I promised a for-really-reals post, didn’t I? And you guys deserve to know why I more or less dropped off the face of the blogPlanet for a bit.
A number of things came up that were a touch challenging
…. Well, that was disingenuous, wasn’t it? Let me start again.
A giant pile of amazingly difficult, stressful, emotionally craptastic things suddenly exploded in my life all at the same time.
I was under a great deal of stress, and then? Then there was an incident1 that pushed everything into a cascading waterfall of suck.
As y’all know, I have been going to school to get my English degree. It has been terrifying, awesome, intense, and has pushed me into a better understanding of my works and words. Surprisingly2, I have a tendency to be extraordinarily demanding of myself. I require A’s from myself, especially if it is in what I consider my wheelhouse, i.e., English courses.
This coupled with normal life things – daughter, almost-husband, pets, house, family, etc. etc. – meant that I was under a stupid amount of stress.
And then Mister Man got sick.
No. I mean really, really sick.
It was on late afternoon, December 2. Mister Man had had the flu all week; we were hoping that it would clear itself up because we were planning on going to his family’s place for a week long holiday visit later that month. He was laying down in our bedroom and I was in my office working on school stuff.
Huh. Do you know that all this is somewhat hazy in my mind? Some parts stand out extra-clear, but some of it is just behind this fog of chaos.
At any rate, I went in to check on him because it was evening and he’d not stirred out of the bed all day. Not even to shower. I tried to get him up to get cleaned up, he was hot from the fever and I thought that maybe the water would feel good. He was protesting with that vague grunty noise that everyone makes to negate being bothered. I asked him a question – I forget what – but the answer he gave me made absolutely no sense. They were words, however they didn’t even come close to being either an answer to my question, or much in the way of being sensibly strung together.
I tried talking to him again, and he still made no sense. It was at this point that the thought “stroke” first popped into my brain. Then because my brain is a total sadist, it followed that up with “aneurysm” and “brain damage from high fever.”
Did y’all know that getting a man who outweighs you by a 100+ pounds, is a trauma nurse3, and doesn’t want to go to the hospital is wee bit of a Herculean task?
The only way I finally got him out the door and into the car was a.) calling the Mayo Clinic and basically having her tell him to listen to me and go to the hospital and then b.) telling him that he was going to the hospital and it was his goddamn choice if he was going to spend the extra $1000 for an ambulance ride or not.
By the way. If you ever have the choice between navigating a large, semi-raving man down carpeted stairs and giving birth to a porcupine who is on fire? Go with that second, less-painful choice.4
Fortunately, there is a large and relatively new hospital right down the road from us. I made that drive in record time, let me tell you. The walk from the parking lot to the waiting, a stroll of about 150 feet, exhausted Mister Man. He was still only making the barest bit of sense. During the triage portion, the admitting nurse gave me The Look.
You know The Look, don’t you?
Yeah. It’s the one that tells you that things are grim. It goes on to say that you should be prepared to spend time (maybe a lot of time) in the hospital. They took him back to the emergency cubicles and we began the wait for the doctor. In the meantime, they came in and got his IV(s) started, got him hooked up to All The Machines, and came in periodically to give me more versions of The Look.
I tracked down my BFF and she grabbed The Girl from her Dad’s where she was visiting for the weekend. I know that there was other stuff going on, but I truly am having trouble putting it all together. It was horrific and yet mind-numbing. I mostly tried to keep Mister Man from pulling his IVs out, as by now he was thrashing from fever and delirium.
Eventually the doctor came in to see us. He was going to be admitted because he was very sick. Bacterial meningitis was the first diagnosis. They came in to give him a lumbar puncture to verify the diagnosis. And missed.
And then, missed again.
Third time was the charm though! Lucky Mister Man. They ran tests and came back to say
I was just glad that it wasn’t a stroke or aneurysm. By now, they had him up in the ICU. He was on enough medication – including broad-spectrum antibiotics – to stop an elephant in its tracks.
The second diagnosis was encephalitis.
Oh. Um. Well, how about we do some blood cultures and figure out what is going on?
You know what? I’m not going to drag you kids all the way through the same crap. I’ll just spit out the final diagnosis and the upshot of it.
He had endocarditis. It destroyed two of his valves, the mitral and the aortic. Literally shredded them. He had to have open heart surgery to replace them with mechanical valves and is now5 on Coumadin. The likelihood is that he will have to undergo another open heart surgery in about twenty or so years – which is the valve’s working lifespan.
He was in the hospital from December 2 until January 4.
It has been a bit of a struggle to get things under control again. We are doing SO MUCH BETTER, guys. So much. But, the emotional backlash has been a bit harsh. There is talking and therapy and exercise programs and more talking and and and.
I’ll post more on the “and and and” bits later this week. It is a lovely spring day and I am going to go be outside in it.
We’ll talk later, OK?
1 – Yes, I am going to explain. Just be aware that I am not going to do much editing or polishing of this.
2 – Sarcasm alert.
3 – read: Difficult patient in the BEST of times.
4 – props to Mr. Richard Jeni for that line. J
5 – and will be for the rest of his life.