“Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans”

 

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Abstract heart (water color on paper; June 2018)

 

“Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.”

This quote by John Lennon is one of my favorites because it is so very true. And yet, we, or at least I, often tend to forget this simple fact.

But when something unexpected happens it´s this quote that surfaces from the back of my mind and makes me realize that no matter how carefully I try to plan everything, in the end I don’t have the slightest bit of control of what I call my life.

About two weeks ago, in the middle of the night, my mum called me, telling me that she was in hospital because of her heart. When I arrived about 45 minutes after that call in the ER I insisted on seeing her although new rules had been applied since the last time I was there and that said that relatives had to stay clear of this particular area.

I was granted 5 minutes by a grumpy nurse. I was determined to stay at my mum´s side no matter what, they would have to move me by force. But in the end that wasn’t necessary – an accident that came in took hold of that nurse´s attention and by the time she noticed me still sitting at my mum´s side, it was about an hour later, and really, what harm could I do? So she – intentionally? – overlooked me.

My mum was attached to an ECG monitor while we waited for the doctor and it showed that she suffered from tachycardia. Every five minutes or so the alarm went off, indicating that her heart was beating too fast, upsetting both of us.

When finally the doctor showed up, a very competent and calm woman who radiated exactly what my mum and I needed in that situation, she explained to both of us what was happening and what she was going to do to counteract her symptoms.

She decided that it would be best when my mum would stay at the hospital overnight and so I went back home at dawn, intending to grab a few hours of sleep before visiting my mum again in the hospital.

In the end she stayed 3 nights because the doctors decided that she needed a catheter ablation, a procedure where certain areas around the heart are treated with either heat or icing to stop them from passing on the wrong electrical signals that make the heart beat faster and/or irregular.

During all that time I was very scared, not least because my mum was so incredibly tired that she didn´t even really register my visits.

When she was back home I took care of her, making sure she wasn´t lifting heavy objects or go to shop groceries. All that time I noticed that my mind was kind of hanging in a limbo. I couldn´t read, I couldn’t paint, I couldn’t blog. Nothing really seemed to matter apart from me being near my mum and keeping an eye on things.

When I finally did pick up a brush again about a week and a half later, I knew I was getting over the shock.

So far my mum hasn’t had any new episodes of tachycardia and everything seems to be good. There´s a follow up treatment planned in about a month, and she´s receiving medication. She´s still tired but her old self again.

And I´m starting to make new plans although I have once again been reminded of the pointlessness of doing so.

But then what else can we do to ward off the chaos and keep it at bay?

 

 

100 thoughts on ““Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans”

  1. I feel really bad that I’ve missed so many of your posts. I’m glad you’d let me know about your mum; otherwise you’d really be thinking what a useless friend I am.
    The John Lennon quote is very close to my heart too, and I think the simplicity and clarity of your painting says it all.
    xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don´t you dare feel bad about that! I mean it, missing posts happens to all of us all the time. And I never would think such a thing of you!! Ever! 🙂 ❤
      And it´s wonderful to know that you also love that quote, it´s one of the earliest I remember and its truth has stayed with me ever since unlike so many others that I find wonderful too but then somehow they manage to slip my mind or I have to write them down.
      xxxxxxxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Doctors tend to be wary of patient’s relatives because some can react badly under the emotional stress and cause additional problems for the nursing staff and the patient. They, and the Nurses, react positively to a calm and knowledgeable response from the relative. As a trained telephone engineer I am calm at times of ‘workplace’ stress and it carries forwards into situations involving family illness. It sounds like you handled the situation well and that the nurse assessed you out of the corner of her eye 😉 I’m glad your Mum’s issue is resolved positively 🙂

