Despite my resolve to be more patient with Don, yesterday again started with me being rushed to get to work on time, and him being slow….and unfortunately we again fell into the spiral of my anger and his distress. I left for work upset and agitated, and although we talked by phone and apologized to one another shortly after I got to work, it was not a good start to the day.
But it got worse.
I was eating lunch at my desk at work when my cell phone rang, and a friend’s name flashed on the screen. This friend attends the same exercise class as Don, which would have ended just before she called me, so I had a feeling it wasn’t good news…and it wasn’t.
She told me that they were doing stretches on their mats at the end of class and when they all started to get up Don could not get up, and was weak and disoriented. The health club called 911, and when my friend called me the paramedics were on their way.
I spoke with the club manager, and with the paramedics when they arrived, and they said they were taking Don to the emergency room. I dashed out of work and drove to the hospital fearing that something dire had happened – like a stroke or a heart attack – and feeling immense guilt about my behavior in the morning.
At the ER I learned to my great relief that Don was still on a gurney waiting for a bed to be freed up, which indicated that whatever had happened was not life-threatening. His exercise class instructor met me at the hospital, and when they let us back to briefly seem him we asked if he needed anything. His response was “a whisky sour” so we knew he was probably alright.
Four hours later he got a bed in the E.R. where they did a chest x-ray, took his blood pressure and temperature (which was over 100), and swabbed his nose. A couple of hours after that a young and very harried doctor stopped by to say the EKG, bloodwork, and other tests done in the ambulance were all normal and their best guess was flu. A few minutes later that diagnosis was confirmed (despite the fact that we had both gotten the flu shot!) and we were sent home with a prescription for Tamiflu and a cough suppressant.
After a stop at the pharmacy and at our favorite ice cream place next door we were home, and by 7:30 Don was tucking into a plate of pasta.
Flu is nothing to take lightly, but the diagnosis was a huge relief. For me the whole episode was also a warning that life’s apple cart can get overturned in a heartbeat and I won’t always have the chance to make amends when I get crosswise with someone.
The universe has been sending me all kinds of signs from blog posts to horoscopes that I need to change how I respond to Don’s lapses and yet I haven’t been able to change. yesterday the universe decided to hit me over the head with a baseball bat. to get my attention.
I am lucky to have more chances to respond with love rather than anger…and I hope I don’t squander them, because the next sign from the universe might be the last.