There is a saying that seems to explain what I’m going through pretty well.

I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

This phrase means that one is waiting for an inevitable event to occur that is usually undesirable. I usually don’t use this to describe my transplant, because that is quite desirable, but to describe the way my life seems to be working while I wait.

I have been a volunteer with the American Heart Association for a number of years now. I worked as a national spokes woman in 2009-2010. This year I was very excited to be asked to travel to Washington D.C. to speak to our leaders about NIH funding and healthy school lunches!  I was thrilled!  I even bought a new dress and shoes and was ready to make a difference. Then, the other shoe dropped. I had right heart catheterization scheduled for the week before. It turned out that the pressures in my heart and lungs were not doing great. I would be saying in the hospital and having a PICC line put in my arm. The PICC line would be sent home with me and my fanny pack of IV meds. No trip to Washington. I put on my big girl panties, and dealt with it.  I found a way to make my PICC work in my life and continued to live happy, healthy and positively.

As many of you know I’m a team leader with WineShop at Home. I love my job! I have received lots love and support from my company. I’ve gotten notes of love and prayer from the people I supervise all the way to the President and CEO. I work for a company based in integrity. They treat everyone with compassion, love and respect and I appreciate that more than you would imagine. At the beginning of the month my calendar was booked solid! I had nine tastings of my own plus I was on the books to help two new team members launch their businesses. Then the other shoe dropped. I got what we thought was a cold. Upon further investigation my medical team determined it was heart failure. I was admitted to the hospital and a “swan” was placed in my neck to measure pressures and provide medication to my heart. I got my team to help cover my wine tastings and I was finally settling into this routine. Again I pulled up those big girl panties!

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http://www.wineshopathome.com/jennabell

Eventually my swan no longer ached. I had my daily routine of walking a mile on the hospital floor. Mary Ann and Will had come to visit and we explained all of the medical equipment and they were comfortable with the situation. Then, the other shoe dropped. My medical team decided it was time for a balloon pump. I would be having surgery the next day to have a balloon installed in my heart to help it pump. It would alleviate some of the strain on my heart and allow it to get some rest. This news devastated me. I had finally gotten to a place where I was coping well. I had a plan. The surgery set me back a bit. Physically it took some getting used to feeling a balloon inflate and deflate in my chest every time my heart beat. Mentally I wasn’t my positive self. I was deflated (pun intended). I quit walking. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I was depressed. It took two days of sulking and my amazing nurses to get my on the path back to normal. The nurses are nothing short of miraculous here! They motivated me to get up. Then to sit in a chair for a few hours. To try walking again. They provided me the support I needed to pull up those big girl panties and move on! Now I’m back on my feet! I have a new routine. I’m getting used to my balloon pump and living a happy life here in the hospital.

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My balloon pump!  I am accepting name suggestions!

I frequently receive compliments on my attitude and positivity in my situation. I try to remain positive because I don’t like how I feel physically or mentally when I’m not. Most of the time, I can pull my self up and get back to a positive attitude.  Other times I can’t do it alone. I am so grateful for all of my nurses!  They literally get me up every day and tuck me in each night. While I hate forfeiting  my independence these ladies allow me to do so with humor, compassion, and dignity. For that I will be forever grateful!

My family dropped everything to be here and help me. Having my inlaws watching my children relieves an immeasurable about of anxiety. All of my visitors help make the time pass so quickly. My mom is with my daily and my dad pops up each weekend!  The FaceTime dates with my sister always make me laugh and she’ll be here when we get ‘the call’.

I guess what I’m saying, in a very round-a-bout fashion, is that the other shoe is going to drop. We all get knocked down. When that happens it’s even ok to stay down for a while, but eventually, you have to get back up and continue your fight.

Update: I’m doing well. I’ve adapted to the balloon pump and found a pain management routine. I seem to be settled and happy so, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. Here’s hoping the only thing that drops in is my new heart!

Courage, dear heart. ~C.S.Lewis

7 thoughts on “The other shoe.

  1. you got this girl! If anyone is strong enough to get through this Jenna Bell style it’s Jenna Bell! 🙂 You got all my prayers girlie

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  2. Wow! You are going through a lot. The one thing that stands out is the fact that you have enormous courage. The courage to let someone else help you. To accept the fact that you can’t do everything on your own. The courage to rely on others. To keep smiling and to stay positive. I know in a time like this you probably say you have no choice. But really, you do. You could stay in bed, depressed. You could give up and give in to the darkness. But you didn’t. That’s courage. I’m sending prayers your way. Praying for God to heal you fully and completely.

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  3. Thank you! I needed this today. I am still recovering from RF ablation, ICD implant and the resulting Congestive Heart Failure. I am struggling to regain my stamina, and I ache all the time! I just want to feel like myself again.

    Then I read this. Jenna’s waiting for a new heart and still working her business. (please don’t ask me the last time I had a Jamberry party, talked to someone about joining my team, or worked a full day at my Day Job!)

    Jenna’s waiting for a new heart & walks a mile through the hospital. I don’t even go downstairs to get the laundry.

    Jenna’s waiting for a new heart & still inspires everyone around her. I feel glum & wonder if I will ever be myself because my recovery is taking forever.

    I’ll keep you in my prayers as always, and will be working on my attitude adjustment – a better version of Susan!

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    1. Susan! I’m so sorry your struggling to recover. I had an ICD implanted in 2008. I’ve since had two surgeries to replace the wire and battery. That is a tough surgery to recover from. I understand that you feel down and please remember that it is OK to feel that way. Allow your self to wallow a little. Also, remember to be proud of your self for everything you accomplish. Even if you can’t go down stairs to do the laundry maybe you can start small and just toss it piece by piece down the stairs. Don’t be afraid to ask for help (pot calling kettle.. I’m really bad at this)! Most of all feel free to lean on me. I’m happy to help. Courage, dear heart!

      Jenna

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  4. P.S. My suggestion for your balloon pump’s name is Billy Ray. One: Because any person or thing with a hillbilly name like Billy Ray is immediately less scary and hysterical , and two he of course sang my achy breaky heart. Last but certainly not lest Billy Ray has a set of balls on him like no other man for sporting a mullet for the better part of his life. 😆

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