Just to Let You Know

Yesterday morning arrived with the best attitude ever and a burst of energy that caught me by surprise. For a few hours I tackled one project after another: dusting, paperwork, tidying…I even opened the blinds to let the sunshine into this otherwise appropriately named “Man Cave” in which I spend most of my days.

I even sang a few bars of some old favorites! Oh to sing again!!  My heart soared!

And then it crashed.

The coughing began a little before noon and continued mercilessly for four hours, intensifying so much that I doubted whether I’d survive. That is, in spite of the ICD in my chest.

Weak and lifeless, I remained in my chair, thankful for its spiritual and physical comfort. Here I am eighteen hours later, still so weak that even tapping this out on my laptop will require a period of recuperation.

I’m not giving up; I’m just resting. And with an open, realistic mind I believe I’ll work on my Last Will and Testament a little more. It’s actually fun to think of giving away all these things I’ve collected over the course of 52 years.

Before I forget…I am profoundly grateful for the snowy view outside my door. Just between us, I wonder if it’s the last one I’ll see.


© Maria R. Conklin and Journey Of A Tired Heart, 2015-2016

And then there was…

…a good day!  Surprisingly, sleep would only stay with me for three hours last night.  This is not a good thing for a heart with DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy).  There are even theories that sleep apnea is a viable cause of DCM.  In spite of this fact gnawing at the back of my brain, I could not force myself back into sleep when I woke up at 3:30am.

I got up out of bed, thinking I would be able to have a nap this morning before driving into town to run a couple of errands.  That didn’t pan out either; no morning nap to make up for lost sleep.  What the heck?!  Giving up, I readied and steadied myself and hopped into the truck for the 40 minute drive to “town”.

The summer heat wasn’t a problem even though the truck windows were down and the elusive sleep monster must have stayed at home because my body and mind felt awake, and….stronger.

Dare I allow myself a sliver of hope?  Am I getting better?  Five weeks after the ICD implant, five months after the initial diagnosis, maybe…just maybe?!…I really am getting better!

The dry cleaner’s, the oil-change place, the electronic cigarette place, the bank, and a drive thru for a sandwich and diet soda to accompany me on the way home.  Walking was at a minimum, and manageable.  My mind ran an inventory of internal organs and external limbs and found no duress nor the typical exhaustion that would be expected.

Arrival at home, a few minutes of putting things away, and then to my chair for a well-deserved nap.  A nap that doesn’t come.

Why am I still so awake? My legs are starting to swell and breathing is getting a bit labored but no sleep yet.  My mind then begins to replay the events of the day.  Did caffeine sneak into play at some point when my eyes were looking the other way?  Did the body receive its medicine in a timely manner? Hmmm…I honestly had no idea, and it’s definitely perplexing.

It’s 10pm now and there has been no nap but plenty of resting on my laurels.  My ecigarette catches my attention and there is a sudden realization that the liquid I’ve been using for two days has twice as much nicotine as the 0mg-6mg liquid I typically use.  Maybe that’s it.  At this point it doesn’t matter.  I’d very much like to go to bed now but my son is still out with friends and I won’t rest well until I know he’s home safe.

So there it is.  I’m so exhausted at this moment that I’m miserable.  I’m hoping tomorrow morning will find me rested and ready to go, because I’m planning yet another trip to town.  Have to keep pushing the boundaries, you see, or I’ll never know the full extent of my capabilities.

Goodnight. May your sleep be peaceful and your dreams a soothing balm for your tired soul.


© Maria R. Conklin and Journey Of A Tired Heart, 2015-2016

Leaky Emotions?

My darling husband drove me into town for my annual check up with the eye doctor this morning. Yesterday he had to work from home so he could take me to visit the heart clinic to check the ICD implant wound and the ICD itself to make sure everything was in working order after the implant two weeks ago. It pains me to be so dependent on others, but that’s another post.

After the eye doc appointment this morning we went to my favorite store – Home Depot – to pick up two things. I walked from one front door to the other across the front of the store. Not a great distance.

Then a 20 minute rest while we ate cheeseburgers in the truck – thank goodness for drive throughs!

On to a small town type grocery store where I stubbornly hobbled along with my cane instead of using a motorized cart. Trying to get a little exercise here and there.

But by the time we got home and I collapsed into my recliner, leaned back and closed my eyes, it was too late. I was beyond exhausted. I could barely speak and the pressure-pain in my chest was worrisome.

Is exhaustion an emotion? I don’t think so, but is there a state of being more intense than exhaustion? I can’t think of an appropriate word to describe it, but it’s the state of physical exhaustion to the degree of leaky emotions. You know what I mean: when your eyes are tightly closed and you finally fully exhale, relaxing every muscle in your body and a warm teardrop slides down your cheek. Then another, and another. Just a few though – and it cannot even be defined as crying.

It’s not crying. It’s all that determination and courage you had to employ to get through the past four hours – at least what is left of them anyway. You let them flow, take in a deep breath and then let it out slowly. Just as quickly as they began, they end. No more tears. Just a sweet, wonderful, lifeless kind of surrender that can only be understood by those who have walked the tightrope between life and death.


© Maria R. Conklin and Journey Of A Tired Heart, 2015-2016

Progress, By Another Name

“You’re making progress.”

Am I?  The very word would imply a marked improvement of circumstance or situation, wouldn’t it?  Progress measured in leaps and bounds.  Progress worthy of a teacher’s gold star.  Progress of a civilization changing its culture across millions of acres, hundreds of thousands of lives.  Progress that can really be seen.  Detectable progress.

Since the implant surgery one week ago today (AICD: Automatic Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) I’ve not felt like doing much other than sit in my trusty recliner and watch television.  Even balancing the checkbook has been too monumental a task.  Not so much for the lack of physical energy, but more so for the lack of ambition.  Maybe the dread of seeing how the loss of my income has strained our lives so much.

Today my husband drove me into town for a nice dinner date.  He’s so good to me, but that’s a post for another day.  At the restaurant of course I had to hobble in with my cane, and he kindly let me out and picked me back up at the front door to minimize my steps.  As we were leaving he asked if there was anywhere else I would like to go.

“Yes,” I said, my voice weak from conversation over dinner.  “I’d love to shopping, but I’m just too tired.”

He sensed my unspoken lament and said, “We’ll get there Baby.”

“Will we?” I asked.

He went on to explain how I’m already better.  How I’ve already made progress.  I suspected he was either exaggerating, trying to soothe my aching heart, or he’s just not been paying attention.  Then he lined it out for me: “Today, for example.  You took a shower, then you put your makeup on, then you even helped me gather the recyclables together. Then boom…we got right into the truck and came to town.  Just a few weeks ago the shower alone would have exhausted you and required two hours of recuperation in your chair.”

Well I’ll be.  He’s right.  Amazing!  I am making progress, and praise be to God it may not be in leaps and bounds, but in my mind and in my tired, oversized heart, it’s blessed, beautiful progress.


© Maria R. Conklin and Journey Of A Tired Heart, 2015-2016