8/7/2012 11:49 AM
By Kim Edgren
Note: For the first part of Kim’s blog post, click here. We revisit Kim as the family prepares to climb a mountain, the "straw of (her) mental back."
The plan was to hike up their mountain to the lake for a campfire meal and swim, and, we—and by we I mean me and the old folk—were to go by tractor. One at a time. While everyone else, including my 70-something year old mother and 5-year-old niece…. climbed.
This is the part of “The Edgrens Take on Norway” where Kim had a little breakdown—silently, in my head, but a breakdown nonetheless. I wanted to be that cool 46-year-old who hikes, not the lame cardiac chick who has to get a ride! I protested but after one look at my wife and mother—the look that pleaded “save us the worry!”—I climbed in.
And, if I’m being honest, I knew I couldn’t do it. We were eight days in, jet-lagged, and had walked countless miles. Anyone would be fatigued, not just a 46-year-old with CHD. We were over an hour away from a medical facility that could perform an X-ray, let alone house a cardiologist experienced with CHD—there was no need to be a stupid.
So, up I went in the old tractor with 14-year-old Ole, he with his limited English and me with my non-existent Norwegian, and yet—we managed to learn a little about each other. We had a conversation that may not have taken place had we not been trapped in a little cabin on a bumpy trail. And after drop off, I got to “hike” over to meet the family, taking in a beautiful stone bridge and mountain views.
I took my time and had a little chat with myself, when really what I wanted to do was be really, really angry at someone. Anyone. I was not ready to join the ranks of the folks 20+ years my senior or give in to my heart’s failures because, mostly, I want to be on this mountain 20+ years from now just like my parents, enjoying my girls and their families. I didn’t want to be tired, cranky, or told to take it easy by one more person and I thought, if this is where I am now, how am I ever going to make it later?
I gave myself a talking to, took a deep breath of mountain air, and joined the group. By day’s end, after a wonderful cookout, a swim in the cool mountain-top lake and the company of family, I reached peace and acceptance. OK… maybe the acceptance came after I hiked down the mountain!
In the end, my heart still beat; I was breathing the mountain air, and had the company of my girls and my family to enjoy such a wonderful experience. So I can’t do it all anymore—I can still do most of it. And that was far more than I could ever have imagined a year ago. Acceptance is hard. My health is changing, and even when anticipated it’s no easier. Wasting what little time I have lamenting is just that—a waste—and I am not willing to do that. So, time to plan the Edgren’s next wild adventure—even if I experience it from the bottom of the stairs and the inside of a tractor.
Kim Edgren was born in 1966 with transposition of the great arteries, pulmonary stenosis and ventricular septal defect. She recently became the proud owner of a Melody valve! When she is not trying her hand at writing she is busy spending time with her partner and three girls, managing her two child care centers and planning her next vacation.
1 comment(s) so far...
By Clare on
8/15/2012 7:46 AM
Re: My Miracle of a Vacation, Part 2
"So I can't do it all anymore--I can still do most of it." I love that line! Keep up the positive attitude and I will try to do the same!