Gratitude - Moments

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40 Days of Gratitude series post - Moments - How a stressful day transformed into a moment of joy and a reminder of how fleeting life is.

LIfe's about the little moments, right? What moments this week are you grateful for?

This week has already been stressful, and it's only Tuesday. Hubby had an appointment at the VA hospital in Seattle yesterday, and it was one that we've been dreading or at the very best, going through the motions of.

Now, hubby has a number of his own disabilities, many resulting from his years in the military. Some, we meet regularly with his care team to manage. Others, we've been fighting for over 10 years to get treatment. This visit fell into the latter category.

It took 10 years for him to finally get referred to a specialist to deal with an issue that's been difficult for us at best. Unfortunately, after 10 years, permanent damage had been done, and when we met with the specialist back in December, they gave us excuses for not doing corrective surgery (I lost my sh*t in front of the doctors, and forced them to face the issue with empathy, instead of just treating my husband like a number), and gave us a half measure, telling us to come back in three months.

Three months came and went, and the follow-up appointment was canceled by the clinic - "We scheduled the wrong kind of appointment for you." Hubby's attempts to call and reschedule resulted in a half-dozen phone messages, but no response. The issue remained unresolved until we happened to be in Seattle a couple weeks ago, and I suggested that he see about scheduling a follow-up while we were there, in person. Lo and behold, we were able to, and that appointment happened yesterday.

To back up just a bit, the half-measure that the specialist prescribed, worked. Kind of. Unfortunately, the treatment was worse than the actual problem and caused MORE damage. 

Before we left yesterday morning for the 3-hour drive into Seattle, we had a little two-person huddle around the breakfast table. What did we want to accomplish? Obviously, corrective surgery was the best-choice outcome. We already knew that he needs to get his diabetes under better control before they'll actually do any cutting, but the green light was the day's goal. 

Failing that, we decided, if they put it off citing his age (because, you know if you wait another 10-15 years, it'll be so much better - which hasn't worked in his favor for the first 10 years... but anyway), we'd let the situation go, and move on in our lives. The emotional upheaval of being handed hope, only to have it snatched away again was devastating; for him, for me, for our marriage. 

Hubby is one of those happy-go-lucky guys that never seem to be affected by anything and can always just go with the flow. I struggle with severe anxiety disorders. The unknown is not conducive to me remaining calm, so Hubby humors my need for A Plan. 

We reiterated our plan over the three-hour drive, arrived at the hospital early (we thought), and found out that the appointment wasn't at the time he'd been given. They'd see us anyway, but we'd have to wait. No biggie... I had my trusty Kindle and read, but I had a growing, sinking feeling in my gut that this wasn't a great beginning.

When we were finally seen, we had a frank discussion with the specialist. Amazingly, it was the same doctor we saw in December (a minor miracle with Seattle VA specialists, it seems), and he had this semi-fearful look when he saw my march towards the door behind Hubby. 

The appointment went better than expected - whether he was afraid of telling us no again, or he got a clue, I'll never know, but not only did he give the green light to the surgery (pending Hubby's better diabetic labs, of course), but we have a date for surgery and a game plan for what they'll do.

You might be thinking that this is the moment I'm grateful for, but it's not. I told you all that, to lay the foundation for what it is that I'm truly grateful for (not that I'm NOT grateful to see this resolved, but in comparison, it seems like a stepping stone rather than an outcome).

We made a couple stops on the way home, delaying our arrival by a couple of hours - and this is a critical piece of the puzzle. Had we come straight home, this might have had a very different outcome.

Just 45 minutes from home, we hit stand-still traffic - something utterly unheard of in our little corner of the world, because we just don't have that many people here to create a traffic jam, let alone on a Monday. It took us almost 90 minutes to crawl 5 miles. People walking on the side of the road were passing us. We spent a little time bitching and complaining. After all, it was hot, and we'd been in the car for over 6 hours at that point. My back was spasming, and Hubby was sleepy. and we still had at least a 40-minute drive home.

To pass the time, we played the Alphabet Game. It's a little game that Hubby and his brothers played when they were kids, to pass the time on long drives. 

We made it through the whole alphabet in under 5 minutes and didn't move forward an inch the whole time. 

40 Days of Gratitude series post - Moments - How a stressful day transformed into a moment of joy and a reminder of how fleeting life is.

That made us laugh. 

It broke the tension in the car, and after a little searching on social media, we learned of a serious accident that had the highway in and out of the harbor area at a standstill in both directions. At least two people were seriously injured, and one would possibly not survive. I scrolled up and down the posts, reading questions and alternative routes (there weren't any that were better). I looked at the time of the post.

2 Hours.

Two hours before we'd hit the snag in traffic, two cars had collided at high speeds, and one person would probably never see their family again.

About the time that the pieces fell into place for me, traffic was moving again, and we got a glimpse at one of the two cars.

I got a sick feeling in my gut (from more than not eating any real food all day), as I realized that had we not made our stops...

That moment that I'm grateful for? 

It's the moment we fell into hysterical laughter while sitting in a hot car, not moving towards food. It's that moment that the relief of the day's appointment outcome dropped into place, the stress from the traffic jam fell away, my pain didn't matter, and we were just having fun.

Why am I grateful for that? Besides the obvious, I'm grateful that we were sitting in the traffic jam, and not there when the accident happened. It's the second time in a year that a few minutes' difference in our drive time - a choice to leave a few minutes earlier, or a choice to linger and take our time going home - took us out of harm's way, even if it was damn inconvenient.

I'm grateful for one more day to laugh and enjoy Hubby's terrible dad jokes and Daughter's corny puns. I have another chance to walk on the beach (it's a gorgeous day, and I took advantage of it).

I'm grateful for one more day to make a difference in someone's life.

Your turn! Drop into the comments below and share one moment this week that you're grateful for.

Related posts: 

Why You Really Need to Tackle that Big Thing

Mapping Your Future

Discover What You Value

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