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......