As you might recall, I stopped posting in February due to B’s illness.  I think it is now time I surfaced after our family adventure.  During this last year, once things stabilized, my daughter took me to a restorative yoga class to distract me.  The yoga teacher, in her meditative rambling, said ‘all experiences, good or bad, are growth experiences’ so I’ve tried to look at this experience as a growth experience or adventure.  And the yoga teacher is right, I’ve always believed it, but it helped to hear it at a time when I was relaxed.

So B became ill in the early hours of New Years Day, 2016.  Initial recovery was good, and then all hell broke loose a couple of weeks later.  I will not give too many details, but in March he was essentially dead,  but as a result of emergency surgery and an amazing surgeon (amazing in more ways than just her surgical skills), he survived.  Subsequently, he had medically expected ups and downs, some resulting in additional surgeries; we were told this is the second worse medical problem from which to recover and it would be a hard six months. All told he spent 131 days in the hospital and/or MACU.  The painful weeks before surgery and the ones immediately following were difficult.  However, with in two weeks of the initial surgery we were told he would fully recover in the end, so we had that.  People don’t wake up like in the movies,  but we both clearly remember the minute he did ‘wake up’ even though prior to that he was talking.  I would say it was six and one half months from the March surgery when I could say he was fully back, early October.  He’s gone from not being able to move any part of his body to hiking.  He’s still working on his strength, but he did climb to the top of Blue Hill last week on the steepest, most rocky path so he’s doing well. And that is all I’ll say about B’s illness and recovery because it is his business and personal.

What are some of the things I learned: 1. I learned what ‘bone tired’ means. 2. It is difficult making life and death decisions for another person, but even worse while you wait to see if you made the right decision.  3. Nice people come out of the woodwork when you least expect it…was it a look on my face?  So when we ask what happened to the nice people, they are out there…they found me when I needed them. 4. Our family response primary care unit worked great together, were supportive of each other, and bonded.  5. We found humor in the absurd involved with medical care and/or humans, for example; said all in one breath: “It’s tenuous.  He could die any moment. How do  you feel?”  We called her Dr. Death.   6. We are visual people; draw us a graph and we’re good.  7. Sometimes it was just nice to have some one drive me to the hospital, which I never would have understood before this.  8.  The ICU nurses were beyond wonderful (one of which is in line as a future family name along with our hero surgeon).  9. And, out of ICU, sometimes the smallest nurse does the most for a person…and gets him on the rehab road when others do the easy thing.  10. As one of my friends clarified for me when I was upset by a family member, there is always one person in the family who does not follow the requests of the primary family unit and feel they know best without knowing anything.  11.  Everyone in the hospital needs an advocate, awake or not.  12. People expect you to follow their mode of communication when they want to be kept up to date, even if it is not the easiest or most logical for the caregiver.  (Let it be said, I did what was easiest for me as they didn’t understand they weren’t the focus, and caregiver’s focus is on the patient.  All my strength, particularly in the beginning, went there.)  13. Released from the hospital and/or rehab, can be as tiring because suddenly the caregiver has no daily source for information while managing complex wounds, etc.  Be in control.  The caregiver and patient often know more than the visiting nurse about the patient’s condition, so speak up and make demands.  Visiting nurses can be great but they are often generalists and you know more than they do about the patient, especially when his medical record reads like a Russian novel.  14. Thank goodness for audio books.

So my advise: Never give up, follow your gut, and hope for the best.  Don’t let your mind go to the worst scenario, pull it back and visualize the positive.  And sometimes you just need a good Margarita to get to another day! 🙂

I did not sew/quilt for nine months.  I’m only now easing back in.  I don’t need a business, so I am thinking of letting the formal busier business go and just have fun with quilting.  So, as I need to add a picture to this blog, here is most of the Don’t Bore Your Baby Quilt I made in October:


Sometime I’ll figure out the watermark system…

I also had thought of not blogging anymore, but it might just be a place I am temporarily in so I’ll wait and see.  And, I have a project I have been thinking about as it lies on my sewing table, which I think I need words of wisdom on, so I will blog about that shortly,  seeking advise.  So until then, Happy Quilting or whatever!


About quiltify

Crazy about functional art: quilting; travel, family, and New England.
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4 Responses to Surfacing

  1. Lende McMullen says:

    Good blog, Jan. good results. Happy Christmas to you and B.

  2. We’ve always heard life is a journey with a lot of ups and downs. It sounds like you and your husband were on a rollercoaster journey this year. Best news ever is that you and he had a happy ending. My husband had a much shorter issue but it was life threatening a couple of years ago. Our medical life and death journey only lasted about six weeks, and I can remember the unbelievable range of emotions. Best wishes for continued good luck and good health. 🙂 The quilt is beautiful. I’m working on a small lap quilt. Take care.

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