It’s been one year ago today when Todd reached over and squeezed my knee in the middle of the night to wake me up. We can joke now about my first thoughts, Really?! Now? I need to work in the morning, but that night, it took me only a few more moments to realize he was squeezing my knee and he was squeezing it hard. When I rolled over to look at him, he told me he was having chest pains. My cynicism turned into the realization that one of my worst fears was probably coming true–Todd was suffering a heart attack.
I knew by the time I drove the few blocks to the hospital, the ambulance would only just be arriving at our home. I also knew an ambulance at 1:15 am would cause too much excitement for Amy. I decided to take a chance.
“Can you make it to the garage?”
“I think so.”
I quietly woke up Ali and told her I needed to bring Dad to the hospital. Within seconds Amy called out from her room. I don’t remember what I told Amy, but it was something quick with the hope she would go back to sleep.
I found Todd struggling to walk the stairs to the garage. Don’t make me regret not calling the ambulance.
With him finally slouched in the passenger seat, I pulled out of the driveway and then sped up Seventh Street. It’s only a few blocks to the hospital. What if he passes out? Do I keep driving or stop and call the ambulance?
This wasn’t our first middle of the night drive to the ER, but I knew this one was different.
“Wheelchair.” The only word he said as I parked by the ER doors.
My fear increased. Todd asking for a wheelchair? I remembered a friend saying, “If you say ‘chest pains’ in the ER, you’ll get moved to the top of the list.”
The moment I pushed Todd through the entrance doors, I said, “Chest pains!”
In the ER the doctor confirmed my fear; Todd was having a STEMI. The cardiologist was on his way. Todd would be headed to the Cath Lab very soon. A hospital employee offered to move my car. I called my dad and Cheryl to have them come down to be with the girls. Todd joked about the shaving job the nurses were performing. I watched the clock, the monitors, and the nurses charting his medications. The ER doctor gently rubbed my back as I turned away for just a few moments to wipe the tears which had formed in my eyes.
I refocused on my left hand which was engulfed by Todd’s. I tried wiggling my fingers. He asked me what was wrong, and I told him he might cause me to end up in the bed next to his with a broken hand. “Sorry,” he said as he loosened his grip and smiled. I returned the smile and somehow knew hewas going to be alright.
Now, I can smile again as I think back to that night one year ago. It’s been a trying year for all of us, but I know his grip is just as strong and his heart just as soft.