There is a little something I neglected to tell you about, because I figured I'd already put enough on your plate and you might be getting full. However, since I myself am feeling so much better now I will explain what's been going on with Ken.
He was with me last Monday at the doctor's office, when I got my Big Diagnosis. He wanted to investigate an unpleasant fluttering/fast heartbeat he'd been having on and off for a month. "Actually," he told the doc, "it's happening right now."
Doc whipped out his stethoscope, and had a listen. Oh yes, he could hear it. It's atrial fibrillation, he said. Not to worry, there are easy fixes for that, like medication or sometimes they put a catheter into your heart and just burn off those misfiring cells.
Now I wasn't too worried because my own grandfather has been living with atrial fibrillation for almost a century now and he just had another birthday so how bad could it be? I looked over at Ken. His face was flushed and perspiration had beaded on his forehead and upper lip, although the room was cool. I think basically what he heard the doctor say was "blah blah HEART CONDITION blah de blah SURGERY OPERATION BURN YOUR HEART WITH AN ELECTRICAL PROBE blah etc." So right at that very moment, despite Doc's good intentions, Ken wasn't feeling at all reassured.
He scooted straight downstairs to the lab where they ran an ECG strip. Doc made time to look at it right away. He took one look, laughed in a relieved way, and said Oh, you're fine, don't worry about it; it'll probably resolve on it's own. Then he sent us on our way.
Ken wasn't convinced, and since the whole problem was/is triggered by stress and he was seriously stressing, it suddenly got a whole lot worse. All week he was bedevilled by a racing heart rate and a very disconcerting rhythm irregularity whenever he exerted himself at all. I watched my husband go grey around the mouth, break out in a sweat, and complain of chest pain on a daily basis. At first I thought it would pass, and avoided worrying, but by the end of the week when things weren't letting up I started getting scared too.
I looked up the symptoms for atrial fibrillation and the symptoms of a heart attack to make sure that I would be able to tell the difference between the two. Ha ha ha joke's on me! Guess what! The symptoms are almost EXACTLY THE SAME! So then there were two of us pretty much convinced that Ken might drop dead of a heart attack at any moment.
I started checking to make sure he was still breathing when he was asleep. Then I started planning what I would have to do when I became a widow, like figure out how our home computer is actually set up with all the external hard drives and the backup and whatnot, so that I could maintain it myself, and I didn't see how I could do it. That and other things, like I've always counted on him to make the homemade guacamole for our Mexican dinners. I started feeling depressed.
Anyway, fortunately things took a turn for the better, and today we were out trampoosing* around what we call The Etobicoke Park by the lake for the better part of an hour, and he didn't turn grey or get overexerted, which made me feel much better. (*For a full definition of trampoosing please refer my Twitter feed.) He's still planning to follow up with further medical attention, but is worrying less, I think. I am no longer planning my future as a widow. I think that we're both going to be OK.