Monday, June 11, 2012

Time to Get Ill

     I forget sometimes that people actually do read this blog with a certain amount of regularity, people who are not me and are not my husband. I think because I keep it like I keep my paper journal, I tend to believe that the whole business is solely for record-keeping purposes, something that my husband and I can go back and visit when we need to remember the chronology of something. That, or an easy way to get information about my husband's health to the people who love him on the other side of the country. As I've said before, I prefer this method because I can update our loved ones with what's going on without having to bug them with phone calls every time something happens. Every so often, though, someone I don't know will email me to tell me that they're following my writing. That makes me so happy to read, and even happier when those people send well-wishes my way because they know something bad has happened with my husband's health. Thanks for that, more than you know.

     My end of that bargain is to keep this blog updated as much as possible and as the aforementioned emailer (is that a word?) kindly pointed out, I've been lacking a bit in that area of late. True, I'm still in school, but my homework is much less this semester, as I'm only taking one class instead of four. I've got much more time to write now; I just need a kick every so often to get my lazy ass off Pinterest and over to my blog. What followed in the days after my husband's mini-stroke was really nothing that would raise any alarms, with maybe the exception of the fact that his blood wasn't thinning out quite as quickly as we'd assumed it would. When he went back to his doctor on the Friday following his hospitalization, his INR levels were still nowhere near where they needed to be.

     The number were slowing edging their way to the appropriate levels, though, so nobody thought much of it. And as it turns out, that wasn't even the reason I had to take him to the emergency room (again) last Tuesday. When I came home after my workout that night, I walked into the living room to find my husband curled up on the floor on top of his heating pad. That's never a good thing, but it was made worse by the fact that he was trying really hard not to move at all, which is a sure sign that the pain is becoming unbearable, if it's not there already. I asked him if it was time to go to the hospital and got an answer in the negative. I knew that was bullshit, but I let it lie and went to take a shower. I was pretty damn sure that he'd still be in the same place when I came back.

     For a girl who hates being wrong as much as I do, I really wish I was sometimes when it comes to my husband's health. Sure enough, there he was, curled in a ball in the same spot, trying to pretend it wasn't as bad as it so clearly was. While I have no desire to portray myself as less than pleasant, the truth of the matter is that there are times when my husband, for various reasons, refuses to acknowledge just how bad the given situation is and will NOT request that I take him to the hospital. This was one of those times. Lucky for him, I have absolutely zero qualms about pulling out the Unpleasant Wife card when I think he's in need of medical assistance, so I got down on the floor and I got in his face and I told him that we were going to the hospital.

      It was one of those times when the pain in his back was so bad that I had to prop him up while I put his shoes on, because there was no way he could do it. As soon as I had them on and he was ready to go, I grabbed his cane from the kitchen, as he needed it to get out to the car. What we really needed was his walker, but that lives at my in-laws' house in North Carolina, so we made do with what we had. I know how much he hates having to use his cane, but there wasn't really another option, seeing as how he was having a hard time staying upright long enough to get to the car.

     The ER was packed when we got there, as it so often is. I mean, it was so crowded I couldn't even stop at the front doors to get a wheelchair for him to be taken in with. I just continued on to the underground parking and, with the assistance of a kind stranger who saw me struggling to get him out of the car, got my husband into the elevator and checked in at the triage desk. And let me tell you, that right there, the getting him checked in at the triage desk? That was a feat and a half that night, as there was some little jackass with a sense of entitlement who thought it was a-ok to speak to the nurse as though she were beneath him, using every variation of the word "fuck" that he could think of in the process. This continued until the security guard simply wheeled him out the front doors, profanities streaming behind him. As soon as he was gone, damned if another one didn't start arguing with the same beleaguered nurse. Sigh...

     It was at this point that I decided to leave my husband in the nurses' capable hands, because there was no room for me there anyway. I told him to text me when they took him back to the treatment rooms and I would come back to pass the time with him until they let him go. At this point, we both assumed the usual battery of tests would be run while he was hooked up to an IV of Dilaudid and when nothing out of the ordinary was found, he would be released with a prescription for painkillers and instructions to come back if it got worse. That's how it always goes, that's how it's gone all 6,732 times we've done this before. I ran to get food from the nearest twenty-four hour drive-thru, figuring I'd get a text message before I'd even eaten.

      I didn't, though, nor did I get one after settling down in bed to watch an episode or two of Friends to kill time until I could go back to the hospital. It was past midnight by this point and still no news from my husband. Finally, sometime after I'd drifted off, the opening distortion of White Zombie's "Electric Head, Pt.2" rocking out of my BlackBerry jarred me awake. It was three in the morning by this point and my husband was being admitted. Not because of the back pain, but because his blood was still too thick and the doctors were not comfortable letting him go home so soon after he'd just had a fairly significant neurological event. Um. Something just wasn't adding up for me.

     Maybe it was because it was the wee hours of the morning, maybe it was because I was running on nothing more than broken patches of sleep at this point and I had to be at work at nine, or maybe it was because I just couldn't get my brain to function properly, but I did NOT understand what the hell my husband's stroke-like adventures from the previous week had anything to do with this visit. When I voiced this to him, he wasn't able to give me much information, as the doctors hadn't been super-forthcoming on their end as of yet. All we had to go on was that they weren't comfortable letting him go home and that he was being admitted for observation. And thus began an almost week-long hospital stay that was a bit different from those he'd had before...

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