So now it’s 5 days later and Mary has had a cold for a couple of days. Nothing serious up to this point, sore throat, cough, headache, when I get the first inkling that this is not just a regular cold, and, because I know her past history of asthma and multiple bouts with pneumonia, here is the exchange from March 30:
[3/30/2010 4:57:53 PM] Brian Ellis: and what’s this about short of breath?
[3/30/2010 4:58:13 PM] mary van der valk: my asthma
[3/30/2010 4:58:33 PM] Brian Ellis: ah, so it’s not from your cold?
[3/30/2010 4:59:06 PM] Brian Ellis: i always want you to keep an eye out for pneumonia…
[3/30/2010 5:00:14 PM] mary van der valk: yes
[3/30/2010 5:00:19 PM] Brian Ellis: everything else i think you can handle, but because you are like me and want to plow right through things, you have to be on alert for a cough in your lungs that is different from the others…
[3/30/2010 5:00:40 PM] mary van der valk: yes
[3/30/2010 5:00:43 PM] mary van der valk: I know
[3/30/2010 5:00:57 PM] mary van der valk: talking is difficult now
[3/30/2010 5:01:55 PM] mary van der valk: I only go out tomorrow for the taxes with the accountant.
[3/30/2010 5:02:05 PM] mary van der valk: and get the car back, then back to bed
[3/30/2010 5:02:42 PM] Brian Ellis: when i got pneumonia, i could tell within 6 hours that it was not a normal cough so i went to the doctor and he took x-rays and said “well i can’t SEE anything on the x-rays, but i can HEAR in your lungs and it could be pneumonia” so he put me on antibiotics…later he said it was the earliest he had ever seen someone get diagnosed with it…and STILL it was very hard on me–comes on SO FAST….
[3/30/2010 5:02:45 PM] mary van der valk: cough a lot now
[3/30/2010 5:03:00 PM] Brian Ellis: have you had pneumonia before?
[3/30/2010 5:03:13 PM] mary van der valk: several times
[3/30/2010 5:03:21 PM] Brian Ellis: okay, so then you know what to look for…good…
[3/30/2010 5:04:16 PM] mary van der valk: Tosca died with a very huge struggle for air too
[3/30/2010 5:05:10 PM] mary van der valk: I feel a sharp pain in my chest now, but its on the edge
[3/30/2010 5:05:49 PM] mary van der valk: I can send it away
[3/30/2010 5:05:55 PM] mary van der valk: did it before
[3/30/2010 5:06:18 PM] mary van der valk: I have the feeling there is an elephant paw on my chest
[3/30/2010 5:06:23 PM] mary van der valk: hahahahahaha!
[3/30/2010 5:06:27 PM] Brian Ellis: you don’t want to block your emotions, just know that you can feel them without them affecting your BODY at all if you want…
[3/30/2010 5:06:29 PM] mary van der valk: sweaty
[3/30/2010 5:07:08 PM] mary van der valk: when I sigh deep I have to cough my lungs out
[3/30/2010 5:07:34 PM] mary van der valk: I do have some medication here so it will pass
[3/30/2010 5:08:03 PM] Brian Ellis: please, please, please go to the hospital if it’s bad enough, okay? promise me? feeling like an elephant is on your chest and being sweaty are also signs of heart problems, so don’t wait if it gets bad, okay my love?
[3/30/2010 5:08:46 PM] mary van der valk: I do not have heart problems sweetie
[3/30/2010 5:08:55 PM] mary van der valk: I know what i feel and its lungs
[3/30/2010 5:09:03 PM] Brian Ellis: i mean i imagine that because you can take on what you feel from others it can be hard to decide when it’s something real vs. something you are taking on, so i want you to be on the safe side…FOR ME!
[3/30/2010 5:09:24 PM] mary van der valk: I WILL!!!
[3/30/2010 5:09:25 PM] Brian Ellis: okay…
[3/30/2010 5:09:30 PM] Brian Ellis: thank you!
So I did feel the slightest twinge of fear when she mentioned the “elephant paw on my chest” as that’s what many heart attack victims describe, but I felt fine when she reassured me that it was in her lungs, she was taking medicine for it, and she knew what to look out for because she had pneumonia before. I DID point out (which she chose to ignore) that she has the tendency to plow right through health issues because she NEEDS to work to take care of the kids, etc. But she did promise she would go to the hospital if it got bad. So I was back to being comfortable for the moment. Why? Because I had changed my belief! Nothing had changed in the world: Mary was still sick, her symptoms had changed, but I changed my belief. When I believed “I have to be careful because Mary sometimes does not take care of herself”, I saw evidence of 1) Mary is working too hard when she is sick, 2) Mary does not notice how sick she is, 3) Mary doesn’t know how to identify if she has pneumonia. Then, after talking to her, I changed my belief to “Mary is taking good care of herself”. And when I changed that belief, I saw evidence to support it: 1) it is not her heart, 2) she is taking her meds, 3) she knows what to look for in pneumonia, 4) she will go to the hospital if it gets too bad. We will ONLY see the evidence to support the beliefs we hold! (For more on how beliefs work, check out http://www.option.org/the-option-institute/what-we-teach/37 ).
