Diary of a Hospital Honeymoon

Day 1-

ER is so cool! I feel like I’m in a TV show. Any minute a crash cart will go flying by and a miraculous life will be saved. Gosh, Jason sure looks uncomfortable on that stretcher bed. Maybe, I should hold his hand. It’s so neat when he calls me his wife. That’s me! Now they are admitting him for a night. Oh boy, that sounds scary. But how bad could ONE night be? Surely, they will have it all figured out by tomorrow. This will be fun! I’ll make it fun. Ohhhhh, look at our room. It’s nice. It has three windows with nice wood blinds and we have a tree view. Cool! The nurse gave me pillows and blankets for my fold out chair bed. I’m such a good wife to sleep next my hubby even in the hospital. My poor honey. What a crazy honeymoon, we will always remember this.

Day 2-

Luckily someone came by to bring me hot food. Every time I leave the room to pee or get coffee a doctor comes by and I miss what they say. I’m determined to never leave or shower again. That bed was hard and makes terrible sounds when I turn over. Someone must have turned on the lights and came in the room almost every hour. Uuuggh. My poor husband. I am so glad we are married so I can be by his side. They call us the newlyweds and tease that they have to knock before they enter our room. Isn’t that cute? The dumb doctors still don’t know anything. It’s Friday and they are ready for the weekend. They can’t even tell us when we might be able to leave. Another night camping for us, I should pick up some more trail mix the next vending machine run. I’ll have to hurry so I don’t miss a doctor or a nurse. Why don’t they know what’s wrong yet? Maybe the test Monday will give us answers. I can totally do this wait it out thing. We took vows people.

Day 3-

Jason was up all night going to the bathroom. Looks like the diuretics kicked in. I totally slept through the whole thing on my chair bed. I only woke up twice when they took vitals and turned on the lights. I’m getting really good about being able to sleep through those. He said I was snoring. I guess he is a little grumpy from not having a lot of sleep. Gee. At least he is looking better and is not as puffy. I was afraid they’d have to cut the new wedding ring off. Now, that would be sad. I am really ready for him to be better. I was looking forward to the movies this weekend. I guess he wasn’t faking it last week when he was complaining of feeling bad. Heck, we just didn’t have time to be sick in the middle of wedding planning. My sister and her husband came back up and I sure had a nice visit away from the hospital. I didn’t even miss anything. How cool is that? I loved being treated to lunch and dinner. Jason has been feeling nauseated. I’m not sure if it’s his mystery illness or the hospital food. I think that hospital food is real awful. Sure looks it. The doctors still know NOTHING. What a waste of medical school. So glad I said I DO before we got here. I just love being his wife.

Day 4 –

Holy crap, my back huuurts. Ow that &*(@# bed. That’s not a bed, it’s a back twisting torture device. And how many times do they have to check him at night? I mean really? Don’t they have monitors they can watch? And do they have to be so loud in the hall? It sounded like a party. Gah. I haven’t had a decent cup of coffee in four days. FOUR. I stole some of the bath baby wipes to “freshen” up. I don’t think anyone will notice. I wish I could have warmed them up like they did for him. Today is the day Jason has to get up and walk the hall. We are calling it our honeymoon stroll. Aww. Just like the beach (sorta).

My new husband in all his hospital gown hotness.

It’s Sunday, so of course, no one knows what is wrong with him yet. The fill-in doctors come by to check-in. They just mark their visit in the books. They don’t do anything. Jason’s feet touch the end of the bed. I think he is too big for it. It sure doesn’t look comfortable. Not looking forward to laying in the torture device tonight. I have a permanent crick in my lower back left side now. Supposedly, there are tests in the morning but they can’t say for sure since the doc did not order them before he was off for the weekend. What kind of hospital is this? I am soooo ready to go home. This wifely thing is hard.

Day 5-

I have to sit down like an old person. My back is cracked. I must leave here and get Tylenol soon. Ouch. Maybe they will do the test and we can go home. Jason looks worse. I think this hospital made him sicker. I held his hand and knocked his IV astray. It caused bleeding. Oh gee. I didn’t mean to. This is sooo not fun anymore. I cried and felt very selfish. I am just soooo tired of not doing anything. It’s like there is no time here. It’s the same time every day. The only change is the nurses. I found the cafeteria. I am afraid to eat there after seeing Jason’s food and stuck with the vending machines again. Everyone is working so I ran out for hot food while Jason was taken for a CT scan on his head.The doctors decided not to do the heart cath test they prepared us for. Apparently, they made Jason dehydrated with all the diuretics. He lost 11 liters of fluid and dried out his kidneys. Now, he can’t tolerate the dye. Two days ago it was a must do. Now, he doesn’t need it. I hate this place! They can just say whatever they want and they STILL don’t know what is wrong with him. Looks like an extended honeymoon for us. Woo! I cleaned the room and organized our belongings. I used a bath wipe to clean my phone and wipe off his rolling tray. This place is making me weird crazy. But we are making newlywed memories. P.S. I might be committed soon…….

