As I followed behind the nurse pushing Hubby down the very long hall in a wheelchair my mind wandered to a new place. No General Char, no mama bear, all new. I will call it, “self preservation Char”. As I told you I am going to be very honest with you as I write this story and some things that happened I am embarrassed of… but it IS how it happened.
As we were walking to the hospital part of the huge complex of buildings…all connected and pretty cool actually… all the smells and familiarity of the hospital came back. I am sure for Hubby as well. Didn’t put us in a very good place mentally. All the worry came back along with all the unknown. Losing your health puts such a heavy burden on every part of you even if its not you. If it’s a spouse or a child or even a parent its almost debilitating. It’s very hard to live day to day and function normally… because it never leaves your mind.
So as we get admitted to the hospital room I begin to feel resentment. This is a little new and I’m not quite sure how to feel about it. I could NEVER tell Hubby this. How selfish. How SELFISH am I to even feel this way. Most of me still looks at Hubby with all the love that’s always been there but now this little part has reared its ugly head and I am beginning to feel anger. Anger towards him and this whole horrible situation. Anger that every single thing in my life is on hold…anger that I can’t exercise or sleep.. anger that I never see my daughter and I am basically ignoring her..anger that we may lose everything…anger that I am way too young for all this…anger that he didn’t take care of himself.. anger that I am falling apart and MY health is now going downhill so that I can take care of him 24 hrs a day…. just plain ANGER!!! Then along with this anger comes guilt for feeling it, but I imagine I am not the only one who has ever felt this way. I do quickly realize that I need to get a grip. I can’t let this part of me grow or take over. That would most certainly not help our situation. And I don’t want Hubby to know this. So try as she may, General Char battled her way out and candy-coated the situation and saved me for the moment. Although she couldn’t stop me from breaking down. I had to release that build up of anger somehow. Luckily, I found another war room bathroom down the hall from Hubby’s room and I got comfy and dealt with it all, and had another needed talk with God.
I walked back to the room with a much better attitude and walked in there trying to be as positive as I could. Some of the nurses recognized us and chatted with us a bit. They informed us to be ready! Hubby would be peeing til he couldn’t pee no more! 🙂 This drug they will now give him intravenously, (he was taking the pill form) will VERY quickly flush all the fluids from his body. And by golly, it sure did!!!! Long story short, he lost 30 lbs in 5 days!!! And, yes, I have NEVER seen someone fill little pee buckets so fast!!! It was like a job! And the funny part, well at least I thought so, was that all the urine had to be measured, so Hubby would fill’em, I would hang ’em in the bathroom, and the poor nurses would measure and dump “em!! It was quite an assembly line! And I would ask myself as I hung up the umpteenth pee bucket..” How did my life come to this?” :}
This hospital stay seemed so much longer than 5 days. It just seemed to drag…especially because we silently feared a long, long hospital stay. Hubby of course wouldn’t let me leave, so I had to sleep on the ever so comfy and accommodating couch… or as I like to call it.. a big brick with legs and a pillow.
Our daughter was now home from college and I was relieved. She could help us out with our younger daughter and take some shifts at the hospital.
My war room was right next to these big beautiful windows that had the most spectacular view. We were on the 7th floor and it looked down on the city and the mountains were in the background. No one ever seemed to be in that waiting room area so I would often sit there and stare out those big windows and seemed to feel closer to God and we had some good talks there. Hubby loved taking his walks to those windows and sitting there and absorbing the view as well. It drove him CRAZY to have to drag all that equipment around just to walk, but he was doing so well, I knew he would get to go home soon.
Once they felt his lungs were clear and his swelling was subsided they finally let us go home. Of course, it took forever. Discharging from a hospital takes sooooo much longer than being admitted..it’s very frustrating.
We couldn’t believe how much his swelling went down. He looked like a new man! I wish we would have taken before and after shots. Could have been a cool Instagram split shot post! LOL!
So we returned home with a whole new set of directions and medication schedule. We had to do everything in our power to keep that fluid from coming back. He had to continue his strict fluid restriction and continue to take his diuretics. He also had to weigh himself every morning because any weight gain could mean the fluid was coming back. So as if our lives hadn’t already become strict and regimented enough, it now went to a whole other level. Our entire existence revolved around his needs and restrictions. And we had to quickly figure out how we were going manage all this as he would return to work.
This is where I began to panic. His job was part of the reason he got sick. He never wanted to stop to eat and would literally go all day, every day without eating. NOT GOOD. He also was not a breakfast eater which I always yelled at him about. So we had to COMPLETELY change his entire mental outlook. And teaching an “old Hubby” new tricks is one tall order! He is a pretty stubborn guy, but now sees he has to let all that go a little to stay on a continued road to good health.