Next, 2 days later:
[4/1/2010 7:40:07 AM] mary van der valk: doctor just came, I get antibiotics and prednison and an inhaler, got blatter infection as well. I told him I allowed myself to feel my body and that I am exhausted. He told me that it was a normal reaction considering the years I have been through. Lot of stress and no time for me. So I told him I am going to quite my job and want to have a life with you in America, that I finally am choosing for ME in this and that my task as a parent is done here. Of course I want to be a mother to them, but they do not NEED me to take good care of them anymore. I feel so relieved to be able to finally admit this to myself. I want to live my life with you, I want us to be together and I want us to be creative with all we want by writing and filming.
[4/1/2010 7:40:25 AM] mary van der valk: I so deeply love you!
[4/1/2010 12:02:29 PM] Brian Ellis: how are you feeling my sweet?
[4/1/2010 12:02:32 PM] mary van der valk: cannot talk much
[4/1/2010 12:02:39 PM] Brian Ellis: do you feel like the doctor gave you what you need?
[4/1/2010 12:02:42 PM] mary van der valk: have had high fever
[4/1/2010 12:02:47 PM] mary van der valk: yes
[4/1/2010 12:03:01 PM] Brian Ellis: i want to feel safe in that you are being taken care of….
[4/1/2010 12:03:08 PM] mary van der valk: I also told him that I am exhausted and want to stop working,
[4/1/2010 12:03:55 PM] mary van der valk: Fay brought me the medicines after getting out for them and even brought me tea and something to eat!So happy with that
[4/1/2010 12:04:08 PM] Brian Ellis: yay!!!
[4/1/2010 12:04:45 PM] mary van der valk: the doc knows now that I am admitting FINALLY I feel my body again and know I have to make decisions which I did
[4/1/2010 12:06:06 PM] mary van der valk: this is a HUGE STEP FOR ME
[4/1/2010 12:06:36 PM] Brian Ellis: okay…so please don’t push yourself to do that, but if you are better, ONLY THEN is it okay…i KNOW it’s a huge step for you–you have NO IDEA how much i know that!!!
[4/1/2010 12:06:59 PM] Brian Ellis: and i love you even more for it–if that’s possible, LOL!!!!!!!!!!!
[4/1/2010 12:07:20 PM] mary van der valk: meaning that I feel a huge relief and also an incredible tiredness
[4/1/2010 12:07:35 PM] mary van der valk: I LOVE YOU SO MUCH BRI!
[4/1/2010 12:07:50 PM] Brian Ellis: I LOVE YOU TOO MY MARY!!!
So GREAT! She leads off with the note that she has seen the doctor (good!), she is getting the message to slow down (great!), and that she has made a decision that she can support her children without having to be there in person (cool!). So you can probably tell from the way I wrote my responses that I was just fine with this. Really, at that moment, I felt like she had handed herself over to the medical community and they would take care of her from there. WRONG!!! Little did I know…
I did not correct any typos in this section because I want you to see what I was seeing…Note this is 4 days after I asked her to watch for pneumonia and asked her to go to the hospital if it got bad…
[4/2/2010 6:46:58 AM] Brian Ellis: hi my love, are you there?
[4/2/2010 6:47:32 AM] Brian Ellis: didn’t quite understand your last message–so you will talk to the doctor by 4 your time?
[4/2/2010 10:14:41 AM] Brian Ellis: hey my sweetie, are you online? i would love to hear from you for just a moment…how are you feeling? what is happening with the doctor and/or hospital?
[4/2/2010 10:22:46 AM] mary van der valk: hi
[4/2/2010 10:23:08 AM] Brian Ellis: oh, hi! just sent you a text also…
[4/2/2010 10:23:45 AM] mary van der valk: i am out of breath
[4/2/2010 10:25:24 AM] mary van der valk: i have phoned the doctor but they are closed.the inhaler i take gives me some air now so maybe i du not have to gu tu the huspital
[4/2/2010 10:26:02 AM] mary van der valk: cant talk
[4/2/2010 10:26:15 AM] Brian Ellis: NO! no waiting!!! i want you to go to the hospital now! call an ambulance if you have to! RIGHT NOW!!!!
