Archive for July, 2015

Life (part 3)

Father’s day was the hardest Father’s day of all. My youngest let me know that this was the worst Father’s day ever. I had to agree. I did go to see my husband for a few hours and whisper “Happy Father’s Day” to him. He didn’t show any signs of recognition. I began to wonder if he really knew if I was there. The nurses told me that he did, but I wasn’t sure. When he woke up, I went to see him immediately and was completely devastated that even though he was technically awake, he really wasn’t “awake”. I could see recognition in his face, but not the recognition that I was his wife, but more that I was someone that he knew from somewhere.

I began to just sit and hold his hand. That was all I could do.

It was hard to celebrate the 4th of July this year as well. I really wasn’t sure that I had much to celebrate. I began to start questioning everything. Why was life going on without me???? How dare people just walk around like they didn’t know or care what was happening!!!! We saw fireworks with some friends, which proved to be a great distraction. I was so lonely though. My soul was starting to ache in ways that I didn’t know possible.

That following Monday, I received a phone call that my husband had been throwing up blood all night. They would do an endoscopy that morning. I drove over there knowing in the pit of my stomach that this was not going to be okay. That day was the longest day of my life. My husband lost a LOT of blood. They gave him two pints of whole blood and two pints of plasma before bringing him back to his room. Thankfully they did not tell me how much they had given him total that day. I could see blood in his mustache, in his hair, all over. I knew that I had almost lost him that day.

As soon as I left his side to go home and take care of my girls, I started crying. I didn’t know that my heart could rip into so many pieces after it had already been torn. This was real. I was losing him. I just knew it. He was strong. But I knew that we had been skating on the edge all this time. How much longer was it going to last? I knew that we had to hit rock bottom before things would get better. Don’t ask me why, it was just how I felt deep down. This was the rawest most primal fear that I had ever felt. I was a caged tiger being backed into a corner. There was no more room between me and the wall. My claws were coming out. My fur was going up. It was getting harder and harder to answer the well meaning questions that people ask. I knew it was only a matter of time before I bit.


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Life (part 2)

As my husband began to wake up from surgery, I started to get a little panicked. Something was wrong. He was very agitated and started yanking on all of his lines. I tried my best to calm him down but he wasn’t listening. He would seem to acknowledge my presence and them he would try again to pull things out and get out of bed. They had to restrain him. Do you know how hard it is to watch someone you love trying to pull at the very things that are keeping them stable? Harder still to look into their eyes and tell them that you can’t let them go for their own good.

As he got more and more agitated, I was shooed out of the room and he was xray’d. His lungs had collapsed. The original hope that he would be able to come home in two weeks tops went right out the window. He was intubated immediately. My heart dropped through the floor.

I talked to him, but he didn’t seem to hear me. No squeeze of the hand, nothing. I started getting the ‘sad eye’ from some of the staff. I wouldn’t let our two daughter’s see him.  I had made a promise to him that they wouldn’t see him with tubes. coming out of him.

As days turned into a week, I was told that he had pneumonia and a medication resistant fever. How was this happening?!?!?!? Why God? Why would you do this too him? Why would you take his mother and try to take him? Furthermore, why the hell would you do this to me and my kids!?!?!? I don’t think I have ever cried so much in my life.

The news continued to get worse as days turned into weeks. He was not kicking the fever. He had more heart attacks. They had to go in and add three out of six stints. They had to stop after three because it appeared that his heart started bleeding. Tears were my constant companion. I would spend hours in the evenings watching QVC ( My mother-in-laws’ favorite) and just rocking. What else was I going to do? I prayed but it didn’t seem like God was listening. Everyday there was something. He got blood clots in his lungs. They couldn’t wean him off of the ventilator due to the clots and pneumonia so they had to cut a tracheostomy. His fever broke and then came back with a vengeance. The doctors wouldn’t give me a timeline for recovery. My prayers then changed from “please make him better” to ” God please don’t let him suffer anymore.”