    ps – if you’re wondering how I know about how Doc’s and Nurses react – my Wife has had open heart surgery twice in the twenty-odd years we’ve been married and they’ve always wound up trusting me to keep an eye on the drips and Heartbeat monitors 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for your comment!
      I´m sure there are lots of people causing extra stress for nurses and doctors, maybe even their relatives they´re worried about and that it makes sense to steer these people away from the ER unit. That said I think they would equally bring stress to those in the waiting area that are trying to wait calmly. maybe there has to be found a new way how to handle these people – but alas! I guess that would mean more money and there´s never enough for that, is there? 😉
      Anyway, I´m glad they let me stay with my mum, especially since it seemed to calm her (and me) and I also took care of rehooking her to the monitor every time we came back from the loo. 😉
      And I´m so sorry your wife had to go through open heart surgery – that´s must have been such a difficult time for both of you. And I´m glad they also let you take what little care we can provide in these situations of her.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sarah, first I’m sending you and your mom the warmest hugs! I’m relieved to hear that she is feeling better now and I completely understand how anxious you must have been in the hospital and after. But, you are so brave, managing this unexpected situation with so much calm composure..kudos!
    I hope and pray that your mom recovers completely
    love and many hugs to both of you:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your wonderful words of encouragement, your prayers and hugs, dear Divya! It´s been three weeks now and I´m slowly settling back into my day-to-day life.
      Wishing you an amazingly beautiful Sunday and a wonderful creative new week, dear friend! Much love and many hugs! xoxo ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so happy to hear that your mum is on the mend, I can imagine how you must have felt, my own mum is suffering from pain in her hip and back, so she can’t do all the things she’s used to, she hates it, but I hate seeing her like that.. Planning is a good thing to do to keep you moving along in life, but I agree things happen that make them pointless. Best Wishes to you and your mum Sarah.. Much love xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Gill! And I´m so sorry to hear that your mum is suffering from back and hip pain. My mum has those too occasionally and so I know how that can slow a person down. It´s a bit frightening to see our parents becoming frailer with age, isn’t it? And also makes one realize that nothing should be taken for granted…
      Wishing you a beautiful Sunday and a creative new week ahead, dear friend! Much love! xxxx 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m glad your mum is doing better. As stressful as it was, Sarah, you’re being there sounds like it was good for both of you. I think people need their loved ones close by when things aren’t going well. And that nurse sounds like she knew what was best despite the rules. That or she really didn’t feel like dragging you out! Wishing your mum the very best. Hugs ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m so sorry to read this about your mom, Sarah, but I’m glad you were able to be with her and that she’s doing better. Life brings challenges and watching a loved one suffer is almost too hard to bear. She is so lucky to have you as her daughter. I hope as each day passes, she becomes stronger. I love your water color heart, also. I collect hearts in jewelry form. I guess it’s just the love portrayed that appeals to me. Take care and I’ll keep you both in prayer and positive thoughts. Sending hugs and lots of love, too. ❤❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much for your lovely words dear Lauren and for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers! 😍
      My mum also collects hearts especially those she can find in nature like in a special formed stone on the beach. Like you it’s the love portrayed in these hearts that appeal to her the most. 😊
      Hope you and your loved ones are well and enjoy a beautiful summer! I wonder how your little finch family is doing? Today I had a lovely visit from a baby titmouse! The feathers were all ruffled up and mommy (or daddy) was with it and looked very sophisticated in her well cared for feathers. 😉 Sending lots of love and huge hugs back to you my friend! xoxo ❤❤❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome, Sarah, and I love how your mom collects hearts, too, and of course, for the same reason. I have some good jewelry, gold, and precious stones, but as I’ve gotten older, silver became my favorite, along with different types of stones and colors, as well. I wear a sapphire/diamond ring in white gold for my wedding ring now. It’s funny how my taste has changed. My right hand rings change often, though, depending on what I wear. I know, crazy! Anyway, no songs from the babies yet, but can’t wait. I’m sure your titmouse was adorable, too. Hope your day is a good one without ruffles, smooth sailing. 🙂 Much love and big hugs to you again. 💗🌼🌷

        Liked by 1 person

      • That sapphire/diamond ring sounds beautiful! One of my favourite combinations in precious jewellery. I’m also very fond of silver but had lots of gold chains and bracelets as a kid because my dad as an Egyptian typically preferred that. 😉
        When it comes to rings and earrings I always try to combine them with the fitting outfit and season. Amber with silver for example I like in winter but not in summer where I tend to wear coral or turquoises with silver. 😄 I have a guess we both could have a lovely time drinking tea together and chat about our jewellery! 😄
        Hope the baby finches will soon break out in song! ☺
        Much, much love! 😊💕🌹

        Liked by 1 person

      • I do the same with rings and earrings, and I think we would have a wonderful time chatting about jewelry and enjoying tea! As to the babies, they’re gone! We noticed yesterday, so that was faster then we expected and I’ll post an update. We were hoping to see them fly. Oh well! It was fun while it lasted. Much love and Happy Friday, Sarah! ❤️🐣🐥

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh no! Well, at least it´s lovely to know that the parents did a great job bringing them up and letting their kids stretch their wings and enjoy riding the winds! 🙂
        Have a beautiful Sunday, dear Lauren! xoxo ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  7. So sorry to read this my friend, and I had noticed you were missing for a while. Hope your mum is feeling much better and I am sending you hugs!

    Keep making plans Sarah. Resigning yourself to their pointlessness is a symptom of depression. Yes, sometimes plans get disrupted but not always.

