Sunday, March 5, 2017

Of Multitasking, Medical Mayhem, Magnolias, and Music

Ah, where to even begin?!  Since my last post, I've finished the remaining 4" sawtooth star blocks and begun assembling my blocks into rows for this baby quilt:

Yay!  All My Blocks Are Done!
I am LOVING how this quilt is coming together!  I've got my blocks laid out the way I want them on my design wall above, and then I take just two blocks down at a time to stitch them together to increase the likelihood that this arrangement is what I end up with once I've sewn everything together.  Of course I am using my trusty 97D foot and its fantabulous patchwork seam guide on my Bernina 750QE because I definitely don't want to be lopping off my crisp little star points at this stage in the game:

Assembling Blocks Into Rows

I'm using the piecing straight stitch #3126 under the Quilting menu, which has a stitch length of 2.0, and now that I've completed all of the paper piecing I switched to white 50/2 cotton Aurifil thread and a size 70 Microtex needle for the remainder of the piecing.  That gives me a thin but strong seam that won't add too much bulk once it's pressed open, but won't pop open, either.

I ordered two different possible border fabrics for this quilt:

But once I auditioned them on the design wall I wasn't wild about either one of them:

Border Fabric Auditions
Too distracting, don't you think?  The hot pink is a satin binding, and I do need a border on this otherwise my outer sawtooth stars would get covered by satin binding.  But now I'm thinking I might just add solid white borders so the hot pink satin binding will be the only "frame" for the blocks:

...Or Just the Satin Binding?
What I'll probably do is a 3" solid white border so there's a little space between the pink satin binding and the star points.  Unless I change my mind before I finish assembling the quilt top.

So, you were wondering about the medical mayhem, were you?  Well, just briefly, my strong, healthy, incredibly active and fit 48-year-old husband suddenly has a serious heart issue, like out of nowhere.  He went to see a primary care doctor for the first time in about 7 years on Wednesday, complaining about his sinuses and how he "couldn't breathe," and the primary doctor sent him straight to a cardiologist who said he had Atrial Fibrillation (wonky syncopated superfast Maramba heartbeat played by toddlers on pots and pans) and he had to go to the hospital the very next morning.  His "resting" heartbeat was 176 and VERY irregular, like something out of a cartoon, causing him to feel exhausted and short of breath just walking up the stairs, and he was having chest pain as well.

The Patient, Just Before Electrocution
Why did he need to go to the hospital?  Because they needed to electrically SHOCK his heart to reset his heartbeat to a normal rhythm, under general anesthesia.  I kid you not.  And this is a healthy, fairly young guy with no other health issues.  He eats well, has low blood pressure, no risk of diabetes, not overweight, works out and hasn't smoked in 13 years.  Crazy!

But even crazier?  After they finish zapping his heart back into submission, the doctors tell us that they discovered with their little surgical cameras that my husband has a severely prolapsed mitral valve, which they suspect was a congenital thing that has progressively worsened over time, and that's what they think has caused this atrial fibrillation thing.  So the AFib is a symptom of a defective heart valve that is allowing blood to flow backwards in his heart, resulting in an enlarged upper left chamber and a heart that was in a lot worse shape than what they expected to find when they checked him into the hospital.  The good news is that they think they can repair the heart valve surgically to restore functionality to his heart and prevent the AFib from coming back.  The bad news is that this means HEART SURGERY, possibly full-on OPEN HEART SURGERY.  So we are all pretty freaked out about this, naturally.  He's going to have some further testing done this week, and then we'll be scheduling his surgery as early as April.  Prayers for strength and healing are greatly appreciated.

Saucer Magnolia In Bloom
And meanwhile, Spring comes just as though everything is normal. 

I love this tree.  We planted it soon after we moved into this house, nearly 10 years ago.

It's nearly up to the roof now.  We've had bizarrely warm weather in Charlotte, and I've even been driving around with the top down on the convertible a few days when the temps were up near 80 degrees.  It's beautiful bike riding weather, but I don't know how long it will be before my sweetie will be able to go riding with me again. 

J.S. Bach (1685-1750)
...And the music I alluded to in my alliterative blog post title is mostly Bach's St. John's Passion lately for VOX, for performances coming up the first week in April.  For those of you who are local to Charlotte and who might wish to attend, here's a shameless little plug:


J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion stands as one of the greatest musical and spiritual expressions of all time. Its dramatic, almost operatic, portrayal of Christ’s last days forms the backdrop for profound music of grace, love, and truth in the face of violent persecution and injustice.

VOX presents a staged performance on April 1, in collaboration with Opera Carolina, directed and choreographed by Baroque opera and dance specialist Paige Whitley-Bauguess.

Saturday, April 1, 2017, 7:30pm
Sharon Presbyterian Church, Sanctuary
5201 Sharon Rd, Charlotte, NC 28210
$20-general admission / $10-students and seniors
Tickets are available online here:
CONCERT VERSION:Sunday, April 2, 2017, 4:00pm
St. Ann's Catholic Church
3635 Park Rd, Charlotte, NC 28209
Presented as part of Gaudium Musicae Concert Series.
$12-adults / $8-students / $30-families. Free-children 12 years old and under.


David Vanderwal, Evangelist
Eric Jordan, Christ
Carl DuPont, Pilate
Margaret Carpenter Haigh,
Martha Bartz, alto
Glenn Siebert, tenor
Neal Sharpe, bass


It's very unlikely that Bernie's heart surgery will happen before the St. John's Passion performances, because the surgeon mentioned that he is already booked into April.  They also want Bernie to be on the blood thinners and other medications for awhile before they operate, to reduce the possibility of a blood clot and to give his heart a chance to recover and get stronger again prior to surgery.  Personally, I'm hoping that the surgery can be scheduled AFTER Easter, since we have plans to take the boys to see Bernie's parents in Florida over Spring Break.  I think Bernie's mom needs to see her son, and my boys need to see their grandparents.  There's nothing quite like a major health scare to reshuffle our priorities and remind us not to take family for granted.

