As we walked in the door on that first day home after my husband’s hospital stay, we both breathed a sigh of relief. He was so happy to be home where he could get into his most comfortable clothes, sink into his favorite chair, and get some rest without being constantly poked and prodded. I was glad to be home where I could bathe him in tender loving care, cook him nutritious, heart-healthy meals, and sink into my role as his emotional cheerleader and encourager.
That first week we began to have visits from a home health nurse and a physical therapist. It was truly a comfort to us to have a nurse come and check his vitals and inspect his incisions for signs of infection. Neither of us had ever been through this before and we weren’t too confident that we would know if things were or were not progressing normally. My husband’s greatest fear was that he would get pneumonia or contract a cold or other illness since coughing and sneezing at this point was extremely scary and painful. Besides the home health nurse, we have a wonderful nurse friend who works in a cardiovascular unit at a nearby hospital who was a great resource for us. I called her with questions regarding my husband’s healing and progress, and she answered patiently, from her vast storehouse of knowledge and experience. She didn’t even balk when I sent her graphic photos of my husband’s yucky incisions for her perusal and assessment…talk about a good friend!
The physical therapist was kind and professional and gave my husband simple exercises to do to build up his strength. He and I realized, by the pace and intensity of things, that she was more used to working with clients who were much older. Although she knew my husband had been a triathlete, we had not told her that he also has a masters in exercise physiology! Eventually, she did add ankle weights and pick up the intensity which made my husband very happy.
Since coming home, we have enjoyed many contemplative moments sitting in our front yard in the crisp winter air under a beautiful blue sky. God has spoken to us there, reminding us to savor each day…to go forth and tell of his constant presence and comfort in what has been a dire and life-threatening situation, and to thank him for the diagnosis of my husband’s heart disease and how it has changed our lives and the lives of those around us. God has spoken to me about more fully appreciating the gift that my husband is in my life and has convicted me to be more of a helper and encourager to him going forward.
Actually, some of the most precious and meaningful times we have ever had together as a couple have occurred in these last few weeks since the surgery. As we have walked together hand-in-hand down our tree-lined street to build up my husband’s strength, we have prayed aloud and have had numerous deep conversations…about life, God, our children…and the future. Yes, the glorious, hopeful, exciting, future… for which God saved my husband from a potentially untimely death.
I think my husband would agree that this health crisis has in many ways been a gift to us both… from a God who loves us with an everlasting love and who desires for us to live an abundant and fulfilling life that will bring glory and honor to him.