Tuesday, March 29, 2016

March 29, 2016
It has been quite some time since my last blog post. As with all, it seems sometimes that life gets in the way of constant communication.

I made the semi-virulent effort at promotion for Grand Illusion, but its release came squarely on the heels of a planned trip to visit my son in Washington D.C. He and his girlfriend are headed to law school this fall somewhere other than a DC area school. Both have been accepted to multiple top ten law schools and we could not find any more joy in our hearts at their hard work and its fruition.

Further enhancing the concept of the trip is that my wife had never been to the East Coast - this was to be her first trip. She enjoyed the sights as much as possible for a woman unaccustomed to so much walking. I had seen many of the same sights in 1999 when my now 26 year old son was but ten. It was fascinating to see the differences, similarities and his lifestyle within a city we had once never considered his future home.

He arranged some pretty cool stuff for us, including a behind the regular scenes tour of the Capitol. There were so many fascinating aspects of the tour, one which we considered ourselves fortunate to receive. He had worked for a couple of different senators and had some very interesting, little known information and side tours.

After three days, my wife and I headed to an area more her speed - Charlottesville. We loved it there, spent one day at Virginia Beach for our anniversary.

All of this, of course, leads somewhere other than a simple recount of my travels. Fear. Pain. Loss.

On what was to be our last day, with an evening flight, we stopped at Mt. Vernon on our way back to the DC area. Shortly after arriving, my wife and I went to the restrooms. When I returned to the lobby, I could not find her. Thinking she had wandered around, frustration briefly set in - and then I looked behind me where a group of people were surrounding someone on the floor.

As I looked, I recognized it as my wife. At first I thought she had fallen down out of fatigue - but then we looked; her face was blue and she was rigid. We thought she was choking. Plenty of training in first aid and response only sort of prepares you for such a situation. When it is a stranger, it is easy to be very stoic and prepared. When it is your wife, however, emotion creeps in.

Despite the creeping emotions, I was calm enough to check her airway for any obstruction; but there were none and she began to bite down on my finger. (The neurologist would later tell me I was lucky to keep the finger.)

And this is where fear began to set it - I was watching my wife; she was not breathing, was rigid (not convulsing) and no one knew what was wrong. I began to fear the worst pain imaginable. I began to fear my wife was dying. Right in front of my eyes. It was a pain I could not bear in the moment. I could not watch her die.

It's funny how often we say 'I love you' to someone almost as a habit. We mean the words, but it is difficult to feel them deeply every time they are expressed. And then you see your wife dying and it suddenly all floods through your mind. Every time you said something you wish you could take back. Every time you get angry at her. Every time you slam a door.

Some very wonderful people worked to help my wife. There was a first response team on site who helped before paramedics arrived. After about five minutes, color began to return to her face, she began to breathe on her own, but she was very confused.

It took about 35 more minutes before she became consciously aware of her surroundings. By this time she was in the back of an ambulance and we were headed to the emergency room. After all the testing was complete, the neurologist pinpointed a combination of a particular prescription pain medication and sleep deprivation as the culprit. She had suffered a seizure, something which had never happened prior. We were relieved to have the answer, but I think it fundamentally impacted the manner in which we both see this world.

So, that's kind of my last few weeks in a nutshell. Crazy and hectic. I don't think absence makes the heart grow fonder - I think it slowly dissipates whatever memory survives. Fear? Fear of loss I think makes the heart grow fonder. You never really know just how much you love someone until you are faced with the fear of losing them.

Anyway, I am getting back into the swing of my next project. Certainly, as with all life experiences, this one is sure to impact what I write, the manner in which I write, and the passion with which I write. I hope that to be a good thing.


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