, and the strength lent you to take it. I am only an email away, Roland

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  9. I know just where you stand! It is so hard. I am glad that you have found a bit of peace. I continue to pray for him and for you. You are strong. You will be okay......Lots of love to you Inger!

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  10. Beautiful place to become centered again. I believe there is much strength given to us from the earth.

    I send healing thoughts and prayers for you and your husband.

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  11. Gail is wise and says everything so beautifully. I echo her words and thoughts. God bless you both.

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  12. You are enormously brave, dear Inger.
    My thoughts are with you and your husband. May all resolve itself, as it must, eventually. While there’s life there’s hope.

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  13. My dear Inger,
    I am grateful with this update and so glad to know that fortunately your husband got a new liver Saturday.
    You are an inspiration, Inger! I agree with Annette, your husband is fortunate to have such a loving and strong wife.
    Love your photo! You look beautiful and express much peace on your face.
    The landscape behind you looks beautiful too.
    Thanks for sharing happy pictures from your visit at Rachael's place of work. Rachel looks beautiful and really she is an adorable and precious friend..
    My healing and positive thoughts are with you and your husband.
    Kisses to lovely Samson and Faith too.
    Lots of Hugs and much Love.

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  14. I am glad you have family and friends that love you both so much. Sending healing blessings to you both.
    Hugs,
    Deb

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  15. To be at peace with whatever the outcome is the best place to be. God bless my friend.

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  16. To be at peace with whatever the outcome is the best place to be. God bless my friend.

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  17. It is wonderful that he has had the transplant and it is wonderful that you have found a place of peace. I'm happy that you had such a lovely day with a friend and with the animals ... being able to be happy even only for a few minutes is a blessing.
    Sending you lots of love
    Fil

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  18. Some things are just out of our hands, hoping for the best, but good you are prepared if things are not.

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  19. That he now has a new liver will make recovery much more possible. Our livers detox our bodies and your husband needs that now. You obviously have an amazing team of doctors to care for him. He is getting the best care, now it is up to him and God.
    I am so grateful that your friend has stepped up to give you a respite from the constant worry you are in with a day among the animals but also to provide you with the ease of mind that you have some one to care for your animals. I hesitated getting Callie for that same reason and I do worry who will take care of her if she out lives me. You and I both need to take out vitamins:))

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  20. I found it very touching how you put this post together. I continue to pray for your husband and you each morning and also for God to give the doctors wisdom and skill to do what they need to do.

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  21. Inger, your update was such a perfect reflection of life....the good and the bad. I'm so thankful your husband got the new liver. Now praying for a successful recovery. I'm also thankful you have such a great friend in Rachel and the love of animals...two of God's greatest gifts. Take care! -Jeff

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  22. In these life and death situations, something happens to the human heart and we find the strength to accept whatever will be. Having good friends around who can help you smile is a beautifu thing.

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  23. Oh darn it I have no idea why I am crying all over my key board. You feel at peace and look very beautiful and happy and that is what makes me happy. Sending prayers and hugs and anything else you need for you and your sweet love. . Friends like Rachael are like a piece of heaven on earth. HUGS HUGS B

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  24. Thankful for you husband receiving the new liver. Thankful to know that you are at peace. Also, thankful to know that you have good friends who are there for you. Blessings to you, Inger.

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  25. I wish I could make it all better, Inger. I've heard of William S. Hart. His park is lovely. I hope I can explain packing the wound, but I'm not sure what they did. It's probably gauze that's treated with bleach or some antibiotic. The wet gauze would be put in place inside the wound and usually covered with dry gauze, but in this case it sounds as if they put in the packing and then sewed him up temporarily. The packing is intended to help prevent the infection from spreading and I hope, to help fight the existing infection. Willy Dunne Wooters has promised me that he will make sure Franklin is okay if anything happens to me. Franklin is my greatest worry.

    Love,
    Janie

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  26. What a very rough time for you both, but your words are full of courage love and hope. I wish you all the best.

