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My DH was cutting the grass and felt lightheaded. He made his way into the house and called me. I was upstairs, he was downstairs, and I think I was listening to some music playing. I heard a sound, but it didn't translate in my head as the voice of my husband calling my name.

Deezer Dee, our Westie, pricked his ears up and stared down the steps. He knew it sounded I paid attention, and found that something was very wrong with my Sweetie.

And then all hell broke loose, with a panicked call to 911 (it is surprisingly difficult to dial 911 when you really must), the arrival of the firemen and the EMT's, my husband gray-skinned, with a strange pulse and no discernible blood pressure, although he was sitting up and talking to the guys.

I sat in the front seat of the ambulance, the women who were my neighbors standing near me, consoling, their hands on my shoulder, as comforting as they could be, while the paramedic slit Mark's shirt up the middle and pounded on his chest with his fists.
Neighborhood kids were drawn by the lights, the sirens, the commotion. There was a crowd, and when I closed my eyes I kept trying to picture what would happen next. There was nothing to picture, just a dark void where my imagination failed me.

After awhile I heard, "Say hello to your wife.She's a little worried about you."

"Hi," he said, and we waved at each other through the window between the back and front sections.

I rode shotgun on the way to the hospital, and the EMT who was driving was alternately p***** at the drivers who wouldn't get out of our way, and elated that "We brought him back! That doesn't happen very often, I mean, he was gone and we brought him back! That's something we write in our journals when we go home at night. That's something I'll tell my wife!" A strange and unsettling message. People do these things on cheesy TV shows. Not in our very real lives.

That's how the journey began, an ordeal that centered around the unstable rythm of my husband's heart, and the trips to the hospitals, where his life was pulled from the fire more than once. Where nurses old and young fell in love with "the nicest patient I ever had!" Where I slept beside him, holding his hand, and we watched "Naked Gun" with Leslie Nielsen over and over on hospital cable TV. I love Leslie Nielsen; he doesn't know it but he made my DH laugh when things were none too funny.

Cut to the chase: A year and a half later, he received the gracious gift of a donated heart, from a generous and grief-stricken mother who thought her son's pointless death might have some meaning for someone else. It did.

And cut to the rest of the chase.
He just finished cutting the grass.
And Deezer Dee, the little old Westie with the pointy ears, is asleep by my feet.

Be thankful this April evening. And take care, Foolies.


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When Life Gives You Lemons
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