Life, it is a waltz of sorts. Steps of a waltz are in sequences of threes and in a box. Some days we take two steps forward, one backward and end up in the same box we started out in. A beautiful dance, beautiful costumes and beautiful people make it no more or less difficult. Anyone can waltz and most often we do it daily without realizing it.
When a we are stuck in a box, we get claustrophobic, we search for breath, and we begin to get that “caged in” feeling. Two weeks ago this morning our lives were placed in that box and the steps of the Waltz began. We went forward, right, back and left and we are right back in the same box. The scenery changes as we move swiftly about the room in our box, but we are still left to dance in our own box.
This journey has been a dance for us. We heard the music start, the partners were chosen and the dance began. We have bumped along and gone forward and backward and back again. I feel bounced from one spot on the floor to another and back again. We have come so far and yet have so far to come.
Today was a difficult day as have been most of the days this week. We have gone from joyous to rock bottom to joyous and back again. Just when we think we have made progress, we see another obstacle or another side of this disease and the results of all that David has gone through since his heart attack. Unexplained to us, commonly patients of strokes and heart failure having varying recovery scenarios.
Some heart patients who have had a major heart attack will snap right back. Others I am told may have many side effects that require varying degrees of recovery. When one suffers a major heart attack and codes, their body has completely stopped functioning momentarily for a period of time. During this time the brain is starved for oxygen needed to operate the well oiled machine called the human body. This depravation results in a recovery that each individual person will approach differently based on their experiences, damage and life quality.
Cardiac Arrest patients who have been sedated will come out of sedation differently as well. We have experienced the ups and downs of David’s recovery this week. Without detailing all we have dealt with and seen, we were not prepared for the stranger that has come back. Though not a total stranger, recognizing everyone as they come to see him, the normal thoughts are not the thoughts of the man we are welcoming back. I share this because no one shared this with us.
On the outside, society expects that things are improving and for the most part they are. Some parts of healing the patients go through are a variety of stages. One patient shared with me that he cried a lot after his surgery and attack. He became very angry and eventually learned to throw a spoon on the floor to avoid showing and expressing his anger. His family knew this meant he was extremely mad. Others will have delusions of grandeur, failure or fantasy. Some patients improve over time, still others struggle through life trying to regain what is outside their new box.
The onlookers to the Waltz see only the beauty and not the struggle. The dancer will struggle, they will count the steps, try to gain the rhythm and still trip over their feet in the same box. After recovery they may learn how to count the steps to the beat and be able to Waltz around the room beautifully. Still others will struggle and may never get the steps down.
We face David’s recovery in much the same way that he himself is recovering. Day by day we take a step and hope, trust and place our faith in God that eventually we will be waltzing across the floor, precisely, beautifully and gracefully. We are still in the box, awaiting the rythm and the flow. As we, his family stand on the sidelines, watching the coaches (aka doctors and nurses) teaching the steps, coaching the next steps and watching their “practice” dance, we can do nothing but observe. We are there on the sidelines cheering and supporting, but we cannot change what is inside the dancer, counting the steps and performing to the music.
As I begin to unwind from the day and pray for those things unseen, I could only compare this day to a waltz, a dance that is practiced and improved on daily. Some people are born dancers, I am not one of the fortunate ones. I dance to my own dance, a child of the 60’s and 70’s, rock and roll had no specific dance, just moves, no foot coordination, no watermelon slide or choreography. We felt the rythm and danced to the music. I am feeling the rythm but the steps elude me when I try to watch and perform.I can laugh about my inability, one of the many things I am not good at.
This dance isn’t about me. It is about the recovery of David, or your loved one or a friend, neighbor or community member. Each dancer takes a different step until they all come back together. The Waltz is the first of many dances in life that we will learn and in this case must relearn. My side of the dance? That’s another story entirely. We read and re-read the Book of Job and prayerfully ask for healing, for restoration and expectantly wait.
Today David’s feeding tube will be returned to him as he did not pass his swallow test. As you partake of the flurry of fluid that we each intake daily, please pray for David occasionally over that precious gulp. We know this is only a temporary step in healing. Neurology will be coming in to double check David, making sure nothing has been missed. Each step is one step closer to recovery and his return to us, his perfecting of the Waltz!
Monday morning David will have his stents inserted and we will begin the next phase of recovery. Two weeks have passed and his body has missed the daily activity it was accustomed to. We wait and pray and wait some more. David’s story is not unique but it’s one way that I can share God’s grace and his healing power. I believe so fully that God has more plans for David, just as he does every newborn. Each day is a journey and each day gives us new challenges and new reasons to seek God in every situation.
Only God knows the plans He has for us. . .
After suffering with a bout of heart failure and 7 weeks later having open heart surgery to repair a valve, I somewhat understand what both you and David are dealing with. You are right that it is one step forward and 2 steps backward for a while. My surgeon did warn me of some of the obstacles that I may have to overcome in recovery and one of those was depression. There seems to be a direct correlation between heart disease and depression. I was very fortunate and did not really struggle with it, however I did struggle with some memory issues after surgery and even when I returned to work weeks later. I was not warned about that one so it was frightening for me at first but I gradually accepted the fact that I just had to move on as best I could. Don’t be surprised if Davis struggles with these issues for a while and yea he may even be somewhat of a different person. Believe me, you do not endure this kind of experience without having both physical and emotional changes. Just continue to be there for him and hopefully soon you will begin to see 2 steps forward and just 1 backward each day. May God Bless your entire family as you struggle with this situation and I will continue to pray for both of you daily.