I don’t consider myself a big risk taker. I’ve never had a huge desire to go skydiving or cliff jumping, I’m too cheap to gamble and I’m too practical to not “play it safe” in most areas of my life. As a result, I was struck by a quick interaction I had with Dr. Dan after Rudy’s heart cath back in July that has left me pondering what it means to take risks in life.
You may recall that it was deemed necessary during Rudy’s last heart cath to attempt to place stents in Rudy’s aorta…a somewhat risky procedure as Drs. Dan and Harake needed to get the large stents to his aorta through the only open artery Rudy has left in his groin. There was much discussion during pre-op about saving the femoral artery by pursuing surgical options to gain access to the aorta instead. There was more discussion with Dr. Dan by phone from the cath lab as well as a consultation with Rudy’s heart surgeon during the procedure that resulted in a unanimous decision to go for it through the groin. We were relieved when the procedure was over and very excited that it was successful. While Rudy was getting settled in recovery, Dr. Dan met with us to discuss the details of the procedure and brief us on where things stood, etc. We were all pretty giddy by the outcome and as we got up to leave and get back to Rudy I said “Congratulations Dr. Dan. You did it! Well done.”…without hesitation he said (something like/not a direct quote) “No, you’re the ones to be congratulated! You were willing to take a big risk and you gave us your consent.”.
Risk-takers? Us? I guess it’s all in how you look at it because it sure didn’t feel like we were the ones taking a risk…it felt more like, for Rudy’s sake, we had no choice. BIG leaps of faith sure don’t seem risky when you feel you don’t have any other options and, in looking back, there sure haven’t been many options in our journey with Rudy. I’ve mentioned it before but at every critical crossroads (especially in those early months), we never really had options in treatment…the road was laid out for us one step at a time as Rudy’s body dictated the direction we journeyed and, when needed, we gave consent for treatment when the risk of not doing something became greater than the risk involved in the procedures themselves…pretty straight forward…harrowing but straight forward.
Believe me, I’d jump out of a plane, dive head first off a cliff or place a big fat bet on a blackjack table risking millions in a heartbeat if it would somehow change the course we’re on with Rudy. We saw Dr. Harake today for Rudy’s routine echocardiogram. All the activities that fill our family’s crazy calendar in the weeks between appts with Dr. Harake are such a fun and healthy distraction from Rudy’s reality and I find the cardiology check-ins leave me feeling a little raw. A strange juxtaposition as I really appreciate talking with Dr. Harake and having Rudy monitored so closely every two months but I do walk away reminded that Rudy’s heart is in a constant process of failing…the constant dull ache in my heart resurfaces and the burden feels a little bit heavier. I’m grateful, though, that Rudy is managing it all well and thriving…grateful for the respite of fun in between the reality checkpoints and so grateful Rudy is in good hands. Rolf and I may very well be taking risks on Rudy’s behalf as we try to navigate this crazy course but I’m so profoundly grateful that we’re not shouldering the burden alone…Rudy is surrounded by an army of friends and family who pray, a host of gifted medical professionals who skillfully treat and the God of hope who sustains, strengthens and grants peace in the midst of it all! I might be a little weepy tonight but I’m eager to discover what fun distractions tomorrow will bring. :) Thanks for praying dear ones!
Here are a few of the rich distractions from last week…