And now, I'm off to check on my patient, sort some laundry, and hopefully finish assembling that quilt top!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone!

I'm linking up with:
·       Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times
·       Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
·       Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
·       Moving it Forward at Em’s Scrap Bag:


Katie said...

My goodness. Your quilt is going to be very special. Hubby is very special too. Best wishes to both of you that it all goes smoothly. I’m amazed at how early spring has been. I’ve been jealous of all the gorgeous magnolia trees this year. No cold snap to turn anything brown too soon. Of course I’m freezing this weekend. :-)

lvkwilt said...

Any heart issues are scary, but I will tell you that my husband had his first heart attack at 46, a second one at 48, an stents and angioplasty in Dec 99 and is still going strong. It's amazing how well they handle heart issues these days. Prayers for a fast and complete recovery!

QuiltShopGal said...

Sending positive thoughts and prayers for your husband. Don't forget the good news - they caught this early, before any serious damage was done to the heart. While scary and will take awhile for him to heal, catching this is a very good thing. Hang in there. Before you know it this will all be history. Still, I'm sure it is a big scare and I wish you didn't have to go thru this.


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

sounds like a problem that hit my very healthy brother in law last year - normally a very healthy guy all of a sudden was in open heart surgery - I believe it was a valve thing too that they say was congenital. I don't know him well living on the opposite side of the states and haven't seen him in years and only going by what hubby has said. I do hope all will go well - thinking of you and him wishing everyone well - it is scary for you all I'm sure.

Jenny K. Lyon said...

Ah but how wonderful that a seemingly benign symptom pointed to a serious problem that may not have been discovered otherwise! My prayers are with you all-open heart surgery-yikes! The quilt is sooooo pretty and just begging for lovely quilting. I was not aware of a piecing stitch on my machine-I am going to look for it. I should know these things I guess but I don't piece much.

sandi s said...

I will keep your family in my prayers! Hugs,

Karen in Breezy Point said...

I kind of like that rainbow fabric--brings out the colors of your stars, I think! I hope everything goes well--thank goodness this condition was noticed and hopefully can be taken care of. I'm praying you will have many more healthy years together!

Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts said...

I'm sending lots of healing prayers your way! I can only imagine how it must have felt for you and your husband to receive this news. The good news is that he IS young and healthy, which can only help with his recovery. {{HUGS}} to you! I think your baby quilt looks great and I agree with a white border. That pink binding will be a fabulous frame!

Lane said...

Thoughts and prayers. Hang in there!!

Preeti said...

Your house is gorgeous, the tree is lovely and I really really admire the bear paw star quilt blocks. Most importantly, I am sending lots of love, best wishes and good vibes to you and your husband. And kudos to you - you do it all - checking on your patient, laundry, completing the quilt - with style and sass.
P.S. I like the purple border the best.

Nann said...

The quilt is lovely. I envision it with a white inner border, then the rainbow fabric. Glad your husband's heart condition was discovered before something truly terrible occurred!

em's scrapbag said...

Sending prayers and love your way. Good luck to you and your husband. Love the quilt. Had to laugh that you have the same problem I do have having what I put on the design wall end up in the quilt.

em's scrapbag said...

Sending prayers and love your way. Good luck to you and your hubby.
Love the way your quilt turned out. Had to laugh when you described the same issue I have making sure the quilt on the design wall is the one I end up with.

Debbie said...

I know the feeling when your husband (fit active in better health than most ) says he has a cold goes to doctor and then is taken to hospital having a heart attack. 3 stents and 10 years later he celebrated his 65 birthday today. Still active fit and stronger than most men younger. I still remember feeling so lost that first day when he was having the heart attack.

Chris said...

Oh Rebecca! Prayers coming from Idaho, too. I know Bernie will be fine, but it's the in-between time that can be so hard. I've found that quilting can be wonderful therapy so I'm glad you have a projec that needs doing. It's beautitul.

JanyceR said...

Many prayers for you and your husband. Quilt is beautiful!

Unknown said...

Hi Rebecca - I'm so sorry to hear that your husband is facing heart issues. The good news is that these days there is SO MUCH that the doctors can do that they couldn't do to help us even a few years ago.

I so understand the emotions you are going through. Ten years ago my younger daughter (who turns 40 today!) had her first baby, a sweet boy named Gregory. Her pregnancy had been difficult but there was no warning that her baby was anything but perfect. The day after he was born, the pediatrician asked for an EKG and we discovered that Greg had a fairly common but serious heart condition with 3 inter-related heart defects that would require open heart surgery. But they wanted to wait until he grew a little bigger until they did it, probably when he was about 6 months old. So they sent her home with a very fragile baby and told her 'oh, by the way, don't let him cry, it's too hard on his heart.' Well, after a very scary 6 months, they did the open heart surgery and he is now as good as new! He is 10 and big for his age like his Grandpa and smart and outgoing and charming.

It is all so scary I know, but doctors are miracle workers these days! I am not a pray-er, but I so hope things turn out as well for your hubby as they did for my sweet Gregory. Cheers, Claudia W

Jocelyn is Canadian Needle Nana said...

What beautiful exact quilting you do Rebecca. I have a problem with precision that causes me issues as much as I work at it. Meanwhile all the best to your husband and you as you face this medical crisis. Modern medicine has done wonders with the heart treatments.