I didn’t go with Shawn to Cardiac Rehab today because it’s minus 22 degrees outside and minus you’ve-got-to-be-fucking-kidding-me with the windchill. Cold like that makes me say “Oh look, a bed!” and I stay all up in that cozy goodness for as long as possible. It’s nearly noon. I’m still here. (I have a laptop and I’m working, but I’m still in my bed. Pretty sure that means I win winter)
Anyway the point is I did not go with Shawn to rehab. I usually try to. Learning about everything we possibly can after the heart attacks is just smart. I want to understand it all so that we can do all we can about preventing it ever happening again. I enjoy the classes and they have been very helpful so far. Shawn called me after class today. Like, right after. He was a little…emotional, sensitive. They were discussing CPR.
Let me break here for a second. Shawn knows CPR. So do I. I have even had to use mine on a two year old in the past but that is a whole other story. We’ve both been trained in first aid but when you’ve had deep, two handed compressions on your chest and you know it, and you had the cracked ribs and sternum to prove it, talking about it can be a bit of a trigger.
Let me also clarify *trigger*. I’m sure most of you know what I mean but for those who don’t: ever had a smell, or a piece of music or a place bring a memory straight to the forefront of your mind? Those senses are triggering the memories. All sorts of things can do it. Even people. I recently unfriended someone on facebook because every time I saw her name on my feed, I could only think of sad events and people lost who I associate directly with her.
On the positive side of that coin, whenever I make spaghetti sauce, I immediately remember and picture my mom’s kitchen growing up and coming home to her churning tomatoes on the stovetop right into the pot.
So, discussing CPR in rehab today and Shawn called me. I’m happy (and lucky) that I get to be his touchstone when something like this happens. For the most part, he is doing so well that it’s easy to forget on a moment to moment basis all that he and by extension we, went through. However, the reminders are always there and the triggers make him, and sometimes me, and sometimes the kids, emotional. For weeks after the event, if I saw on a show or a movie someone getting CPR, or getting shocked, I would cry. I simply couldn’t see it without seeing it happen to Shawn in my minds eye. I had trouble watching Criminal Minds, one of my favourite shows, because they showed people dead on there with their eyes open and I had to see that on my husband three months ago. I couldn’t handle seeing it elsewhere. For Shawn I think it’s worse. Because he has no idea what all that looked like, but for him, all the triggers remind him that he has been through it and then he apologizes to me for putting our family through it. As if he had any control. I usually tell him not to apologize and stop being rediculous. Basically, we’re all living in a state of grace with one another that elicits a lot of I love you’s and thank you’s. I’ll take it.
Now, so many weeks and even months later, I can watch Criminal Minds again. I can see medical shows without crying. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m a big crier anyway and I will tear the fuck up at commercials but I don’t cry with genuine sadness at the images that used to reduce me to sobs. At least, not for a while. But, I am aware of my triggers and I actively work to acknowledge, but not let them run me. It’s hard sometimes, but oh so worth it. Because my energy is much better spent at being happy with those around me. And grateful we’re still all together.