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  27. The innocent Deer is a promising sign and so is today's medicine. The protocols they have today to save a patient from hardships are amazing.
    It is nice of Rachel to be with you and help keep your spirits up. Thanks for the update. You guys are in our prayers.
    God Bless.

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  28. I'm glad you shared photos of yourself and your friend outside, enjoying nature. I know it's hard to mix in some good times my friend but you are there for your husband and that's all you can do right now. And I'm glad to hear a good report. My husband and I keep you both in our prayers. Sweet hugs, Diane

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  29. So glad that you have found peace...whatever the outcome will be.

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  30. You are so pretty! I love your hair and smile. xx oo
    Rachel is a sweetheart. Friends are so special.
    Thank you for the update. I will continue to pray.
    xx oo
    Carla

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  31. first off - i enjoyed the pics of you, your friend, the animals - it felt good seeing you look so good and i like your haircut.

    What a time your husband (and you) have had. I'm so glad you feel peace and so whatever happens you will feel that love. I pray for the best outcome Inger. Thanks for the update.

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  32. Dear Inger ... Jeff says it well, all your friends say it well - and you have marvellously expressed your love for your husband, your animals and friends (real and us lot) ... and I am so pleased you have found peace at this time - knowing that you have had the most loving relationship these years ... and that your husband is in very capable hands, even with the fast-talking surgeon: it seems to be their norm.

    I think I've seen my hip surgeon for under 10 minutes ... and one was when he walked in the room with an indelible pen, drew an arrow ... and said it's that hip isn't it!! Then left saying I'll see you later - I didn't .. but I did see the anaesthetist ... they're busy and we trust ..

    It does sound as though your hubby is in the best place possible - my mother was not the same, when she was in the Acute Brain Injury Unit - similar care - but I understand your feelings of security for you both during these amazing times. Incredible he's had a transplant .. and I find your telling of it and the symptoms etc very informative to read.

    This post is a must for many to read ... however for us - it's been lovely seeing a happy Inger with her great friend Rachael - and I too am glad she has a key and can get to see the dogs etc and will look after them, if and when necessary - and you.

    So much said here, so much intimated ... so much for us to read and comprehend about life and our own futures ... it is wonderful to know you are at peace, that you have given love and have loved ... and now faith holds you up - both faith and Faith and Samson ... with a great many thoughts and big hugs - Hilary

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  33. Hello, Inger. I remember learning about William S. Hart when I studied film history in college. I appreciated these glimpses of the park surrounding his retirement home and of the animals that are receiving love and care. My heart goes out to you as you monitor your husband's progress hour by hour and day by day. If the doctors are cocky and confident then it's probably a good sign and I admire you for finding peace and a willingness to accept whatever type of outcome is in store. I will keep you and your husband in my prayers.

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  34. The pictures are beautiful and I'm so glad you got to have this lovely time in the middle of such uncertainty and pain. Thinking of you and hoping for a full recovery for your husband.

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  35. Hello Inger. The 'yin and yang' of life....you have displayed and lived this dueling duo very well here. The ups and down have been bombarding you and your husband quite a bit for the past year.
    I wish you both the strength and endurance to get through this the best you can. Sending healing energy to you both.
    I really liked the balance that you have struck here with the photos and the update.

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  36. I have been thinking and praying as much as I can - wish there was more to do. Your husband has been through so much and so have you - it is an amazing journey. I am so glad you have a sense of peace and acceptance - he does love you so. Please keep us informed.

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  37. Sending prayers for you and your husband!

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  38. Sending prayers for you and your husband!

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  39. A wonderful, brave and beautiful post. I am thinking of you from afar and sending you my best wishes.

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  40. A very moving post. Sending messages of strength to you and your husband. And yes, animals do help with our emotions.

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  41. I'm glad you got out with a friend for awhile. It sounds like you are struggling through some really hard times. I have been in a similar situation and mine ended happily. I am hoping very much yours will too.

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  42. I admire your strength. You do look at peace...during a time that must have so much turmoil. I love your "mixing it up" post. Such pretty pictures. Healing prayer coming your way.

