Sunday, February 23, 2014

Stand By Me

     I don't have nights like last night very often, but when I do, they hit with a brutality that's unmatched to anything else I've ever experienced. My husband's been hospitalized again; he's been there since Friday night because after he went to the ER with pain shooting from his back to his legs, they did a CT of his spine and the doctor on call was unable to be sure of what she was seeing because it was so fucked. A specialist was called, who was only able to look at the films quickly before being called away on an emergency, but whatever she saw was enough to order my husband's immediate admittance.

     I'm just tired. I don't even want to get into the details of what's wrong this time, because it doesn't really matter. Cyst(s) in his spinal column, unknown how many or how we're going to deal with them. He's been put on a heparin drip because the decision was made to do a myelogram, which is a type of CT scan that involves injecting a dye into the spinal column. This isn't a simple thing for people on blood thinners, because you don't really want blood seeping into the spinal fluid from the puncture, which is what's likely to happen when your blood is 2-3 times thinner than it should be. I'm getting ahead of myself, though.

     Last summer, when my husband was in and out of the hospital for all but like, 8 days of the month of July, a cyst was found incidentally during a routine CT for back pain. Even though the ER doctor wasn't able to tell us exactly what it was at that point, we had a pretty good idea. There are these things called Tarlov cysts, which are nasty little fuckers and which I am not going to try and explain. Google it, if you care to find out more about them. The short version is, they're nerve-filled cysts that form in the spinal column and are a bitch to deal with because touching them can cause them to rupture. Also there's no known effective treatment for them because no one's quite figured out why they form, so there's that.

     Sigh. Looks like I'm getting into the details anyway.

     My husband's still in the hospital and it was yesterday that the neurologist came in to discuss the myelogram with him. It's a necessary thing, he said, because they can't tell from a regular CT how many cysts they're dealing with, or if it's even multiple cysts; could just be one big one. Well, my husband's had one of these procedures done before and he knew it involved a lumbar puncture. Last time he agreed to one of those, he ended up having a mini-stroke as a result of going off his blood thinners, which is what he had to do to minimize the possibility of blood seeping into the spinal column via the puncture site.

      When he brought this to the neuro's attention, the doctor told him that he understood his concerns, but there was really no other choice; it was a risk we'd have to take. See, the other option for discerning what the hell was happening in my husband's lower spine was an MRI, which isn't actually an option at all, due to all the metal in his body. Three titanium rods and a titanium aortic valve kind of do bad things to the images, plus my husband is convinced the MRI machine will dislodge his valve, irrational as that is. (Pretty sure it's an impossibility, actually.) So suck it up, buttercup, 'cause here we go.

      According to the all-knowing Google, it was Winston Churchill who said, "If you're going through hell, keep going." Smart guy, Mr. Churchill, if it was indeed he who uttered those words. I'm actually pretty good at keeping up a brisk pace on my way through trying situations, because I think it's stupid to do otherwise. I mean, you can lay down and cry about it, but you'll still be in hell when the tears are gone and no closer to getting out than you were when you started. So why wouldn't you march the hell on? Except I guess it's not always possible to keep it moving without assistance.

     As much as I hate to admit it, I lost it last night; the weight of everything that's happening and everything that's already there threatened to break my shoulders and I couldn't see. I just couldn't see anything in front of me, and everything that was clawing at my throat erupted into full-on, broken-hearted, lost in the dark with no hope crying. I actually started this post last night, but couldn't get anything to make sense, so I had to walk away. I didn't know who to call, because I would have alarmed my husband had I called him while I was in such a state and it would have been made worse by the fact that he couldn't get to me, being hospital-bound and all. I hesitated to do it, because my pride usually keeps me from talking to anyone when things go completely sideways like that, but I ended up calling my sister.

     I shouldn't have hesitated, because she was the exact right person to call. I mean, she's my sister. Lizzie's head is the closest thing to my own and she knew exactly the right tone, exactly the right balance of sympathy and "You're a Gale, we do not fail, we make game plans and execute them" to employ. It's nice, when you don't have the words and they're not needed anyway, because the other person just knows, even from seven hundred miles away.

     So we game-planned, and we talked, and at the end, I was calm enough to make a bed on the couch and fall asleep with the tv on. It wasn't a good sleep, as it never is when my husband's not with me, but it was better than nothing. No solid conclusions were come to, but at least I was able to get my brain to remember that it's not hopeless and there's always a way. Miles and miles and miles to go before I can rest, yeah, but I'm not traveling by myself, and that's not nothing.




D.K.Style said...

I don't have much that I think would be that helpful, but I wanted to say thanks for sharing and I hope you find a little bit of peace in the midst of all this madness

Kris K said...

You taking a moment to leave me a kind message is more than helpful. Thank you.

Sischo Family said...

The loneliness at these times is so hard. I feel your pain. Your blog makes me feel like I'm not alone. YOU are not alone. The "damned if you do & damned if you don't" procedure ballet is infuriating. My husband & I go through it too many times to count. Nobody ever told us that once the heart is "fixed" and life is "good" that the dural sac will go up in smoke. Just remember, you can always go "sideways" on here, because you have people that care and understand your pain and frustration.

Kris K said...

Sischo Family - that's exactly it! It's like, we fix one problem, only to have another pop up two weeks later. It's a constant fight to stay ahead of the next leak in the boat and I swear, both my husband and I are ready to pull our hair out some days. He's still in the hospital, can't come home for another 3-5 days, because...wait for it...they had to pull him off his coumadin to do the myelogram and now they can't bridge him back with anything but a heparin drip. Which would not have been an issue in the first place if he didn't have the mechanical valve. I just. Ugh.