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It all started with Bob’s annual heart checkup. The doctor looked him over. “Everything sounds good, but it’s been three years since your last stress test. I’d like to have you take one just to make sure.”

Well, Bob took his stress test. The following day they called. The person said something showed up on the test and that he’d need heart catheterization and maybe a stent. This would be done as an outpatient at the hospital. Bob was expected to go home the same day — no biggie according to them.

Of course, we weren’t thrilled with this finding but still tried to look at it in a positive way. After all, Bob didn’t have a heart attack. The doctor couldn’t hear anything wrong. We figured we were catching the problem early, unlike the time he failed his stress test 13 years ago and ended up with emergency open heart surgery and six bypasses.

There was no rush getting in for Bob’s heart procedure. It was set for a week away. Of course, that gave us time to think and worry.

The hospital said Bob couldn’t drive himself home after the heart catheterization, but he could be dropped off, and they would call when it was time to pick him up. Like I was going to leave him there alone — fat chance for that happening.

I was in for the long haul, and our daughter, Rebecca, volunteered to camp out at the hospital with me. Our other children volunteered, too, but I thought one was enough. After all, this wasn’t emergency surgery.

At 10:30, we arrived for the start of a very long day. Bob was prepped and joked with the nursing staff. The atmosphere was relaxed. They do this procedure every day; we don’t.

Rebecca was updating her siblings with text messages. At 12:30, she reported to them that their dad had been taking off to the cath lab. Only thing for us to do was wait … and have lunch.

We brought our soup and salad up to the sunroom on the third floor. There I plugged in my laptop and putzed with a column collection I was turning into large print. That didn’t work out too well for me. My mind wasn’t on the work. I reverted to an old standby: time-killer Solitaire.

We heard news about 1:30 that things were going well.

After 3, we joined Bob back in his room. Everything was over. He ended up with three stents. They said he was good as new; just take it easy for the next ten days like the doctor told you to do last week.

I sat up. “Take it easy like the doctor told you last week?” That was the first I heard that instruction, which had apparently come to Bob via a phone conversation. He had totally ignored the doctor’s directions. Oh that man of mine.

Bob wasn’t happy, though. He had to lay flat on his back for a number of hours, and this made him very uncomfortable.

By 6, he was up eating supper. By 7, he could walk around the room. Before 8, we were on our way home. Yay!

No lifting anything above 10 pounds for the next week and no back-and-forth movement, such as vacuuming, for the next ten days. This time I was there to hear all the instructions. Bob wasn’t going anywhere with our cart that would get us stuck again. He also was ordered to have a heart-healthy diet. Bob groaned when they eliminated cheese from his diet.

At home, Bob walked to his recliner, kicked up his feet and fell asleep. Not wanting to leave his side, I went to my chair and did the same thing, and that’s how we spent our night.

Things are almost back to normal. Bob has a few appointments with doctors to check on his progress, but he’s doing great. Thank the Lord and the doctors.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; Sunnybook@aol.com

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