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Fifty Years of My Life (1939 - 1990)
A Memoir by Jeff R. Noordermeer

Lu Lu's health deteriorates

There are 437 people in the plane. With all those people, their luggage, and fuel of the plane, you wonder how this machine is able to stay in the air. After a take-off from Amsterdam on a very clear day, we quickly flew above the Atlantic Ocean and the weather became very turbulent and the plane started to shake badly. The captain told us not to worry as we were flying through some tough wind currents. The stewardesses were just handing us our food when suddenly the plane took a dive. Everything started to fall all over the place. It wasn't a comfortable feeling making such a drop in the air. After we went through the turbulent weather, it was smooth flying. Six hours and twenty minutes later we arrived in New York. From there I had to take a shuttle flight to Washington D.C. On this trip I spent more time in the airport trying to find my luggage and transferring to the other plane than all the flying time in the air.

It takes a few days to adjust when you are suddenly home again after five weeks of vacation. Lu Lu and I had missed each other, but the vacation had done me some good. As much as I love Lu Lu, I had to get away from the daily atmosphere of complaints and sickness. Lu Lu's health had not improved at all. Her complaints about numbness in her arms and chest were more frequent than before I went on vacation. She needed more nitrostat medicine, and it looked like the medicine wasn't helping Lu Lu a whole lot.

Whenever the numbness came in her arms she would ask me to massage her arms, it would release some of the tiresome feelings. About two weeks after I came back from vacation, Lu Lu's complaints became worse. One day I had her in my arms and tried to comfort her, because the medicine the doctor had given her was not working anymore. I told Lu Lu as much I hated it, I'd have to call the doctor and put her in the hospital for a check-up. After I called the doctor he arranged a room in the hospital. I asked Ahna to come along in the car and comfort Lu Lu. All during the ride to the hospital she complained about chest pains. All along I was afraid that Lu Lu needed open heart surgery as I did. But I was hoping I was wrong. In the hospital the doctor diagnosed her and said there was nothing wrong with her heart, but the next day they wanted to take a catheterization test just to check where the pains in her chest were coming from.

The next morning I was in the hospital very early so that I could be with Lu Lu as she was going to the catheterization room. All of this was done to me before I had my open heart surgery. Lu Lu was very nervous and asked me all kinds of questions. The doctor has to make an incision in the groin so that he can inject a blue dye through one of the leg blood vessels. The procedure is not painful but very uncomfortable. As they rolled Lu Lu inside the catheterization room I waited outside the hall. As I was waiting for Lu Lu outside the hall another patient was brought down for the same procedure. I noticed the man on the bed was very nervous. I could tell by their faces that they weren't Americans. The lady next to the bed was trying to comfort the man on the bed. I walked over to them and introduced myself. Then they told me that they were husband and wife and came originally from Iran. I told him that I had the same operation done two years ago. I explained to him very clearly what they were going to do to him in the catheterization room. After I was done explaining, the man was so happy that I had come over and talked to him, he felt more at ease.

The catheterization took a lot longer than I had expected and I started to worry about Lu Lu. Finally, the doctor came out and told me that he wanted to have a little talk with me. I became very nervous and knew something was wrong with her. The doctor told me that Lu Lu needed open heart surgery right away because there wasn't enough blood flow going into her heart because of all the blocked arteries. He said if we waited too long she might have a stroke and then it would be too late to do anything. He said that right now her heart was beating good and strong. I asked him if he had told Lu Lu about it, he said he wanted me to tell her. After the catheterization is done the patients are taken into a small recovery room. After the nurses had taken care of Lu Lu I went in the recovery room and tried to comfort her. Little by little, I tried to explain to Lu Lu that she needed open heart surgery. When she heard that she started to cry and said to me that she'd rather die than go through with the surgery. I told Lu Lu that was the only way if she wanted to keep on living. It was very difficult for me to hold back my tears. I had the operation done and I knew what sufferings she had to go through. As Lu Lu was taken back to her room the doctor came to visit her. After he was done talking to Lu Lu I followed him outside to the hall and we talked for a little while about Lu Lu's operation. I asked him what the chances were of her surviving this operation, and he just shook his head like he wanted to say the chances were very slim. The next day at six in the morning Lu Lu would be operated. I told Lu Lu before I left the hospital that I would see her very early in the morning before she went to the operating room.

CONTINUED: Lu Lu's operation
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© Copyright  - Antonio Zamora

- Foreword
- Old Rotterdam
- World War II
- After the War
- Coming to America
- Washington, D.C.
- Southeast Asia
- Philosophy of Life

- Book Index