Missing Pieces

“There are no extra pieces in the universe. Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill, and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle.” ~ Deepak Chopra

Continued from Body Language

I was running errands one afternoon in the late fall of 2003, not long after I started driving again. It was an unremarkable day. I was alone, driving a road that I had been on a thousand times. Suddenly and without any warning, I felt a ‘pop’ in my neck, as if a small bubble had expired and dissipated and then a warm sensation moved from my neck up the back and then over the top of my head and settled on my face. I felt it spread like chocolate frosting on a warm cake. “What the hell…?” I probably said out loud – definitely thinking it. Quickly I assessed my body and something felt ‘not right’. I pulled into the parking lot of a nearby shopping center and sat there for a minute. I felt weird, the warm feeling seemed to be moving and thinning. I got out of the car and walked around a drug store for a minute, thinking that moving may be helpful but I couldn’t shake the sense of dread that had begun to creep into my thoughts. I thought something must be wrong with my heart. I was scared.

I knew there was a walk-in medical place on the other side of the plaza and so I walked there, trying to convince myself that if I was walking, then I was ok but I felt light headed and my vision was trying to blur. With each symptom that manifested, my fear grew; what I knew for sure is that I was experiencing was not normal. I made it through the door and told the nurse that I needed to see a doctor. It didn’t take long for her to express empathy but also to explain that if I wasn’t already a patient, they couldn’t take me. I think it was more of a ‘clinic’ – she’d be happy to call an ambulance if I felt it was an emergency. By then, I had called Hubby and knew he was on his way but I was a wreck; shaking, crying, hyperventilating. A nurse was taking my blood pressure when Hubby walked in and reported the result directly to him. The next thing I knew we were in his vehicle and he was driving like a maniac to the Hospital. I believed I was dying. I recall crying and saying something like “hurry, please don’t let me die” repeatedly as he blew the horn and swerved from lane to lane. I remember looking at the floorboards just to keep my eyes open because when I tried to look outside the moving car, it was nauseating.

We arrived at the emergency room with a furor of activity – as would be expected and I was placed in a wheelchair where I was required to wait until medical information could be collected. It was a busy, major medical center and apparently, my vitals were not indicative of a severe problem because I sat, and sat, and sat. I was sent for a CAT scan, spoke to two or three doctors, and after several hours – signing forms that allowed me to go home with a referral to see my family doctor. The longer I had waited to be seen, the better I got. I felt fine – just very confused and questioning what the hell had just happened. Hubby was generally good during these situations and took me home to rest.

I saw my family doctor, a heart doctor, an ear, nose, and throat doctor. I had several tests to rule out ear problems, heart valve issues, and blood clots. Week after week went by as I saw another doctor and had another test. The cardiologist had me wear a wristband that would record my heart rate whenever it went wonky. I would have to ‘record’ my pulse as it escalated and then send the information over a land line that would in some way communicate to the doctor. I wore the band for a month and during that time, I recorded and sent information at least two times – often three times – a week.

The holidays were – as they are for most of us – always a busy and stressful time of year. I often felt sad that we got so wrapped up (no pun intended) in the details of the Christmas season that it robbed the joy and spirit from the days. We were relatively restrained from a gift giving standpoint – our children, being no better than baby Jesus, only received three gifts each from Santa – but baking, card sending, party going, decorating, and extended family exchanges kept the calendar quite full. We invited Mom and Abee to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with us so they could experience the morning with the kids. Christmas is always better when there are wide-eyed children trying to decide how Santa really got in the house overnight.

Business was good and so money wasn’t tight for the first time in our marriage. Consequently, I was spoiled and spoiled good this year. Hubby surprised me with amazing diamond earrings that were so big I was almost embarrassed to wear them. I figured no one would believe they were real, they were that big. In addition, I received a beautiful watch, also with diamonds and I knew the jeweler where he had purchased it – it was extremely high quality. It was the first watch I’d ever had that wasn’t a Timex or something I picked up at Kmart. I had given him the best digital camera I could afford. They were just becoming affordable for the average person and so I went for the most megapixels that were available in my price range. It couldn’t come close to comparing to the gifts I received but he was appreciative.

I couldn’t help but notice that Abee was ‘off’ that day. I recall commenting to mom that she seemed sad and I wondered if she was regretful about breaking off her engagement. It can be hard seeing a family when your dreams of one recently vanished. If I hadn’t known her so well, I might not have seen it – perhaps I even imagined it – but I remember feeling worried about her. When she ended things and took off her ring, I loaned her a sapphire and diamond ring that Hubby had gotten for me in the past. I remember Hubby being upset with me at the time but I thought I was doing something nice for my sister who was hurting. She was still wearing it and I knew I had to ask for it to be returned but a good time to do that never seemed to present itself.

The joy of gifts and the pleasantry of the season seemed to be short-lived in my relationship.  It wasn’t long before bickering and unrest became prevalent once again. The ‘something’ that I had been sensing for months now, hadn’t been identified but it was still there. The new year was off to a rocky start with more denials that anything was wrong. I was starting to think that I was crazy. No matter what I asked about or what I thought I saw, felt, sensed… it was rebuked and denied. In conversations with everyone who would listen, I tried to decipher the puzzle pieces that seemed to be constantly turning over. Nothing made sense…



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