[4/2/2010 10:27:16 AM] mary van der valk: no elies and fay come hme and i promise that i will go when it does not improve promise
[4/2/2010 10:27:38 AM] Brian Ellis: it’s already been too long!!! how soon are they there?
[4/2/2010 10:28:20 AM] mary van der valk: the doct. sayd that when the inhaler was used more i could get more breath that is true
[4/2/2010 10:28:39 AM] mary van der valk: in an hour
[4/2/2010 10:30:00 AM] mary van der valk: i feel everybody who is dying there see dead peoplu and only go when i need to
[4/2/2010 10:30:30 AM] Brian Ellis: please please please do not mess around with this! you have to catch pneumonia EARLY!!! it’s very dangerous and if you can’t even type or talk, it’s TIME TO GO!!! i don’t give a shit about the money or if you feel it’s unnecessary!!! you’re MY MARY and if i was there i would have taken you two days ago!
[4/2/2010 10:30:34 AM] mary van der valk: the feaver is going down i think
[4/2/2010 10:30:57 AM] mary van der valk: i so love you
[4/2/2010 10:31:30 AM] mary van der valk: i will talk to elies too
[4/2/2010 10:31:43 AM] mary van der valk: i am not dying on you
[4/2/2010 10:32:13 AM] mary van der valk: only have trouble in my lungd and have ha it before
[4/2/2010 10:32:20 AM] Brian Ellis: i love you too! that’s why i am so insistent about this–especially with your history of lung problems…you better die on me goddamnit!!! not after all this searching my whole frigging life for you!!!
[4/2/2010 10:32:58 AM] mary van der valk: you better die or you better not die
[4/2/2010 10:33:03 AM] Brian Ellis: OOOOOPSSSS!!!! better NOT die on me!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA! (but NO LAUGHING FOR YOU!!!)
[4/2/2010 10:33:07 AM] mary van der valk: you mistaked
[4/2/2010 10:33:53 AM] mary van der valk: i will decide tonight
[4/2/2010 10:34:22 AM] Brian Ellis: okay…then you keep doing what has been helping and if it’s a democracy, i vote that you go as soon as the girls get there!
[4/2/2010 10:34:31 AM] mary van der valk: i will go when it is not better
[4/2/2010 10:34:44 AM] Brian Ellis: you said that yesterday…
[4/2/2010 10:34:52 AM] mary van der valk: yes
[4/2/2010 10:35:00 AM] mary van der valk: sorry
[4/2/2010 10:35:21 AM] Brian Ellis: why not go??? i don’t understand….
[4/2/2010 10:35:41 AM] mary van der valk: yesterday i felt a bietter but i promise you igo when i stay this way
[4/2/2010 10:36:16 AM] mary van der valk: are you crying or upset now
[4/2/2010 10:36:29 AM] Brian Ellis: just frustrated…
[4/2/2010 10:36:41 AM] mary van der valk: i will wait for them and decide
[4/2/2010 10:37:05 AM] Brian Ellis: i can’t be there to see you and when i see you on the skype video everything tells me you should be at the hospital…
[4/2/2010 10:38:18 AM] Brian Ellis: they can kick you out if they really think you’re not that bad, but i don’t understand why you would wait…is it money? is it that they might think you are a hypochondriac?
[4/2/2010 10:38:30 AM] mary van der valk: i have had a terrible time there last time
[4/2/2010 10:38:38 AM] Brian Ellis: in what way/
[4/2/2010 10:38:39 AM] Brian Ellis: ?
[4/2/2010 10:39:24 AM] mary van der valk: NO i dont care about what they say or think and not ab.money i am insured
[4/2/2010 10:40:02 AM] mary van der valk: got so depressed and allpeople throwing up and all bad energy
[4/2/2010 10:41:40 AM] Brian Ellis: well you won’t get depressed now because you are in love with me! so please don’t let one bad experience keep you away from helping you…
[4/2/2010 10:42:14 AM] mary van der valk: i promise i will go to the hospital when the docter examined me and says i need tu go
[4/2/2010 10:42:24 AM] mary van der valk: yes
[4/2/2010 10:42:34 AM] mary van der valk: so feel yo
[4/2/2010 10:42:37 AM] mary van der valk: you
[4/2/2010 10:42:59 AM] Brian Ellis: god i wish i was there…
[4/2/2010 10:43:12 AM] mary van der valk: am i god now?
