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I posted a diary last night about my husband The Packhorse's heart attack. Moist of the comments were kind and supportive and are appreciated  deeply.  I cried in a good way over the, A few of you felt called upon to tell me I sounded hysterical and out of control and proceeded to tell me how I must be nice with the doctors and to not worry about the religious issues.  You know you were. While I know you meant well, you are NOT me, and I suspect most of you have never been in this situation.

Thirty years ago in April I lost my first husband.   He died from heart issues--cardiac tamponade being the cause of death. He was to all appearances a healthy 29-year-old who had spent the previous day fencing with his sparring partner (the Brooklyn kids were hooting and laughing till they realized those were real swords and that the "Zorro Guys" knew precisely they were doing, and settled down to watch) with no problem. The next day he was dead.  He had an undiagnosed heart issue possiblybrelated to rheumatic fever he'd suffered as a child (to give you an idea of what he looked like, think Kyle McLachlan in Dune or Tom Mison on Sleepy Hollow--not an ounce of fat on him).  He;d been on the fencing, soccer and lacrosse teams, had 3 black belts and 2 browns in various martial arts, including studying  kebdo,, had had a stress test he passed--and he died.  ANd it will be exactly 30 years ago in April.  

SOme people also have not experienced the joys of being a very minority religion in an area that is almost hysterically Christian Fundamentalist.  This is the home of Bobby Franklin and Terry England--google them; Bobby died but was considered nuts even by local standards and Terry, my rep in the legislature is against abortion after 20 weeks even after a miscarriage when standard medical practice usually indicates a D&C, because his cows don't sweat a stillbirth. Gainesville GA is VERY rightwing fundamentalist and I had unpleasant dealings with at least one nurse there.  Frankly someone who isn't concerned and worried about the staff and their religious beleifs intersecting with outs, would need some Haldol.

I am asking people that if they want to tell me I am hysterical--DON'T. You aren't helping me. You are pissing me off, and I probably will not be polite in my reply because unless you have lsot a husband to something similar and you aren't a Wiccan in a state of fundies, your advice comes from ignorance. And, FYI, calling someone hysterical is NOT a god way to tell people how to handle things. So please keep that sort of advice to yourself, because you aren't in my situation, you only know me from here--and though I know you don't mean to, you come across as arrogant and more interested in telling me what YOU would do than in helping me. Thanks, but no thanks. I am being as polite as possible. But one kind soul pointed out that being angry is sometimes a very appropriate response, especially when past experiences warn you to be very, very wary of the locals. And down here, religion RULES EVERYTHING> It is a Very Big Deal down here. If you're some form of Christian (they're iffy on Catholics but kinda cope with Episcopalians but that's as tolerant as they get; Muslims are not thought of well, nor are other non-Christians and Wiccans are devil worshipers--and yes that has been said to my face).  This is Dominionist territory and it is hostile and I've had that proved to me too many times not to be extremely leery.

And soem of you, I'd like you to consider this: why does someone who belongs to a minority faith and who has faced this kinda crap for ten years always have to be conciliatory and trusting and nice?  Think about that one, please.  

Sorry about the rant, but it's been a long day and I am exhausted. I am dealing with my husband and a dying cat we both love dearly (and if you don't understand us pootie people, well, you don't understand; this cat has a bigger heart and more soul than a lot of humans I have met, and, frankly,some of you  may not believe animals ago to heaven--but we  witches are sure they go to the Summerlands and will be waiting for us unless they choose to be reborn).

And the news today not only wasn't good, it's downright awful. He has very serious blockages in his heart--almost 100% in two places, and 80 in another. They ae gonna have to do bypass surgery, serious bypass surgery, once the Plavix they gave him yesterday is out of his system. Could be this week, could be Monday. We don't know. This is open heart surgery and while the PA says this is the best hospital in GA--I'd be a whole lot happier if we were in New England where he'd be in a Boston hospital or Maine Medical.  And I don't know how much Tricare Prime will cover bankruptcy already filed and processed so we don't even have the option of filing for it because of this--I think Pope Francis  would be a bit shrill under those circumstances.

I plan on doing research to verify the "we're terrific, top 5% in the country" because, well, I am a librarian and a trained researcher, and if Jesus Christ showed up on my doorstep in radiant glory, I'd check him out too. Smart people don't take medical folks at their word these days--too many mistakes, for my taste. To some of you this will sound hysterical. I call it taking some control of the situation and not taking a PA, however cute, at her word. I've done this for myself, and at least once, it saved my life.  It is far better to know what is really up than to accept medical stuff as Gospel truth. And experts tell patient's families they  SHOULD be doing precisely that. Medical dosages are often in error. SO are diagnoses. An informed family member is a patient's best friend.

Hospitals may not like it, but I will continue to ask all kinds of questions if I need them answered, even if it ticks off the nurses or the doctors. I've worked in public service.  They, as I was,a re being paid to do their job, and while I try to be nice,  and always start out that way--sometimes they aren't nice back for whatever reason (the one who also her job made assumptions about me because of my religion and because I hadn't visited Dad on her watch because I had a Norovirus and couldn't be more than 5 feet from a toilet for 24 hours so I wasn't a good daughter because natch a witch can't be a good anything--and yes, she said those words to me, and then reported to social services, which, luckily, was resolved by one visit of the social worker)and then I see no reason to be continue being nice. At some point you march up to the desk and get the floor nurse and tell her you want another tech and another nurse because you are unsatisfied with the treatment and answers you are getting, which is precisely what my HUSBAND did to that nurse after he propelled her down the hall to her boss (turned out it wasn't the first time she;d pulled this crap, and she was removed immediately from the floor, and, I suspect fired from the hospital because I think there was a file).

So there it stands. I am gonna take my meds and cuddle my old and dying kitty and read something till I go to sleep. My back is killing me--I have facet joint syndrome and it kicks up under stress as well certain types of exertion--and I need to eat something since I had a small serving of microwave fried rice. And again, if you want to lecture me, it's not gonna help. I do try to control myself, but JeezyPeezy I thought venting here was safe. Apparently it isn't.  So if you feel the urge to lecture me, don't post.  Because unless you've walked in my shoes--a dead first husband, a hostile environment generally, no friends here and I have always had many of them because believe it or not, some people actually LIKE me--you haven't got a clue. Vetwife, you're the exception because you DO know what it's like. YOU can lecture me.

One final comment. In the last 10 years I have buried my mother and father and cared for Dad with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's (when he died my husband and I literally slept for 3 days, we were so worn out from the caregiving--Das was a horrible patient and a difficult man at the best of times, charming when he wanted to be but with me, I could never be enough for him to feel satisfied). In order to do this, my hsuband dropped out of nursing school, which is why we are dealing with the financial shit. We made som bad decisions like buying this house--pushed into by MiL and my father so it reflects eon our credit--because the other choice was moving to FL where I spend a lot of time sick as a dog because of my allergies. We screwed up for the best reasons possible: love and responsibility. And now we are dealing with this.   I feel like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof when, in one of his many conversations with YHWH, he says, "God, I know we are your Chosen People--but just for a change could you choose somebody else?"

Again, thanks for the prayers and even the unwanted advice because I know it was offered out of human caring (it just isn't helpful right now. I am VERY clear thinking about the medical aspects, but the religions stuff down here DOES matter). When I know more, I'll update.

Originally posted to irishwitch on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 09:46 PM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets , PaganKos, Progressive Atheists, and House of LIGHTS.

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