LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
On Monday, William will have a test that will show how his heart has recovered and we’ll know once and for all where we stand. Interestingly, that will happen after 9 and a half months — a perfect pregnancy — of time. He’s had other critical tests this past year that have shown big leaps of improvement. If this one does too, we can close this chapter. If it doesn’t, we’re not sure where we’ll stand, but it’s not going to be in a great place.
Thinking about the test, I want so badly to skip into the future I find myself feeling like I may pop out of my skin and climb the walls and scream. So right now, I’m listening to yoga radio on Pandora and drinking chamomile tea, hoping the calm will seep into me like osmosis.
Over the past nine months, I’ve learned a lot. First and foremost, I’ve learned what an incredible person I married. I thought I knew this, but it turns out you don’t know someone all the way until they get sick. Through it all, he’s never complained. He’s never asked why this happened to him. He’s never told me he feels bad. He’s talked me down from panic with steely patience. He studied about his illness and by the time he had his second echocardiogram, he could practically read the study himself. He’s strong. By god, is he strong.
While I was strong in the beginning, the past months have whittled me down. When William went back into atrial fibrillation in May — something I haven’t talked about before and something we expect will happen again — my strength left me. I sunk into a depression and I had little way of climbing out because it had never happened to me before. I couldn’t sleep or eat. I couldn’t even lie in the bed with my husband because my anxiety would get so intense I would start obsessively counting his breaths. I have never been obsessive before. But this past summer, I was.