How do you write about something so life changing?
Where to start and how to share it without having to move through it again.
Is it really possible to have your whole mind, all that you think is important, all that you fret over, just change? In a moment? In a heart beat….or in the stopping of it!
It’s so hard to say still. Robert had a heart attack. Well they call it an ‘event’ at the hospital. But it was an attack, a blood clot really, in the artery that feeds the front of his heart. He’d been feeling something all day, high blood pressure and a similar feeling to before he had stents put in 2013. But this was different.
His midnight shout was a bit panicked. “I have to go in now!”
It’s a surreal experience. Hurling down a black, empty highway with a tailwind of fear pushing you toward what you hope is salvation. We made it to the Stony Plain hospital, he was transferred into the city to the Royal Alex by ambulance. Over the moon gratitude for a cross the world phone call from my sister in Iraq…while I was in the ambulance. So comforting to have the voice of assurance across the miles. Rob wen directly into Cardiac ICU where he was hooked up to so many monitors, it was hard to get close.
That night as we waited, unsure really of what was happening except the obvious, we were scared, but stayed upbeat and hopeful that maybe another angioplasty would be the solution.
Time stands still in the hospital. But not really. Time is ‘different’ in the hospital. It’s reliant on medications schedules, procedures, lab times and rounds. It’s there to schedule managing sickness. And everyone who is not staff, well, they wait. And that’s where time changes.
Sometime within the first 36 hours, they took Rob in for what we thought was the fix: an angioplasty, which is what he had before. But he was wheeled back in within a half hour. No procedure. We waited.
Mundane conversation mingled with questions and discussions about what if and how and laughter mixed with tears. As a family, we have spent a bit of time in hospitals over the years. For our adult girls, this is not new. The girls reach for humour and that is warming for the heart. Our giggles bring a variety of looks from people in the waiting room, but it is the middle of the night and my girls are blissfully unaware.
Resident cardiologist at the Royal Alex is a soft spoken, confident doctor. Leading a dozen or more medical students, he quietly slipped into the room. “There is too much blockage for an angioplasty. We are now looking at our next option. We will be consulting with our colleagues at the Mazankowski Heart Institute to assess you as a candidate for bypass surgery. If we all think as a team that it is a good chance for this surgery, you will be transferred over there when we have a date. Until then you will wait here. “
Open Heart Surgery!!
Family gathered, arrangements were made to suspend normal everyday activities, change appointments, postpone classes…..everything stops.
Here’s the thing: What was once so important is now so…well….so NOT!
I don’t know where it disappears to, all the daily stress and worry that seems so much a crisis. Like a puff of magic powder, it’s gone. Replaced by something so different, so tangible that perhaps the rest is just wispy worry with no matter attached.
We had an agonizing 10 day wait at the Royal Alex in what they called their step-down unit. Rob was being kept suspended out of heart attack symptoms with medication. Physically, his body was not doing what it was supposed to do on it’s own. He had a 100% blockage in one of his original stents. His heart could not pump blood through that artery.
Emotionally, he processed. And we all checked in with each other to make sure we were processing….or as we were calling it….crashing. With an absolute awareness that if we needed help getting back up it was there.
I stayed with dear friends during this time who fed me, dropped me off, picked me up, soothed me and let me ramble while I tried to make sense of all that was happening. I felt split somehow. My spiritual training and rock solid guidance system was there, and this friend understood it which helped tremendously. But the human reality was a throat clenching fear of the possibility. My morning Reiki and meditation practice took a desperate turn and I spent one morning having a good talk with myself in the mirror.
There is Divinity in everything.
We know that. We trusted it. Divinity appeared in a thousand small and large ways. Friends visiting us at the hospital offering anything we needed. Rides so I didn’t have to pay for parking. A Tim’s Card for tea. A Go Fund me account that helped tremendously.
I was reminded by my good friend Karen Sievwright to look after myself and put my oxygen mask on first. So I remembered my water intake, tried to eat healthy and took my USANA supplements with even more dedication.
Daily in the hospital I found myself visiting the chapel and grounding myself for a moment of peace, a practice we picked up when visiting clients there.
Three years ago, my path met a lovely lady’s named Dorothy Briggs from Womanition who has been such a profound influence on my business path. When I called to say I had to cancel my commitment to her, not only was she grace itself, she began laughing with excitement when I told her that Rob was going to the Mazankowski for a triple bypass.
It was a bit of a strange reaction, but a true Dorothy one. She was so happy when she said: “You have to get my nephew in law! He’s the best over there. Dr. Jayan Nagendren. He’s got to be yours!”.
“Well, you’ll have to put in a good word for me, you’ve got the pull!”
I sent Reiki and prayed and turned it over to the Divinity that was already showing itself. The day before Rob was transferred to the U of A, the Transfer Co ordinator came and sat beside Rob to talk about his surgery. She said that the surgeon that was scheduled was too full. We’d been told that with heart surgery, the operation could be changed at any time if there was an emergency, like a transplant or an accident. So, unless they had actually used a scalpel, you could have it changed. So when she said that the surgeon was too full, I thought that meant it was canceled.
No, actually, it meant we had another surgeon… Dr. Jayan Nagendren. Ha!!
Our Early Morning Vigil
There are many details that stand out in my mind about the morning of Rob’s triple bypass.
The surgeon told us that he may not be able to do the main artery attachment as he was not certain that there would be enough material on the veins behind it to attach.
Have you ever had the ‘what if’ conversation with a loved one? It is a remarkable moment. And we could say ‘Thank You’ for the life we’ve shared, for the love we’ve had.”
