Monday, September 10, 2012

Air Supply

Last week, on the top of my grateful list was our new air compressor.  

Complete with a nail gun.  That makes a 'CaWoosh!' every time you blast a nail through a baseboard into our wall.

Anthony got it to put up the new baseboards in our house.

We have a list of projects going right now because we grew a wild hair a few weeks ago and decided to try and sell our house.

Everything is still shoved in the middle of each room for the new wall color that just went on.  Carpet is ripped up in certain areas so that I had better access to painting trim.  The garage is full of drying white doors.

I promise that I will fill you in more about the house chaos soon.

But, let's get back to the air.

Last Thursday, Anthony, the Mr. to my Schatze, went to the doctor after a night of mild chest pain and weirdness.  Then he went to a work meeting before heading off to get some chest X-rays.

He was home from the X-rays for about 10 minutes before they called him back.
Me: Was that the Dr?
Mr.: <No answer>
Me: What did they say?!
Mr: <Walks over and picks up Roldy>
Me: <thinking: you don't make it a point to go pick up the super cute dog unless some shit is about to go down.>

Mr: It was the X-ray place. They said that I need to come and pick up the results right away and go straight to the emergency room.
That is when I forgot how the whole air thing worked.  I started doing the shallow breathing that you do when you are trying to stifle tears.

I drove him to the X-rays and then the emergency room.  On the way I switched it to his station, suddenly feeling bad for making him listen to so much Pitbull and Nicki Minaj in the past because I wanted it on my station.

Our 'planned' future started flashing before my eyes and my breaths became shorter.  New much on our to-do list.

When we got to the emergency room we learned of the partially collapsed right lung and he was immediately given an oxygen tank and a giant wheel chair.  We waited with the older crowd in the emergency room and I started to lose it.  Bawling and apologizing for it.

I pulled myself together again for a few seconds, but lost it again when Anthony leaned over, rubbed my leg, and asked 'Are you doing OK?'  My husband with a collapsed lung was comforting me.  Talk about feeling like a tool.  I cried some more.  Still failing at a good deep breath.

I mentally scolded myself about not being strong and almost had it together.  Until, that is, we had to walk back to our little curtained section of the emergency room.  I quickly realized that the elderly and visibly-in-poor-health crowd in the ER were mainly focused on Anthony.
Chatty Old Man that I heard talking about the 1930's:  You are too young and fit to be here! 
Heavy-set man being wheeled past us in the hallway: <reaching across and touching Anthony's arm> Good luck my friend.  You are going to be OK.
I lost it again.

The Dr. showed us the X-ray depicting Anthony's deep breath and pointed out how the right lung wasn't fully filling the chest.

Dr: The lung is about 60% collapsed.
Me: Excuse me. Six, Zero?
Dr: Six. Zero.
Dr: <to Anthony> Did they give you something for the pain.
Anthony: They offered, but I don't really need it. It just feels weird.
Me: <screaming in my head: Take the damn morphine!>
Somewhere around this point I learned that I was wasting my time trying to 'man up'.  Realized that it was going to be our friends and loved ones that would be MY oxygen tank.

Loving texts from my mom and sisters poured in, and my sister Lorri talked me through calling Anthony's parents calmly.  I tried to pass it off onto Anthony saying that they would feel better hearing his voice.  Yes, I knowingly pushed my one-lungish husband to talk on the phone:

Mr: <holding the phone I just handed him, breathing through the oxygen mask> The nurse is coming back in a second.  I am waiting to die.
Me:  What?!  That shit is not funny! I am in no condition for your bullshit jokes!
Mr:  I said that I am waiting to DIAL.
I ended up making the call and quickly felt surrounded in love.  I felt my family's love from afar, my in-laws love in each hard squeeze and Jen's love as she somehow took care of all the things I needed taken care that I didn't even know about.

We even learned to breathe a little deeper from the crazy arrested guy shouting in the curtained off room across from us.  F-bombs, farts, inappropriate comments.  He was the whole package. And Anthony and I shared a nice little moment together enjoying the shit storm. I am pretty sure they eventually sedated him.

Before even leaving the ER, Anthony had a hole in his side with a tube shoved in to suction out the air and keep his right lung inflated.