Happy honeymoon sweetie!

To be continued……

In Sickness

And in health.

I stumbled on that vow. I hesitated forming the words. I stood in that beautiful Church facing my handsome husband and I faltered……

What I wanted to say was in sickness and in sickness. I knew I was marrying a type 1 diabetic. I had experience with one in 2004, an uncle I loved dearly. I was also raised by a step-dad with polio. I knew sickness. I was raised with sickness. I embraced this man’s sickness because that is what I vowed to do. In health? Not so much. It was the sickness I pledged to stand by.

For richer or poorer, meh, I’ll take either.

Love and honor – absolutely.

Until death due us part – I wouldn’t miss a thing. Life is a gift. Scratch that. Life with him is a gift.

Today, I write this blog post from a hospital room.

My husband started feeling worse and worse a few days after the wedding. He hadn’t been feeling completely well for a while. He had gone to the urgent care center a week before the wedding and got diagnosed with bronchitis. They gave him an antibiotics shot, but he still hadn’t quite kicked it ten days later. When breathing laying down got difficult, and his face started swelling. He ventured back to the neighborhood clinic.

They took an x-ray of his lungs and compared it with ten days before, along with his blood work. The x-ray showed more fluid build-up on his lungs, and the blood work showed loss of blood – significantly. Enough that they recommended him going to the ER with their blessing. I couldn’t believe it when he called me.

What? Emergency room? Double pneumonia? Hemoglobin drop? WHAT?

I met him there and waited in the ER. What I expected was an IV of antibiotics and a possible over night stay. But that wasn’t to be. While there was fluid on his lungs, there was not a rise in white blood cells. Nor was he feverish, coughing, or showing signs of pneumonia. The ER doctor that came to admit him advised us, it was not pneumonia, but looked more like congestive heart failure.

Heart failure. *gulp*

My jaw dropped to the floor. My heart and stomach quickly followed.

*PLOP*

All splayed out in a pile of, “What the crap!”. Four days ago I said I DO, or I will, or actually I said vow by vow repeated after the minister in front of God, and 70 or so witnesses. I had no idea how fast those bonds would be put to the test.

I trust God. I do. There are so many blessings about this moment. We had canceled the honeymoon to Canada because of Jason’s mom. It was possible she would have a second surgery this week and we didn’t want to be out of the country when it happened. Come to find out, she did not, but she did get moved out of ICU. We got to talk to her the day before our ER visit. It was wonderful news. It was joyful tears to love on her awake and aware and I’m glad we didn’t miss it.

I am also glad we were not in Canada and unsure of the health care and procedures. I am glad we were not thousands of miles away from our friends and family. I am glad we were not on top of Whistler Mountain – far away from anywhere or anything. I am glad we were not zipping through time and space on an airplane high up in the sky. So many things….that could have been so much worse.

Instead, we take the hospital honeymoon trip. Complete with an HD TV.

Three delicious meals a day by room service (for him anyway). Daily social visits by doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists. Tons of time together. No kids or dogs. I can even get coffee most hours of the day in the waiting room concierge lounge. It’s all-inclusive folks. Stop being so jealous.

And hey, it’s like camping…..

We are on day three here. All we know for sure is that his heart is not damaged. He does have an enlarged left ventricle, but that is not completely uncommon for a diabetic man with high blood pressure. They were able to relieve him of five LITERS of fluid, so he can breathe easier although there is still fluid on and in his lungs.

We have a test on Monday to check for artery blockage and to fix them if he has any through a heart cath. If it’s not that, it could be a number of things they are hoping to eliminate with tests. Nothing is determined, and not much has been ruled out. It could be congestive heart failure, or it could be a mean virus that caused cardiac issues.

No matter what it is. No matter what our future holds with his health. I will be here.

In sickness, and in sickness……because that is what I pledged to do six days ago.

