Today, according to my headline is “Heart Day.” Perhaps you are a bit curious as to why I say today is Heart Day. Allow me to explain. The morning of February 4, 1998 I awoke, dreading the day. My dad was at Roper Hospital on the 5th floor, fighting desperately and oh so weakly, for his life. Esophageal cancer was trying to take his life. On February 2, of the same year, my husband was rushed to Roper Hospital with suspected heart problems. After a cardiac catheterization procedure, http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cardiac-catheterization/basics/definition/prc-20023050 the cardiologist recommended heart surgery since four of Phil’s arteries were blocked. If my memory is correct, two of the blockages were at 90% or higher. I have to admit, my memory is a bit lacking where the statistics and medical diagnosis during this stressful time. Two of the most significant men in my life were now fighting for their lives.
On the morning of February 4, I remember driving to the hospital, arriving extremely early so I could kiss my dad good morning, and be with my husband during the prepping time for his surgery. What I did…who I was with…discussions…etc…etc… are a cloud of fog inside my brain, but I do remember praying, and I do remember going to the chapel — alone — so I could talk with God…say a prayer and light a candle.
All throughout the day I had friends drop by to see how I was doing. When they wheeled Phil to surgery, I remember walking along the gurney, holding his hand. I forced myself to be strong. “Don’t you dare cry…” I kept saying quietly to myself. “You have to be strong!” I did not have my immediate family with me. My son was out-of-town. Additional family members lived in Georgia, so I could not expect them to be with me. Besides, everything happened so fast. On February 2, I got a phone call at work, from ‘Karen at the doctor’s office.’ Funny, I thought. Why is Karen phoning me when Dad is in the hospital now. When I answered the phone, I discovered Karen was my husband’s doctor’s nurse. She was calling to tell me Phil was rushed to Roper Hospital. “This can’t be happening,” I whispered. “Both of my guys are at the same hospital. This must be a nightmare.”
There was a black cloud hanging over me!
On the date of February 4, as I kissed Phil bye, I wiped a tear from his face. I confess…I’ve never seen this man cry, until that day. I entered the cardiac waiting area. I asked someone where I could get a cup of coffee, recognizing I needed additional caffeine to get me thru this date. I was told we could not bring coffee, drinks of any kind, or snacks into the waiting area. Yes, it was a new, beautiful waiting room, but I ask — have you EVER sat in a waiting room, alone at the moment, without caffeine???
A few minutes passed. A friend joined me. Later, there were more friends…many…so many that if I listed all of them, I am certain I would leave someone out, and I would never want to seem ungrateful.
As the hours ticked away, I continued closing my eyes for a moment, to silently pray. I do remember one prayer. “Please God…I have two of the dearest men in my life fighting for their lives now. Please…God…give us all more time to be together. Please.”
I made a promise to myself. I had total faith that Phil would survive this day, and I intended to make this day — the Fourth of February, a special day for us to remember…February 4 will be our Heart Day.
For many years, I kept that promise, but like all things in life, the demands of life have a way of making us forget. This morning when I awoke I found myself contemplating — February 4…What is it about February 4 that continues to echo in my mind. I stopped for one brief moment, remembering that we lost our precious little Maltese on the 4th of January. Could that be the reason February 4 keeps ringing in my ears and brain?
On the way to get my nails done, the date of February 4 finally clicked! Today is Heart Day! I confess, its been years since I’ve bought a card, or wished Phil a Happy Heart Day, but today was a new day and I promised myself that this date would not slip by without a card, or some silly memento of the occasion. After all, not everyone gets a Heart Day!
Yes, Readers, you might call me silly, or a romantic…or someone who is so unpredictable that she would strive to make the most of something, especially a special day. I confess, I am definitely — silly, romantic, and unpredictable! Today is the 16th anniversary of my husband’s heart surgery. SIXTEEN YEARS! Still, his heart is going…even when he gets in his PTSD rages and I have doubts that he DOES HAVE A HEART. Nevertheless, today is Phil’s Heart Day.
Sitting on top of his computer in a bag is a silly little stuffed animal with a heart and “You Fill My Heart” inscribed. Yes, it’s silly, but what the heck. Isn’t that what life is all about?
Shouldn’t we all take the time to stop…for just one moment to cherish those important moments in our lives? Phil and I did not have a wedding, so getting married wasn’t exactly a precious moment. We’ve lived together for such a long time now that it is hard to remember exactly how L-O-N-G we’ve been married. I say I’ve been married ALL OF MY LIFE because in many ways it is true. I married three months after high school graduation. In all reality, I never had a life until I got married…so it’s no wonder I say, “I’ve been married ALL OF MY LIFE!”
So, for those most significant moments in our lives, we must cherish and strive to appreciate these precious moments, such as ‘Phil’s Heart Day.’
After his heart surgery, I was happy to know that Phil does have a heart. You have to get to know Phil to understand why I say that! Let’s just say, someone who has been to a war zone and saw the horrid things that happen in a combat zone, only helps to almost destroy the person who has seen the emotional scars of war. Phil suffers with PTSD. Yes, he has good days and bad days…but today is Phil’s Heart Day!
Sixteen years of heart surgery…Let’s continue hoping and praying for the best!
Happy Heart Day!