I found this deflated balloon in the woods this morning.
Like millions of others, I rose early this morning to watch the Royal Wedding. I recalled sitting with my mom in 1981 watching Diana and Charles get married. I was alone today. Neither of my children nor my husband joined me. I live with a bunch of unromantic souls.
I didn't mind watching the wedding by myself. Kate and William's love for one another showed clearly in their smiles. The beauty of their event made me very happy too. After my family went off to school and work, I took Winston out for our morning walk. Walks with Winston mean alone time for me and sometimes too much alone time can be dangerous. My mind quickly wandered to a pair of my elder neighbors.
Sunday was Easter. Mr. & Mrs. L have been married for 63 years. Mrs. L lives in the house they had built forty-some years ago at the end of my street. Her husband lives in a nearby retirement center. He's been away from his house for two years now due to healthy conditions requiring more hands on care than she can handle by herself. Most recently he had suffered a stroke (last October, his second one) and lost his vision as a result. At 9:40 pm Sunday night, Mrs. L called me. She had just received a call from the retirement center saying her husband fell and they felt he needed to be checked out at the hospital. Mrs. L needed a ride. She's comfortable driving during the day but it was dark now.
Within 20 minutes I had her at the ER and we waited for Mr. L. to arrive...it was now 10pm. I don't have a very clear timeline on what all happened next, but Mrs. L and myself went back to see Mr. L after he arrived. We sat in chairs at the foot of his bed and were trying to evaluate his situation. Did he break anything? Was he just being dramatic? Was he just needing attention? How was his mind? Did he hurt anything else? We would need to wait for a doctor to come in and then Mr. L would go off the have x-rays taken. He might have broken his hip and that would need to be ruled out first.
Mrs. L told Mr. L that she had a friend with her. Not being able to see, Mr. L asked if it was Norma (I think) and she responded, "No, it's Lisa." No last name, just it's Lisa. Within a minute Mr. L asked about Winston. It is my opinion that his mind was clear! I have known this couple for over 25 years. We've shared picnics and holidays. Mr. L was my biggest cheerleader when I made my decision to be a staying-at-home mom with my children. He made me feel like he admired my choice.
While we waited on the doctor, Mr. & Mrs. L and I chatted about how things were; what happened mostly and where did it hurt. We also talked about some audio books that Mrs. L had signed Mr. L up to receive for free through the Library of Congress. He was most recently listening to a book about Winston Churchill! The longer we waited, the more impatient Mrs. L was becoming...where was THAT doctor! She would go and check every 10 minutes or so. Mr. L and I had a chance to chat privately. I asked about his day because I had all ready heard about it from Mrs. L. Their day had been shared with their son and filled with two church services, a new pastor, chatting with friends who hadn't been seen in some time, lunch out and dinner back at the retirement center. Both Mr. and Mrs. L had privately told me how wonderful the day had been and how beautiful was the music at church. During one of our alone moments, Mr. L asked me, "Who are those people?" and he pointed just past my left side. I turned to look around the curtain that divides the small room. The door was closed and I reminded myself he was blind. "Which people?" "Those people. Are they are people from Meadowood?" No one was there and I couldn't hear anyone either. "I think it's people from the hospital", I told him and the moment was dismissed. A few minutes later, Mrs. L came back with the doctor. Mr. L was accessed and would need to go for x-rays. Another 10 minutes and Mr. L was rolled away. Just a minute before Mr. L returned, the doctor came into the room and told us the news. Mr. L had broken his right hip and it would require surgery.
When Mr. L returned though, he seemed to be in a very deep sleep. He was snoring very loudly and actually his breathing seemed noisy...wet. The nurses hooked him back up to the monitors and immediately things were not okay. His blood pressure was VERY, VERY low. They grabbed the doctor, who wanted an IV of fluids started. Within 30 minutes I could tell that wasn't working. A drug was administered through the IV with hopes that it would regulate Mr. L's BP. It did. Mr. L would need to go have a CT scan of his belly area to see if there was any internal bleeding happening. Then Mr. L was being moved up to ICU. Before things started seeming NOT okay to me, Mrs. L was trying to get me to go home. She said she be fine and she'd call on someone else to take her home. As IF I would leave her!!! I think being with both my step-dad and my mom at their ends of life some how made the unconscious part of my being say DO NOT LEAVE!
It was just before midnight when we had the last conversations with Mr. L. He became unresponsive...not even responding to pain stimuli. He was moved to ICU at about 3-ish, and we saw the next doctor just after 4. He explained that they just didn't know why what was happening was happening. They would need time to run blood tests to check for infections, and to be able to tell if he'd had a heart attack. Mr. L's ekg was different than it had been earlier in the evening. Without the medication in his body to regulate his BP, Mr. L's BP would drop again. I watched his numbers get as low as 55/35. A CT scan of his brain would need to happen too as well as an MRI. Satisfied there was nothing else we could find out or do over the next few hours, Mrs. L and I were ready to head home. That was 4:45 am. I made her go back in to say goodbye to Mr. L and give him a kiss.
I stopped by Mrs. L's house last night and chatted with her son and daughter before she came out. The results of the MRI show hundreds of blood clots in Mr. L's brain and no more brain activity. Today they were going to abide my Mr. L's living will wishes.
Mrs. L said to me the other night, "I didn't expect things to be like this. I'm not really sure what I expected. Maybe for us to just walk off together."
So although I feel the beautiful love surrounding Kate and William today as they start their new life together as husband and wife, I also am feeling the beautiful love of another couple. Beginnings are filled with love and so are endings.
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Thank you readers for bearing with my emotions today. On top of noting the above, it was almost exactly 5 years ago that my mom was diagnosed with her brain cancer. If you've read my experiences from before than you know I do believe in spirits. Reflecting back onto Sunday night, I think there were some spirits in the ER room with Mr. L. I am honored that I was asked to help Mrs. L that night. I know many others would have done exactly what I did.