    Hugs, Darren x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and the hugs, Darren – they are very welcome indeed! And don’t worry, I keep an eye out for those depressions and don’t think this is one. Just a bit shocked by recent events. My plans might be simmering in the back of my head for the moment but they’re still there. 😉
      Hugs back! x

      Like

  8. So scary, Sarah. Good thing you could be with her for a while. John Lennon was right. When that “life” happens, everything else goes away. I’m so glad she’s better. Best to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m so sorry about your mother, Sarah! I can’t imagine how hard that must have been, and am glad that she is at home where you can care for her. I hope the treatments worked and that she will not have any more episodes.
    I’d noticed your absence from the blogging world, but didn’t realize the reasons. I’m so glad you’re back to painting…as you say, even our best-laid plans can be disrupted at any moment, but all we can do is live our lives and then deal with crises as they arise. And it sounds as if you dealt with this one very well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Ann! It really was quite scary but I’m grateful that she was looked after so well at the hospital. My mum’s still tired of course and it will take some time for the heart to get accustomed to the little changes that have been made but that’s all rather normal we’ve been told.
      I tell myself that these interruptions in life are sometimes for the better, they make us appreciated everything we are blessed with even more.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your lovely words, thoughts and prayers, Iris! They are very much appreciated and I’m sending huge hugs and lots of love back to you my friend!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Darling Sarah, how I wish I had known. I would have sent you and your wonderful beautiful mum such strong healing thoughts, such hugs through the ether. I am so grateful that she is on the mend and that she had you by her side. Sometimes life means we must shut everything else out for a while. Now she is a little stronger she will want you to concentrate on you – she loves you with every grain of her and she wants you to be you, just you. You are a wonderful daughter to her. I am glad you have one another and I am so sorry you had this very very frightening episode. Go gently, dear girl, go gently dear mummy and I will be thinking the strongest of strong thoughts across the ocean xxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Kelly! It really was scary but all seems well now. There’s going to be a follow up treatment in about a month to check if everything is as it should be.
      Have a lovely day friend! 😄

      Like

  11. Always so scary when a close Beautiful Soul is in pain, or very ill, or has to go through a similar ordeal like your mother. Glad she is feeling her old self again, the tiredness I’m sure will improve too, once her body had time to strengthen again.
    Never stop making plans dear Sarah. Adjust when necessary, like you did when this happened, but keep dreaming big. Ask your mother, I am sure she would agree 😉
    Enormous hug on its virtual way to you and your family. XxX

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you soooo much for your beautiful words dear Patty! I think too that all she needs is a bit of rest to allow her body and mind to recuperate from that ordeal.
      And I promise to keep dreaming big! 😄 Hugging you right back! P.s. how are you and your teeth doing??

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Sarah, I’m so very sorry to read about your mom’s bout with heart issues. Scary, but she’s very lucky you remained at her side. I hope she’s feeling better and looking at her options for improving her health.

    As for you: please do not feel there is no point. There IS a point, even if it just means putting one foot before the other. You don’t have to make elaborate long term plans. Your lovely heart painting is perfect. Paint 100 a day, paint stars, paint trees, flowers, butterflies. Put them under your pillow at night to remind you to bring them to your mom the next morning. What better plan could you make?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, Shari! Thank you! Thank you so much for all your wonderful words of encouragement and for your wisdom, they warm me better than any blanket!
      My mum’s better though she tires faster now and needs to get accustomed to that as she usually is a very active person.

      I’m still a bit in alert mode I guess and have to keep myself from asking her every hour how she is. 😉 I know that would only make her think too much of it and that wouldn’t be a good thing I feel.
      And you are so sweet about encouraging me to paint and bring those paintings my mum – it’s exactly what I’m doing now and she has a little collection of tree paintings populated with squirrels. 😄 That’s all the plan I need for now. That and friends like you! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  13. My brother has had several ablations and they have been quite helpful. I’ve been where you are with my own mother and understand exactly. I think they change those rules because so many family member are disruptive to the process that it’s easier to get things done if they are not there causing difficulty. I’m with you, I would have nailed my shoes to the ground in order to stay with my mother. It’s quite the wake up call but there are things they can do now to help her. Glad you were able to be there for her and are starting to breathe fully again. I’ll keep you both in my thoughts and prayers. Your heart is a lovely symbol of the love you have for your mother.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your lovely words of encouragement, your prayers and understanding, Marlene! And I’m so glad your brother felt better after the ablations. I’m so thankful that there are treatments nowadays that can help with these things. My mum keeps thinking that this would have helped her mum too but back then it wasn’t heard of or even invented I think.
      Wish you a wonderfilled week ahead dear friend! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I can relate Sarah. Same thing happened to my own Mother. Then both my brother and I developed arrhythmias – he had two ablations and is now fine. I ended up with my mother’s path and have a pace-maker. All three incidences were very scary.
    I so hope your Mother continues to do well. (There’s a great blog on heart disease called My Heart Sisters by Carolyn Thomas. She writes from a patient’s perspective and has current information and research.)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much for your lovely comment! It’s a relief to know that you and your family are feeling better after the various treatments. A friend of mine told me her mother also had to have a pacemaker and lived over 30 years well afterwards. It’s amazing what possibilities modern medicine has to offer, isn’t it?

      And thank you for that blog tip, I’ll make sure to follow it!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  15. So sorry you had to go through this, Sarah. You know better then anyone how much I can relate to what you have experienced and the challenges still ahead for you and your Mom. I’m thinking of you my friend. Sending you a big hug. xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wouldn’t that be great if garlic would help in this case? I would definitely wear it then! Maybe fashion some nice necklaces out of the single cloves. 😂
      Thank you for cheering me up, Chris! Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

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