A good friend, Joy Lowe, who’s heart compelled her to join us for part of our early morning vigil. A difficult journey, I know, as she began remembering a time in her own life spent there.
Sitting in the sun in the most beautiful healing garden at the hospital. One daughter too sick to come to the hospital (stress, I’m sure) and the others making sure I was looked after, taken care of, okay. I am so proud of the daughters that have become young women!
We eagerly shared as the texts came in, messages from hundreds who sent love and support. We felt you. I mean, we physically felt the love. A gentle wash of Reiki flowing from everywhere….so powerful!!!! Those prayers suspended the fear and worry and matched our thoughts that the surgery was going to be wonderful and he would be healthier than before….a new lease on life we were told. The girls were talking about him being a baseball coach again for them.
We were told, maybe 6 hours for surgery. Prepared to wait that long. They gave us a buzzer. It rang after 3.
Is that good news or bad?
Dr. Nagendren announced that the surgery went exactly as he had planned. He was very happy with the results. Robert was doing very well and everything was great!
High fives, hugs and then mojitos! Yes, we desperately needed a stress buster, so we went for lunch. Only sad part was a missing daughter.
It was a very intense 7 days recovery in the hospital and Robert’s return to health is slow and steady. Now, as I write, he is 12 weeks since his surgery. We have discovered that he has had a few small complications. So, we deal with that. That time thing again, it has gone so quickly and yet so slowly.
What kept us going?
Love. Real, tangible, embracing love. From everywhere. We are surrounded by proof that love resides in every moment. Our gratitude is immense and is swelling Rob’s heart with joy. That is good.
Blessings are everywhere, even though the shock about how tenuous our hold on life really is sways almost every decision now. Which is a good thing.
Rob was told not to make any major life decisions for 6 months. Some have been made for us. Divinity again! Last December, we gave notice on our space for The Dojo so we could travel and teach in other locations. Robert’s heart ‘opening’ happened on Feb. 23rd. On Feb 28th, our beautiful children and grandchild packed and moved all our business to our home. (Déjà vu for some of you, right?)
Reiki is in our blood. We can’t stop cold turkey. So we made an arrangement with a good friend Lisa McGill at Thrive Massage in Spruce Grove.
Reiki Sesions in Spruce Grove
We are presently doing Reiki sessions on Thursdays on McLeod Ave. Rob is available in the morning. Lorie in the afternoon. There is a class we postponed because of this event. We are offering it this summer at a location in Edmonton. We would love to have as many of you there as possible.
Okuden (3rd) Degree July 8th & 9th Edmonton
You can register here for the class. We are excited to back in the Reiki classroom. So looking forward to sharing this Degree with you.
Everything Happens for a Reason
If you’ve spent any time with us around The Dojo, you know our mantra. There are no mistakes, no accidents. Everything happens for a reason. Even as things are changing and we go with the flow, we think we have a handle on it, but really, we don’t realize how things are lining up, getting ready for what’s to come.
Going with the Flow
I have always kept my finger on the marketing that I love, especially online and web design. Have had web design clients for years on the side and dabbled with ours as we grew the business. Now, as life changes, I am so excited to grow that side of my life.
My passion for web design and marketing has grown into a new business and a new team up with one of our Reiki Students. Specializing in helping holistic businesses get on line and start making money through their website, I have established Tuned In Marketing.
Some things haven’t changed. I’m still focused on helping Holistic, Spiritual practitioners and businesses get their on line presence looked after. I know from experience that it is difficult to walk both paths: the business and the spiritual. That’s what I would like to do with this new venture – help you focus on your business and I’ll help you look after your online presence.
I am teaming with Carrie Williams, not only a Chuden Practitioner, but a Computer Science whiz from MNM Web Design, we have set up a web design and maintenance service that will help launch and grow sites without a difficult, over the moon process.
Stay tuned for some great small business and marketing tips galore!
Here’s the most exciting part!!!!
We are FINALLY writing our book!!!!!
Whenever we talk about the eclectic lifestyle we’ve led, we hear the rally cry “you guys should write a book.” Well, if not now, then when? So the first one we will write is about the power of Reiki and spiritual focus on life. (I get goosebumps just thinking about it!!)
Have you had an experience with Reiki?
We would love to hear your story. During our years practicing and teaching, through thousands of sessions and with hundreds of students, we have discovered only one thing that stays the same. Each is different. And how the Reiki is used is different.
The power that Reiki has to affect the individual in exactly the right way is so impressive we want to share that.
Reiki works on all levels, emotional, mental spiritual and physical. We are looking for stories that express how the Reiki changed things for you, how your world has been affected, how you see things now as well as how your physical reality is affected by it. This summer, while you are enjoying some quiet time, we invite you to reflect on your Reiki experience and share if it seems appropriate. Pick your alias name if you would like.
We do have a deadline: August 30th, 2017 . We will read each one.
When we were in the hospital, it was -25 and windy. Suddenly, it’s June and 30 above. The birds are singing, the lawn needs mowing and summer is fast here. We will be healing this summer. We have opened our hearts to what the future holds.
Our property has been neglected for a while and we are looking forward to giving it some love. Raised beds are already happening and we are moving back to our selves again. We are so grateful for all the love and blessings that we are enjoying as a result of this ‘heart event’.
We are so very grateful for each offering of help, each prayer, each Reiki moment you have shared with us. Thank you for your kindness and your support. But don’t forget to share your Reiki story!
Follow Your Bliss….All Ways!
Robert and Lorie Saito