Somtimes I think we love the people nearest us, not becuase they are more deserving than other humans, but becuase they are there, and loving other humans is what humans do. Love attatches randomly, and only then do we see the reasons for it. We justify it backwards, and it works just fine becuase any other human is worthy of our love. As we live with people we are able to see into them more deeply and reasons become clear. I could have loved some man who lives in Nepal that, as it turns out, I will never meet. I could have loved anyone. But here am I, with the ones I do love and they are lovable, and they are full of the everyday ordinary perfection. I can see it, because I can see them.
I did not explain that well, but maybe you all understand.
On Tuesday night Mike had a big test in Organic Chem. He had been working pretty frantically to be ready for it, but he has terrible test anxiety. He was 20 years in the Navy. He is someone who can act with speed and bravery in an engine room emergency where the wrong decision can kill. In the face of a fire or a steam leak he is deft and calm. But he hates tests. He said later that when he went to write his answers he was shaking uncontrollably.
He did his best and came home. A few hours later he was having chest pains. He said he thought they were probably nothing. Son and I, as you know were both trained as EMTs. (Son of course much more recently than I,) Now that we looked alertly Mike did not look quite right. And when we pressed him to answer he said that yes, actually, his arm felt a little weird too.
When he began puring with sweat we called an ambulance. We gave him some aspirin while we waited. The ambulnce pulled up quickly and a firetruck. They always send a firetruck. Not sure why really. Two paramedics and three fireman in tun-out gear clumped up my stairs. (They did not bring their axes, at least.) Off we went to the hospital.
They began testing him. He had blood work, and an EKG, and they moved him to the cardiac floor. Something was not right, but they were unwilling to commit as to what. His left ventricle did not please them. His blood-pressure was amazingly low. (Something like 55 over 90.) But he always runs low. They kept him overnight. They shot him up with thallium and ran him on a treadmill. The pain was gone by now, and it did not return. They kept him another night. I brought him a laptop and a change of clothes. He is a skinny thing, he does not look like a man headed for hear ttrouble. I always figured that caloric fatty foods were good for him. He could use a little weight. He walks miles everyday. I am quite the other way, too fat, and very good at holding still for hours. I am the one who looks the part.
(In fact, we are both ten or fifteen pounds lighter than when we last checked. We do not own a scale, but the fourth floor walk-up has done me good.)
They scheduled him for an angiogram. They told him not to eat. They gave him clippers and told him to shave off all the hair near the femoral artery. He was not sure which side they wanted, he shaved it all off."You didn't have to take that much," they said. "if it is worth doing," Mike said, "it is worth doing right."
So they sedated him up and wheeled him away. They threaded the wire up to his heart and had a good look. Everything looked fine. They kept him overnight, and sent him home yesterday. He is supposed to avoid stairs, stay off his feet and rest for the weekend. For the next 10 years he is to not let his femoral artery be pucntured. (Probably sound practice anyway.)
The result of it all is this: His heart is ok at the moment. Nobody is sure what went wrong, or why, or if it will ever return. They said he should take tranquilizers when he has school tests. We will have to to see, going forward, how this works. He is tired and sore and iracible.
So that is part of where I have been for the last week. Also I have been doing some complicated hoop jumpng with daughter, her school, her doctors and all that. That is stressful in a different way.
Today is quiet. We are all home. I am grateful. I love these people. But I could have loved that guy in Nepal.