Delicately we move forward

During rush hour in Arlington, Texas, Tuesday night, a critical care ambulance moved Sue to a new hospital near downtown Dallas, and a new ICU bed. A place filled with experts on neurological aneurysms. Experts on cases like hers.
Even before we got to see her, we felt immense relief. We felt it was the right place. We felt the vast difference in everything medical related.

More assuring was the first doctor that came to consult. Letting us know that she was settled and they had a team of surgeons look at what she came in with. They were confident of the procedure they wanted to do, which was NOT open head surgery to clamp the aneurysm, but a coil procedure to fill it and support it. The coil required no opening of the head since they went through the groin area. The presentation of their recommendation was VASTLY different from XYZ hospital. Suddenly the coil, which the experts suggested (not offering a choice), made perfect sense. Why open her brain if it wasn’t the best option? We wouldn’t, of course. It was a win, win all around.

Again, great comfort, and blessing to be moved to this hospital and KNOW they were looking out for HER, and not for what procedure that hadn’t done in a while. Either procedure had been done at that hospital yesterday. It was common practice. If something were to go wrong, they would proceed to the second surgery option immediately and come get her husband’s authorization. Our prayers were answered, we were in good hands.

She was alert and could speak when woken up. In fact, she has been alert, talking, and moving from day one, which is very encouraging to us. She gave the doctors her medical history herself. She held our hand and said she loved us as many times as we held hers and told her the same thing. She passed all the tests from the neuro exam except her left side was weak and only moved when pushing on the pressure points. We considered that being part of the brain pressure from the aneurysm.

The proper medical term for her condition is subarachnoid hemorrhage.

    sub·arach·noid definition
    Function: adj
    1 : situated or occurring under the arachnoid membrane
    2 : of, relating to, or involving the subarachnoid space and the fluid within it

It’s referring to where her bleeding occurred. Basically, it’s something that was already there. A bubble if you will. What happened is this bubble, she has had all her life, suddenly split and started bleeding into her brain. I say all that, because she has been confused by others as having a stroke. She DID not have a stroke. She had an aneurysm and 40% don’t live through it, because normally they burst, not split. When it ruptures vs leaks, it is instant death.

Yesterday morning, they did the coil surgery. We are assured her recovery in ICU is approximately fourteen days. As you know, fourteen days is nothing. A walk in the park and knowing her, she will somehow, someway swing a day pass to the wedding. Either way, I am just happy she WILL recover. I have no doubt, something awful would have happened at XYZ hospital. I could feel it. I don’t feel that way at this hospital. The surgery procedure has a 92-95% success rate. Not to mention, it’s all being handled before the 72 hour window of time.

However, when the surgeon comes back, it’s not as simple as we hoped. They weren’t able to insert enough coils. They did get quite a few in. It will stop any re-bleed from happening – all good. The bad….another coil surgery in two weeks, plus a shunt to put in underneath the coils to help support that area; in other words two more weeks of delicate care, not recovery care like we hoped. The news that knocked me in the stomach was the fact that during the scans they discovered a clot in her brain about 24 hours old, occurring at XYZ hospital, it was too old to fix it. THIS was in fact a stroke, and THAT was the reason for her left side weakness.

I know I should be positive and blessed and praising all involved and I am. She is still with us. She is still able to move her right side (and at time of post her left leg). She will, with time and therapy, regain full function (after the second coil surgery and recovery). But it will be a long, hard road. I hate that for her.

She is missing those little grandbaby hugs, that she needs and they need. Missing those tight little embraces that only Grandma Sue can give. An embrace to find love, and reassurance. Can I just for one second grieve the loss of that, for them and for her, and for us, just for this little while? I know she is going to miss giving them and they will miss receiving them. Not for fourteen days, but for at least six weeks, and quite possible months.

The heartbeat of the wedding lays in a critical care bed. Her magic wedding fingertips restrained to keep from pulling tubes. The excitement and plans she made locked under a bandage, all hope of her recovery in time for her son’s big day – shattered. All I can do is pray the magic revives coming back to honor her. To spark new life for the hard work she has already done.

I hope I will find the strength to finish what we started and make her proud. But just for a minute, can I be sad? Can I miss that she won’t be there? Can I say this is one of the hardest things I have ever dealt with? The family has ever dealt with?

It’s not like either of us have many parents or grandparents. In fact between us, we have three. My mom, his mom, and step dad. That’s it.

No living grandparents and no fathers.

