Sunday, August 24, 2014

100 Things I Want to Tell My Children and Grandchildren: #9

(Picture is my favorite of my kids, Colt, Jolene and Cuatro, when they were 2, 3, and 5 in 1977)

You don’t know how strong you are until you have to be.

I’m pretty sure my children have already discovered how strong they are. Life doesn’t wait long to throw curve balls, and it doesn’t discriminate when it comes to divvying out heartbreak, sorrow and stress. Young, old, rich, poor, we all face life challenges although, admittedly, some seem to get more than their share.

What I want to assure my children and grandchildren is this. You are much stronger than you know. There are three reasons that I know this to be a fact.

First, our family comes from what was once referred to as “hardy stock,” the reference being strong, well-bred animals, but which, in more modern terms, might mean genetically advantaged.  We are damned near bullet-proof, solid.

Second, no one in our family permanently “falls apart.” They may make mistakes, but they always cowboy/cowgirl up to handle whatever needs to be handled.

And finally, my mom taught me that if you believe you can, you can.  So believe you can.

I have several good examples of my rising to the occasion to handle extremely stressful situations, but the most recent is my husband’s illness. This winter Crouse was in the hospital for six weeks. At one point the doctors told us to start making end-of-life plans.

It all began in 2000, when we discovered that he had a congenital defect in his atrial valve, causing enlargement of the heart and resulting damage. The heart doctors replaced the atrial valve with a carbon-fiber artificial valve, and then because the mitral valve was leaking due to the enlargement of the heart, two years later they replaced the mitral valve with a similar artificial valve.

Everything went fine until about two years ago when Crouse all of a sudden started having major and minor strokes, scaring the bejesus out of us. Fortunately, very fortunately, he recovered about 85% of his capacities. Then November of 2013, he started having a great deal of difficulty breathing and walking. He lost his appetite as well as 40 pounds and his ability to do just about everything. We spent a good bit of December in the hospital, going home on Christmas Eve without a diagnosis.

Finally in January 2014, the doctors admitted him to the hospital and, after almost giving up on him, finally discovered that one of his heart valves was cleverly covering up the fact that it was about 70% detached and leaking blood like a sieve. They decided to operate, but told us there was a 30+% chance he wouldn’t survive the surgery.

Well, we survived it all – even though Crouse was all but dead at one point and I was working full time during the entire ordeal. Now he is healthier than he’s been in three years, and I’m still sane and stronger from that which didn’t kill me!

I suspect we all have stories of survival, but the point is that when all seems lost and you don’t know how you will possibly make it, remember this: You are stronger than you know, and you will be okay.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing. We are all blessed to have Crouse back in good health! ~Debbie