Palm Springs, Ca. It’s the keeper of six years’ worth of Summer vacation memories, including this year. It is the place where we close ranks and intentionally bond as a family. We exchange the hustle and bustle of life for a week of rest and relaxation.
It’s during this time we set the bar for the upcoming year. We nonchalantly share our fears, hopes, and desires for the upcoming school year while splashing around the pool and eating dinner at 10pm.
The familiarity caused by going to the same place year after year is purposeful. I hope, within reason, in ten years our kids will say, “Remember that time in Palm Springs we (fill in the blank) and mom and dad had no idea?”
In doing so, it has also, for better or worse, become the place where life benchmarks have occurred. None was made for prevalent than my husband, Ricky’s, diagnosis with cardiomyopathy.
The pool is always our second order of business, the grocery store being the first because, food! This year when Ricky’s entire body went under water after jumping in the pool without hesitation, I immediately felt an unexpected sense of relief and joy. You see, last year he was three months post pacemaker surgery and barely cleared to have his surgical wound submerged in water. It was a precarious time last year which caused him to gingerly enter the water, only getting wet from the waist down.
It was a reminder of the long drawn out process from test to diagnosis to plan of action. Test and results took weeks to schedule and receive. Procedures were done with the thick unknown looming of what ifs. Prayers were said in abundance and contingency plans were made in secret. Daylight brought brave faces but the night was saturated with tears scared of the unknown.
And then, hope. A biventricular pacemaker that raised his heart function by 20% in the first three months. A gift allowing us to go and enjoy the familiarity of Summer vacation in Palm Springs mere months after surgery.
What I didn’t know until Ricky and I chatted over our morning cup of coffee this year is that it was there in Palm Springs, TWO YEARS prior, that he experienced his first bought with shortness of breath. Three months later, after I first witnessed a similar bought, he went to his initial visit with his primary care doctor which resulted in an immediate referral to a cardiologist and flipped our lives upside down.
And so, Palm Springs became a place of reflection. We took time to go over the last two years, a timeline marked by appointments, hope, disappointment, fear, peace, and healing. What a gift to see how our faith in God carried us through.
I’ve spent the last two years wrapped up in a world marked by a cardiomyopathy diagnosis. Ricky asked me not to write about his ordeal while it was happening. I agreed out of respect for him. Not being able to write about life handcuffed my writing altogether. I am okay with that.
Now the tide has turned and I sit here a wife to a 42-year-old husband living with a pacemaker. It’s time I start living again too. I’ve been giving the greenlight and I’m excited to share life with you again.