[4/2/2010 10:43:16 AM] mary van der valk: hehe
[4/2/2010 10:43:40 AM] Brian Ellis: i would drag your complaining pattotie down to the nearest cab and take you there myself…
[4/2/2010 10:44:14 AM] mary van der valk: smiling herw
[4/2/2010 10:44:19 AM] mary van der valk: here
[4/2/2010 10:45:41 AM] Brian Ellis: but obviously i cannot control you from here, so i’m stuck with whatever you decide to do…so i’m going to let you go and relax and PLEASE keep doing whatever is working that the doctor told you and PLEASE take my vote for you to go to the hospital tonight….okay? at least just keep it in consideration….
[4/2/2010 10:46:08 AM] mary van der valk: i do
[4/2/2010 10:46:35 AM] Brian Ellis: okay…now go and rest and get back on with me in a couple of hours–promise?
[4/2/2010 10:46:41 AM] mary van der valk: i want to be alive and kick yor ass and then marry you
[4/2/2010 10:46:54 AM] Brian Ellis: you better!!!
[4/2/2010 10:47:03 AM] mary van der valk: i will
[4/2/2010 10:47:06 AM] mary van der valk: no fear
[4/2/2010 10:47:17 AM] Brian Ellis: i’m “trying”…hehehehehe
[4/2/2010 10:47:44 AM] mary van der valk: will contact you later ok feel tired
[4/2/2010 10:47:48 AM] Brian Ellis: but i feel some, babe…i’ll work on letting it go…
[4/2/2010 10:48:04 AM] Brian Ellis: okay…rest my love…
[4/2/2010 10:48:20 AM] mary van der valk: i promise i come to marry you dont want anything more than that
[4/2/2010 10:48:28 AM] Brian Ellis: (hug)(hug)(hug)(hug)(hug)(hug)(hug)(hug)(hug)(hug)(hug)(hug)(hug)(hug)(hug)(hug)(h)(sun)
[4/2/2010 10:49:24 AM] mary van der valk: (h)(hug)(hug)(hug)(hug):*(whew)(sun)(flex)(h)(inlove)
[4/2/2010 12:25:01 PM] mary van der valk: antibiotics are working now getting more air feel ni have had the worst
[4/2/2010 12:25:54 PM] Brian Ellis: truth?
[4/2/2010 12:26:18 PM] mary van der valk: really
[4/2/2010 12:26:30 PM] Brian Ellis: *heavy sigh of relief*
[4/2/2010 12:26:49 PM] mary van der valk: slept woke up and feel less rattle in my lungs have some more energy
[4/2/2010 12:27:06 PM] mary van der valk: sweating
[4/2/2010 12:27:13 PM] Brian Ellis: okay, well then just keep doing what you’re doing and just keep an eye open for if it starts to get worse again, okay my sweet love?
Wow, well in re-reading this, there is a LOT in here in terms of beliefs and emotion. It’s really interesting how fear, when I decide to feel it, will take away all the tools I’ve learned for living a happy and comfortable existence! As soon as I started to feel fear, I reacted by becoming forceful in my lobbying for her to go to the hospital! Look at the change in tone from my earlier chats with her. What was the belief? That unless I was forceful with her, she would NOT take her illness seriously. But then look at what happened: it actually made no difference in the way she reacted to it! If anything, she was LESS committing to going to the hospital when I was forceful.
And this is where not being there really hit home for me. What I said was true: if I had been there, I would have taken her to the hospital by force, BUT, I would have been LESS fearful, because I would have been there and felt more in control. Ahhhhhh! There’s a nice belief that comes to the surface! Since I felt out of control by being here instead of there, lack of control (or perceived control) led to fear. A great thing to note for the future.
Now we get to an interesting exchange that is actually VERY USEFUL to note for YOUR relationships! Why did Mary not want to go to the hospital? After knowing each other for almost a year and sharing our deepest corners of ourselves with each other, and as much as I feel I know her as well as any one person can know another, I can NEVER know what is actually going on inside her. And that’s a gift! It’s a gift to your relationship if you understand that, because then you will never assume you know what the other person is thinking, and you will instead always ASK them. I threw out a couple of guesses (educated guesses from what I know of Mary) about why she would not want to go to the hospital. And guess what? Not in a hundred guesses would I have gotten the actual reason! But look what happened once I did. The FIRST thing I did was to throw out an alternate belief that she could choose that would (I hoped) help her be less resistant to going to the hospital. There will be a really neat follow up on that little exchange later on.
And finally, watch what happens once again: she reassures me that she will go to the hospital if the doctor says so, or if Elise says so, or if she herself feels worse. So I go back to believing that she will do this, but since she has said this before, my belief is not as strong as it has been in the past, and going forward I will monitor her on a more diligent basis because of that belief. You can by my last line that, although I’m okay to let go of the issue at that moment, I’m not completely comfortable with it just from the way I phrased the last sentence.
Next: Yep, instead of getting better as in her last comment, in fact, it gets worse…