It’s hard for me to focus on anything wedding without thinking of her and hurting. I’m not sad for me. I’m sad for HER. I’m sad for Jason, but mostly I miss my friend. I miss our planning. I miss our shopping and designing. I would give anything to have her health back. In fact, we have all made up our Christmas wish lists for the next dozen seasons – her health – the only thing listed.

It is a long road ahead, but we will continue by her side supporting her until her full recovery. I will drive to Dallas EVERY day. I know the way and the garage well. Jason is staying some nights there. We have been fighting our own physical illness – fever and chills (stress?), it only lasts a few hours at night, but I guess the swallowed fear has to come out some way.

In a little more than a week we will adorn handsome men, and fairytale princesses with the flowers made by her loving hands. I am still blown away by the beauty and delicacy they behold. It reminds me of her. Beautiful. Soft. Strong.


Made by Sue for the wedding, two days before hemorrhage.

Wedding flower table vases sitting out in her dining room.

Thank-you for your continued prayers. Please know how much we appreciate them in this difficult time, we take day by day.

An Angel in Scrubs

Please excuse the double post. For one, Blessed are the Merciful, did not post on feeds.

For two, the surgery hasn’t happened yet. Yes, we have been waiting all day.

I do want to explain more clearly. Yesterday morning, we got a call that Jason’s mom, Sue, got a sudden splitting headache with nausea and vomiting. It hurt so bad, she asked her husband to take her to the ER. This amazing woman would not even go to the Doctor for a major spider bite until a week later, when come to find out, it was a BLACK WIDOW. To say she is tough is an understatement. For her to REQUEST emergency service? Very bad and we knew it.

They found a brain hemorrhage. A big one. Ten to twelve centimeters on the right side of her head. She did not lose any feeling or movement in her arms, legs, and fingers. She is very aware of where she is, who she is, and what is going on. They did have to drain the pressure off the brain yesterday with a tube. She has a nice new haircut for the wedding and will have an even prettier one when they do brain surgery to fix the hemorrhage.

That is where the tricky part comes in. She was born without a crossover vein. One major artery feeds the left brain. One feeds the right. Nothing in the middle. The surgery is VERY difficult. One false snip and she is brain dead on the right side. The staff at XYZ hospital assured us, they could do such a delicate surgery no problem. They assured us, she was in capable hands. Did I mention they seemed a little TOO happy? Reminding me of Grey’s, but I digress.

XYZ RN’s were needing reminders of her bed angle for her drain. They had to take blood three times, because the machine didn’t read it right (huh?). Let’s just say, our confidence was not boosted.

This morning when they did the mapping for her brain and the surgery, everything seemed well. The surgery staff meet Jason, the husband, and other brothers. All seemed capable and confident – ahem, eager. It can be a good sign. Then the anesthesiologist stepped up to meet with them. Alone. He looked them in the eye and said, “Don’t do this here.”

Imagine the crumbling foundation as this news took hold. Sue was in pre-op. Ready to go. He told them his mother had this same thing happen three months ago. He gave them the name of top neurological surgeon who does these day in and day out. He also shared that the Doctor doing the surgery at XYZ hospital had only done THIS tricky type of surgery FOUR months ago. He was not seasoned, nor regular at it. Neither was the staff.

Grenade.

They could not in good conscience go through with it at that point, without first trying to find this neuro doc. Since XYZ hospital could not list the name of the hospital he worked at, the family had to find out for themselves (darn, you red hospital tape). Then…..see who would admit her, if a bed was available, and if the surgeon would do it. All right away, since the time bomb in her head is ticking. It was a waiting game for the insane.

Finally, this afternoon the transfer went through. We can breathe a little easier and KNOW she is going to get the BEST neuro care possible. I feel better about it already. Even more so, I know our prayers for guidance are being answered as this came down to the wire – literally.

An Angel in scrubs showed us the way. It also happens to be the hospital Jason supports in his IT field. Coincidence?

Our wedding is the least of our concern right now. Yes it will happen on Oct. 10th. God willing Sue will be there with a pretty pink head bandage, wheeled down the aisle by her sons.

My dear friends at work are already stepping up into her very large shoes. She was doing 90% of the wedding. In fact, I talked to her the night before about wedding stuff. She couldn’t wait and loved planning it. Knowing her, she is simply NOT going to miss it.

Keep praying my friends. We thank you with all our hearts. The surgery will be tonight or tomorrow morning.