I began to hate the flowers out in the front of the hospital. I couldn’t handle some of the simplest comments from people who meant well. There was no manual for this. How was I going to take care of my children? How was I supposed to live life alone? Why God? Why? Then out of nowhere, a calm came over me. It was going to be ok. No matter what happened, God was going to provide. Random people provided meals, sent cards, and gave hugs. I could see God in that.

I have always looked for God. I couldn’t understand why He wouldn’t talk to me or help me. I began to realize that in my desperate efforts to protect myself from people, that I was shutting HIM out. You see, He was providing all the love and support that I needed for that time in the form of these people. He was still in control. He knew what would happen to my husband. All I needed to do was be the best wife and mom that I could. He would take care of the rest. I am a control freak. For me to relinquish my perceived control, is a huge deal.

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On June 3rd, 2015; my mother-in-law passed away in her sleep. It was definitely unexpected. I suppose I had a rocky start with her , in the beginning; but we managed to get a lot closer in the past two years. Little did I know that this was just the beginning to the avalanche that had been set into motion.

June 4th, 2015 was a busy day filled with funeral arrangements and consoling my children on the loss of their grandma. It seemed like it would end in an ordinary way as well. My husband insisted that I go to the final evening of a college class that I was taking. I felt heavy hearted and torn. I wasn’t sure why. My husband has always supported my education endeavors and I was hoping that he just wanted something predictatble in his day. So I went.

At 8pm, I received an phone call that I had dreaded since the day we had gotten married. My husband was having a heart attack. My heart dropped through the floor. His family had a history of of severe heart disease. His male relatives rarely made it past 65 years old. His grandfather died in his 50’s. His father died in his 60’s. His uncle had already had multiple heart attacks.

As I raced to the hospital, praying and sobbing; I realized that driver’s are jerks. If you see a car with their hazards on, get out of their way!!! I was flagged and flipped off because I would not turn mine off. I would have thought that my ‘ugly cry’ would have tipped them off. Clearly not.

As I arrived at the emergency room, it became clear that he was in the middle of a heart attack. He needed to under-go an immediate heart cath to relieve whatever was causing the issue. It was a quick hour procedure, the surgeon was very pleasant. He had no voice, due to allergies. He was very kind and drew a doctor scribble to show me that my husband would need a quadruple bypass the following Monday. My head started swimming. They would not release him to go to the funeral. I felt like I had swallowed a grenade.

Monday came quickly. Too quickly. It was a six hour procedure. What I thought would be the longest six hours of my life. It wasn’t.

The surgeon came out with a very serious look on his face. I don’t think I breathed the whole time he was talking. It turned out that my husband had had a heart attack before. Maybe a few years ago. A massive one. I couldn’t hear anymore. My heart was pounding and I walked away. I found the closest bathroom and threw up. Then I went to the hospital chapel and let my heart break into pieces. I don’t know how long I was there. I don’t know who all could hear me. I didn’t care. My husband was slipping away and I couldn’t do anything about it.

The pastor who performed our wedding ceremony walked in to speak to me and offer some comfort. His beautiful granddaughter had died after a battle with cancer. And he still believed in God’s mercy and love. His voice and familiar face seemed to calm my insides. I felt completely shattered. My husband had had a previous heart attack and didn’t tell me. Didn’t tell anyone. I was sure that it was my fault. I stressed him out too much. I wasn’t a good enough wife. I hate housework. I’m not the best cook in the world. And I certainly wasn’t in a hurry to have relations lately.

An hour later, I got to go and see my husband in ICU. I walked into the room and what was left of my heart, completely turned to dust. The man that I loved, was laid out on a hospital bed with a huge scar on his chest, IV’s and tubes everywhere. My husband is a big, burly, barrel chested, 6’1″ tall man. He grew up on a ranch. Lover of John Wayne and anything else ‘manly’. Now he was laying lifeless on more machines than I could count. I had been a nursing student until shiftwork disorder killed that dream; so I was no stranger to hospitals and procedures. There is something different about having someone, that you love to your core; completely at the mercy of machines.

I didn’t think it could get worse. But it did.

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