A Wake Up Call

My family was hit by tragedy this week. My husband, the most robust, strong and clever man I have known for over 25 years, suffered a heart attack.

It was a surreal moment, sitting next to the man I love in the Coronary Care Unit, a plethora of wires attaching him to a nearby bleeping machine that monitored every second of his blood pressure and heart rate. Especially when he pulled a face, leant over to me and whispered, “I don’t know what I’m doing in here, they’re all old.” And he was quite right, at only 45 he was definitely the youngest patient on the cardiac ward.

We were told that the three main contributory factors to heart disease are smoking, high cholesterol and genetics. Unfortunately, he was victim of the third. The amazing cardiac staff acted very quickly and performed an emergency medical procedure to open up the blocked artery and remove the danger. A day later, much to everyone’s relief, he came home and began the long road to recovery.

The title of this post is probably a bit misleading. I’ve always felt pretty comfortable with my priorities in life – my nearest and dearest come first. Hubby and I have plans to retire early and travel again. There are so many places on our wish list – South America, Africa, more of the Far East. After that, we’ll come home, buy a campervan and explore Europe. Generally, I don’t live in a ‘grass is greener’ world. (OK, I admit, I wouldn’t mind if Mr Pan McMillan picked up my new book and turned it into an overnight bestseller, but a girl can dream, right?) Yet I do realise that this week could have gone very differently. It made me realise that our bodies are merely machines and, at any age, they can falter and breakdown.

So, whatever hurdles life places in my path now, I’m plumping for Thomas Jefferson’s philosophy – ‘never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can do today’. When I think about postponing that holiday, I’ll think again. I’m going to do, do, do; enjoy my daughter, sit up ‘til the early hours chatting with my husband, have fun with my dog, book loads of holidays, spend time with friends, indulge my hobbies and laugh, laugh, laugh. That’s my wake up call.

I’ll leave you with Baz Luhrmann’s 1999 hit, Sunscreen. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

This post is dedicated to the wonderful cardiac team at KGH. Thank you for sending our special person back in one piece. We will always be grateful.

25 thoughts on “A Wake Up Call

  1. Thank god your husband is on the road to recovery, you must have got a fright. I love your philosophy for the future and I hope you all have a great time fulfilling your dreams!

  2. Oh Jane – so relieved to learn that your hubby is safely home – may he have a speedy and full recovery! Thinking of you and yours at this time!

    Yes, do, do, do, and laugh, and laugh more 🙂 love what you have got from this unexpected incident. Very wise and upbeat,something positive out of a near miss. Very happy for you!

    Thanks for sharing and may you stay blessed!

    Junying xx

  3. When tragedy strikes, our first instinct is to come down on ourselves in some way. Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda are words that come to mind. You’re a good person, Jane and you do the best that you can, always looking to do the right thing. Sure, this incident will adjust priorities, as it should. But know that you’ve gone where many have not gone before achieving all that you have, which includes living a rich and full family life. I wish you and your family all the very best, including a safe and speedy recovery for your husband.

  4. Oh my goodness Jane, how awful for you all. So glad that he is on the road to recovery though and I do hope that its a speedy one. It’s true that it always takes times like these to refocus us and remind us of the really important things in life so your words are something we should all take note of. Live today…because nobody knows what tomorrow will bring.

  5. Oh god, Jane – I got such a shock reading this. Yet another reason that we should never take our lives for granted. Wishing him a speedy recovery and love to you all xxx

  6. Jane, I am in the same position as you, except that my husband has had two, and there is a possibilty that in a couple of years time he might have to have some very serious medical procedures (which I don’t want to talk about on a public forum). We learned about the latter last week – like you, I am going to make sure that there is never a day in which we argue about stupid stuff, or that I am too busy to talk to him about something or do something with him that he wants us to do. I am aware all the time that our years together may be limited, and as I can’t bear the thought of life without him, I am making the most of every one of those days. I really feel for you – and make sure he looks after that heart! xx

    • Oh god, Terry, I am so sorry for you. I know how crushed we’ve been this week and hopefully in time our situation will improve and resume some normality. Enjoy every moment together. I hope he keeps well. *sending hugs*

  7. Awww… Jane so sorry to hear this, but so glad he ‘s on the road to recovery. Families are so precious. Make sure you give yourself loads of TLC too…the support role is just as vital as the medical staff.
    I too, have had the shittiest week with lots of bad news. Your post summed up my feelings exactly. Life has to be lived, now.
    Sending hugs to you all x

  8. Oh God baby doll… I’m so sorry! I wish I could do something? Please let me know if I can. Otherwise I’ll just pray for you all. Thank you for reminding us that sometimes we need to live in the moment instead of trying to work ourselves to the bone for tomorrow. I love you sweetheart. Take care of that man of yours and try to relax and not worry too much. I know it’s hard when you’ve been thrown something so scary like that. XOXOXOXOXOXO

  9. Jane, I am so sorry to hear this. It was shocking to read so I can only imagine the reality of living it.

    I am glad he is home and starting his journey back to recovery.

    Wishing your husband a safe, steady recovery. You know my thoughts are with you all xx

  10. I can understand how you are feeling, I hope your husband has that full recovery. Like myself, I have been in the same predicament but this has gone on for seventeen years. We have to take things has they come and because of it my wife has been in a home only to be fed by hand, because she has no movement in her body. Being alone I have attempting to do things just to keep my brain working, having friends around is a little difficult, but then I have my three dogs to sing and hum too.

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