Before hubby’s heart, kidneys and liver all simultaneously shut down in July, necessitating our now infamous trip to the hospital and his subsequent battles to remain among the living, I’d love to say that there were no warning signs.
Oh, but there were.
Plenty of them in fact.
However – each of them mimicked other things, some not so serious that we’d been dealing with for years. Others impersonated other symptoms of serious, yet manageable, conditions that we’d been coping with and, for the most part, successfully handling.
Even my much vaunted “woman’s intuition”, when it did kick in with “hey… something ain’t right here” was assuaged by trip after trip after trip to primary care docs and specialists.
Shortness of breath and coughing? Fluid in his lungs – from the pneumonia that he contracts twice a year like clockwork (and it WAS that time of year).
Lousy appetite? Standard procedure with pneumonia. And, besides, he’s had a lousy stomach for decades.
High creatinine levels? Dehydrated, ate too much protein. Adjust the diet (again).
Even the ascites they found in his CAT scan to confirm the pneumonia diagnosis were almost an afterthought and were explained away as tiny pockets, and probably transitory. A scant week later, they had morphed into lakes from tiny puddles.
He’d even had a appointment with his cardiologist previously scheduled for the day he woke up in the cardiology ICU ward from the night in the ER.
Who knew that three major organs were conspiring to attempt his murder? Certainly not his specialists and providers to whom we dutifully reported every symptom, every concern. And more certainly, not us.
See, the thing is – none of the symptoms presented to any of us as they truly were.
Not that I am trying to absolve myself of any guilt, mind you. 20/20 hindsight has provided me with more than enough of that.
Why didn’t I see it?
How could I be so blind?
I should have put the pieces together sooner.
Dammit – I. Should. Have. Known.
Now, I am left with the uncomfortable reality that forces me to transfer that wariness to everyone and everything else in our life.
The total complete trust I once had in even the most likeable providers is gone.
It’s been supplanted by “are you sure?” and “what about…?” and “why would you say that?”. Most of all, it’s been replaced by “I’d like more information” and “My research doesn’t jibe with what you’re telling me” and, supremely with “My gut instincts don’t like that answer”.
And as my suspicions have been roused about all things medical, they’ve gone on heightened alert about other facets of life as well.
Is that family friend who has suddenly become a little too chummy and inappropriately affectionate with an older family member *really* behaving that way out of concern? Or are there ulterior motives at work?
Why are we suddenly getting calls and messages on social media from long ago angrily estranged family members? Is it merely coincidence?
Is the sudden barrage of Tweets from Group “A” helpfully informational or are they only a cover to hide more nefarious deeds or intentions?
Is the sudden appearance of one story line or two endlessly repeated across all forms of media simply because it’s newsworthy, or is it a coordinated effort to shape public opinion?
Are the thought leaders that we’ve looked up to for years really “looking out for you” or are they most likely “looking out for themselves”?
What is someone saying or portraying themself to be that is mimicking other benevolent (or at least benign) people that we’ve admired, that we’ve trusted?
Are any of them truly presenting themselves to us as they truly are?
How many other warning signs have been out there that I (we) haven’t or won’t put 2 + 2 + 2 together on that are now lying in wait to bite us on our collective posteriors when we least expect it?
The worst part? I really, *really* don’t like feeling like this.
I want to be trusting.
I’m happier when I believe that everyone has good intentions.
My world is a nicer place when I can think that we’re all on the same team – that we all want essentially the same things.
My world has been changed because of this season of deception. Perhaps irretrievably so.
The comfortable days of “It’s going to be okay – they’ve got my back” are over.
The days of “go along to get along” are gone.
So, what am I tasked with now?
Bridging the divide I’ve set up. Someway, somehow, not becoming a curmudgeon who distrusts everyone and yet maintaining healthy skepticism.
Why didn’t we see it?
How could we be so blind?
We should have put the pieces together sooner.
Dammit – We. Should. Have. Known.