He took the pain killers then.

The chest tube stayed in for 3 more days.  3 more days in the hospital.  With Anthony left wondering how a collapsed lung can be just a mild ache, but the process to fix it can be excruciating.

Me left wondering why I have notoriously impeded people from supporting me because I didn't want to inconvenience them or be a burden.  Not realizing how great it feels to call someone at 1 AM just to cry on the phone knowing full well that I woke them up. Most of us want to help each other. I do.  It all felt so good.  All the calls, visitors, texts with friends to help pass the time.

Oh, and just so you know, I had to ease into this acceptance thing.

Anthony's Mom:  Can we bring dinner over to the house for when you two get home from the hospital?
Me: Oh, you don't have to that. Thanks though, that's so nice.

WTF, is right. I realized the error of my ways about 2 hours later and asked if I could change my mind.  I was happy to have something not rotten in the fridge and she was excitedly meal planning.  I can't believe I just about missed the boat on that one.  I'm crazy.

But, I really do love giving.  So, when I went home that first night thinking that I would sleep better there for a few hours (wrong) I laid awake thinking about what I could give my husband.  I wanted it to be something that showed that I love more than he will ever know, something that would hopefully make him smile, something that might make him forget that he married a woman that can't keep her shit together in an emergency situation.

I pulled out a glass dollar store jar from the cupboard and decided that night that I was going to give him a breath of fresh air, or rather, a jar of it.  Initially I was going to fill it with a list of things that I could do that might be a breath of fresh air for him. But, the more I thought about it, at 3 AM that first morning, I decided it needed to be empty of craft clutter and just full of air.  That way, I can see it and evaluate at that moment what is most important.

 Sometimes it will be:

I am going to stop being ridiculously uptight about how he installs the baseboards.
I am going to leave the Real Housewives for a time that he is not home so he doesn't throw up a little.
I am going to actually try and remember to take out the garbage and recyclables. Not just say I will.

Other days it might be:

I am going to be honest about how I am feeling before I let it build and flip out over something not related.

What I am most excited about in the next few weeks is:

Hey Mr. Schatze, I just finished reading the instruction manual for the air compressor and nail gun! After I put on some closed toe work shoes and my safety goggles, will you go over the proper operations with me?

Air Supply: Making Love Out of Nothing At All

Oh, and this is what it was if you are curious: Spontaneous Pneumothorax.  And he is recovering splendidly at home.


  1. I seriously had tears in my eyes as I was reading this... how scary for you all! So glad he is recovering well! You have such a way with words - "CaWoosh!" nail gun noises - painting the picture and bringing in your full emotions with a dash of humor here and there... you've got it all and I just wanted to let you know today how much I love you and appreciate you! Thanks for sharing your heart with us! PS. you're selling your house!? I want more details - I'll call you soon! :)

    1. Thanks so much Jana! You totally made my day! I look forward to your call so we can catch up. Love you too my friend!

  2. Thanks for the lesson on life and love and "helping"! I love you and my Super-Brave-(although one should NEVER turn down pain meds!)-Oldest-Child-Wonder-Twin soooo much!!

    1. We love you too!! Wonder twin powers...UNITE!

  3. How scary.

    I'll be back on Friday, specifically to check up on Anthony.

  4. Hi, i was reading your posts picked by google search,
    ive just had that procedure done today it was scary as i never thought it was that serious, i only went to the GP thinking it was a pulled muscle than from there got sent for xray where they didn't let me leave. has your husband fully recovered and what can you do for it not to reoccur. i wish you and your husband luck and hope you never go through the same situation again.

    1. Thanks so much Didi! We hope that you are feeling well and your recovery is going smoothly. Yes, my husband is doing great now. For a while he still felt a little "off" like maybe it went down again or something wasn't right again, but after some time (and a few DR. trips to make sure) that went away too. He is back to working out and living like normal with no recurrences. Again, I hope everything is going well for you now, and I'm glad you made it to the GP before it got too serious. Take care and feel free to email me ( if you have any more questions and I'll send them on to Anthony. Sending our best and wishes for a speedy recovery, Heidi & Anthony