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  43. I don't know you, but I am touch at your devotion and love for your husband (and his for you). My son and I are praying people, and tonight, all the prayers we have are going out to you and your husband.

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  44. Thanks for the email, Inger, and I have been there watching my hubs with tubes going in to help keep him alive. I know how it feels. You have my complete understanding. I too have been with my hubs over thirty years and even through the tough recovery times and the worst of the illness, I know it was also a love that would endure. He had spoiled me, now it's my turn to watch and help him. I hope for the best results, and I have will listen if you need an ear or a shoulder. Hugs from Canada! I will reply separately to the email. Very nice animal pix, too.

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  45. Inger,
    I have written your names in a small notebook that stays by my side.
    I believe in "praying without ceasing." May your peace abound, and
    your faith soar! In kindness, Dixie (smile)

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  46. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  47. "I learned that no matter what happens, his love will stay with me." That sentiment is so beautiful. I'm rooting for your husband. Through your love and encouragement, hopefully that gives him the strength to make it through this. All of my best to him and you.

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  48. I'm visiting from Janie's blog, and my prayers are with you and your husband in this very trying time. Doctors and prayer are amazing when they work together, so there is hope for his recovery. I'll be back to keep up on how you are doing...sounds as if you are at peace.

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  49. I'm also visiting from Janie's blog. My prayers and best wishes are with you x

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  50. I came over from Janie's blog.
    I will keep you, your husband and the doctors in my heart.

    cheers, parsnip

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  51. I came over from Janie's blog and I also will keep you and your husband and your animals in my thoughts. Life can change in a blink of an eye and yet we can find comfort in so many things like music, film, friends,walking, and animals. They give love always and know when you need it. I know this actor and have seen a couple of his films. It is nice to know that his home and land are being used for something wonderful and that you could find some solace there

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  52. Oh Inger, my heart is so heavy for you! I have been battling my own sadness with the loss of my brother and very rarely been on blogger, so I had no idea you were going through this. I will be praying heavily for your husband and for you. I am so glad that you have such a wonderful friend in Rachael and she is showing you some peaceful moments in this extremely difficult time. And Samson and Faith, how comforting to have your other 2 loves to cuddle up to and hold. Please let us know how things are going... Gracie sends Samson lots and lots of love and says she will be saying doggie prayers for Samson's daddy. (((((HUG)))) Love to you Inger... This post was so beautifully written. Good, bad, happy, sad. Yep. That's what life's about. Take care and I will be watching for updates.

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  53. Janie sent me. I just wanted to let you know that love and prayers are being sent your way. Also, I know I'm a stranger, but I am more than willing to listen if you ever just need to talk. I can't predict the future and I can't promise everything will be okay, but I can promise that there is always a reason to stay strong.

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  54. nice blog, follow for follow?

    www.trendyytimes.blogspot.nl

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  55. I feel like I want to say that this was such a lovely post, but lovely doesn't feel the right word to use, given the content. I think what I mean is that I am so glad to read that you are at peace with whatever happens, and the way you speak of your husband, and your love is beautiful. The main thing is that he has a new liver, and the doctors and nurses sound like they are doing a tremendous job with keeping him alive and looking after him and that much be such a comfort. I want you to know that you are always in my thoughts and have been ever since you told us that your husband has been admitted, I am also glad to know that your friend is there to support and look out for you. Sending so many virtual hugs to you, and the photos of you are lovely too.
    Hayley

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  56. Inger, I came to your blog via a roundabout route, as one does with blogs. I just wanted to say that the juxtapositions of this post are just right. Such strong feelings up and down. I have my fingers and toes crossed for your husband. xxx

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  57. Dear Inger, this posting goes deep, it seems to me, into the mystery of love and the Oneness it creates.

    I will read today the posts from here until March 24th--today. I do not know what has happened since you posted this on March 9th because I haven't been tuned in and I apologize for that. I'm just so happy that all your other friends have been there for you. And I'm so glad that you are at peace with the flow of life. What a blessing that is. A true gift of Oneness. Peace.

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Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger

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