Sometime during my stay in recovery following the open-heart surgery, I was given a red pillow, a red heart=shaped pillow embossed with a graphic of a real heart, veins, valves and all, on one side and the "IU Health" logo and "Methodist Hospital" on the other. This, I was told, could be clutched to my chest to ease pain particularly when coughing or when attempting any sort of motion.
I soon found I was pleased, nay thrilled, to have the thing.
Nine years ago at the age of 44 Delbert, the elder of my sons had a heart attack culminating in a quintuple by-pass open-heart surgery. He visited me in hospital while I was still in ICU. Noting my pillow, he told me, "That will become your best friend."
He was right. Today marks one month since the surgery and I have slept with that pillow clutched to my chest every night in the interim. It got a "break" from cuddling me but once and that about three in the morning a couple weeks ago when I inadvertently knocked it to the floor. I could not get up to retrieve it and I was uncomfortable with the idea of pushing the call-button to ask for someone to pick up a pillow. So I bemoaned its absence for about two hours. Help arrived, and I have cherished Pillow carefully since then.
Then. Then after I was discharged from hospital and sent to rehab I received a call from my younger son, Ken, who told me that while I was in hospital he had had a heart attack at work, was helicoptered from the remote site of the occurrence to Lexington where the cardiologists were able to work their magic via placement of stents in his heart. He had advised my spouse, my sister and his siblings but inveigled them to vow that they should not tell me, because he did not want me to worry about it while I was in my circumstances. He called and told me after I was in the nursing home, and his co-conspirators had kept their word. Kenneth was on his feet and back to work in a matter of days.