Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Though I Walk Thru the Valley....

The realization that I have not written in four months hit home tonight.  I apologize to my readers for taking such a long hiatus.  My friend Kel refers to this blog as her "Sunday Paper."  Although I provided her with a phone update, I'm surprised she hasn't fired me yet :)

My last blog entry was dated March 2nd.  My husband C was weeks away from a planned surgery.  Before I explain recent events, let me start at the beginning.

Almost ten years ago (before we were married), C had symptoms that would alarm anyone.  After suffering with the symptoms for almost 7 hours, I woke up and received a message (from him) that something was clearly wrong.  I drove to his location and convinced him that medical attention was necessary.  A couple of hours later, we were sitting in a local emergency room.  Once we entered the e.r., C began undergoing tests and examinations.  Soon after, the same alarming symptoms reappeared; They were clear indications of internal bleeding.  I contacted his family, and I waited for their arrival.  C was transferred upstairs (to ICU) for further testing.  His family and I waited patiently.  When a code blue was called, we couldn't imagine that it was him.  Our worst fears quickly became a reality.  C had coded during the test.  He was dying.  Emergency surgery was his only hope.  This was at approximately 2pm.  Family signed consents.  We waited.  Around 11pm, we received word that the surgery was over & C was in recovery.  We were allowed to see him at 12:30am.  The visit was brief.  

Over the course of the next week, I held vigil by his bedside.  It was a long and arduous recovery that lasted about four months.  Feelings I had had for C prior to this emergency had only grown.  I had faced the possibility of losing him but was given another chance.  It was (probably) then that I knew we belonged together.

Life continued as it does.  We moved in together, got married, and started our family.  As time ticked on, we moved past the fear of the early medical scares.  

Two-and-a-half years ago, we were awaiting the arrival of Josiah.  I was eight months pregnant.  My brother S died suddenly.  Two weeks later, C woke up with the same symptoms that alarmed me years earlier.  This time, we wasted no time.  911 was called.  C was taken out of the house in an ambulance.  The big boys (ages 4 and 2) were in the house.  I sat on the steps (very pregnant) and watched them drive C away.  My Mom came to watch the boys and I raced to the hospital.  C was released two days later.  24 hours after his release, the same symptoms reappeared.  Again, 911 was called.  C was rushed out by ambulance.  My Mom raced to the house.  I wasn't sure how much more I could bear, but proceeded to the hospital.  Ultimately, C was transferred to the hospital in the city (via the med flight team); I followed behind in the car.  It was about 1pm.  At 10pm, the surgeon decided that another surgery was needed.  It was an intense surgery, but C made it home in about a week.  Josiah was born one week later.

Though C hasn't been well and continued to struggle with the underlying cause (ulcers), time began to diminish the fear.  In January, we discovered that the ulcers were aggressive and posed another life-threatening medical crisis.  After much consideration, the doctors suggested a planned surgery in an effort to avoid another emergency.

On March 29th, C went in for a planned surgery (to remove his stomach).  Surgery went well (only lasting about 4 hours).  C was looking good.  On day four of recovery, C developed pneumonia.  He was transferred to the ICU and placed on life support.  Time continued as it always does.  My friend C helped me in every way humanly possible.  She drove kids to school, helped with Josiah, picked kids up for school, took the kids to give me a break, drove me to see C, let me cry on her shoulder, was a sounding board, and (some days) was my rock, my inspiration and my strength.

As time ticked on, I feared the outcome.  By day five (on life support), I wondered what the immediate future held for our family.  I wondered if tragedy was about to commence.  I cannot truly explain, in words, the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that I encountered during those trying days.  C ultimately was removed from life support.  He was sent to a rehabilitation facility (due to the inability to walk).  When all was said and done, C was gone for one month.  He returned home on April 30th.

His return home has been a joyous one.  However, this 'recovery' is proving not to be so much a 'recovery' as it is a 'change in lifestyle' (eating, etc).  C cannot lift anything over five pounds, for at least one year.  He cannot eat more than an ounce or two at a time, but must eat often.  He's in pain often.  It is not always easy.

It has truly taken this long for me to start to feel comfortable again.

I am grateful to have my husband home.  I also fear what lies ahead.  Though an optimist at heart, I pray we have no more medical crisis adventures waiting for us.


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