So he would have to get up earlier than he is used to in order to have time to weigh himself, test his blood sugar, take his insulin, eat his breakfast, and get ready for work. A little different than the 15 minutes he USED to give himself every morning. Plus we had to send him to work armed with all he would need for the day. He would now have to pack all his meds, his very planned and restricted lunch, his blood sugar meter and his insulin. UGH! It completely overwhelmed us at first. I would say it was a good month before we even got into any kind of groove. But, when all this happened to us we had some good friends assure us that it would all BECOME normal…that it would become OUR new normal. And I have to say they were right. We often still feel very odd and isolated in even the most normal circumstances. We always have to watch the time and stop whatever we are doing to check his blood sugar and give him his insulin and make sure he eats and eats properly. And that is one tall order in this busy way of life we all lead. I always think of how it must be for parents of diabetic children. How hard it has to be for them to allow their children to attempt to lead normal lives. Because even when you get used to it, it still reminds you often, that you are living a very challenged lifestyle. And there is no loosey goosey… no, I will worry about it later, or tomorrow. It is the here and now, everyday, ALL day. And it is a very long journey to get to the point of acceptance, and a point of relaxing in the new skin you have been handed.
This is also where I struggle as a spouse. I will admit, again, that at times I have felt and sometimes still feel resentful. Resentful towards Hubby and resentful towards this disease. Pretty much resentful at the entire world for destroying our food supply with sugar, artificial ingredients, and sodium.
I struggle daily with this and I wish I didn’t. I wish at times I didn’t feel like “Hey, I didn’t do anything to deserve this! I took care of myself, I ate well, I exercised, I took vitamins why does MY life have to turn into this???” I feel this way a lot less than I used to, thankfully. But, I will tell you that when you are put into this situation your beliefs are sorely tested. You KNOW deep down that whole, for better or for worse vow you took, and you will strive and push to honor that because if the tables were turned you would want him to do the same. But, the times when you realize what you have lost and what challenges you have to face each day, it is so difficult not to feel sorry for yourself. Not to mourn the normalcy you have lost. Not to be sooooo angry because it all stole marriage as you knew it. Stole intimacy, stole your social life, robbed you of all you worked up to as a couple married for 32 years. You become a lonely, angry, mean and resentful person who says whoa is me way too often. And like I said, I am mostly embarrassed that I feel this way, but I also try to give myself a break and I continue to pray about it and work to make it better. Crying pretty much on an hourly basis everyday really isn’t going to help anyone and I think General Char had run out of power for a while and needed a vacation! While she was on a beach somewhere, I really started to worry about myself. I felt as if my strength was lessoning everyday and I just didn’t know how to stop it. All I could think about was the reality of our new life. As time went by it really started to hit me hard. The thought of our new future scared me and just kicked me in the gut. As I stated earlier our cardiologist was very straight forward, and every time he would talk about “mortality” and “life expectancy” it just twisted the knife deeper. It made me feel trapped and mad and sad and just a general mourning. I don’t know how else to describe it. **Photo creds to Erin Renfro Stancell
I know that things could be worse and you better believe I say that to myself ALL the time. I am very blessed my husband and the Father of my children is still here. But as the spouse, you just don’t know where YOU fit in to this whole scenario. The kids still have their Dad. He can’t do all of the physical things he used to do, but he’s there for them. He can thankfully still work and provide for us. He can still be a friend and a companion and the leader of our family. But, I will tell you, he can’t be the same Husband and I can’t be the same Wife, and the stress, awkwardness and the fear and uncertainty this causes is scary. I almost feel like he looks at me totally differently than he used to. Not like a “wife” but as a caregiver. What scares me the most is that we will not be able to go back. Like our whole marriage is now permanently redefined and we need to accept it. The emotions I feel over this are all over the place. I can’t speak for him. He may be fine with it. Let’s face it, his new personal focus is his health. And that’s the way it has to be. He is in survival mode and something had to give. What makes it so hard is that we are still young…well, young enough, and, I still look at him the way I always have and I am still so very attracted to him in everyway. I still have needs and I still need my husband. So….what do you do? I feel frustration and I feel selfish for feeling any of it. I keep telling myself to continue being a martyr… it’s what I do best, but boy as the months go by it becomes harder and harder. I had come to the conclusion that anyone in my position needs to be taken care of TOO. And if we don’t acknowledge that and make our spouse SEE that, than you are just playing a waiting game of… when will this all implode?
I have since, with the help of prayer, decided to make it my mission to get back control of our newly defined marriage. I need to make him SEE me again. This will slowly happen with the help of the confidence he is beginning to develop in his new self. I see it starting to happen everyday. I see a “new” man being born…him looking at himself in a new light of acceptance. Accepting his new life and realizing it is what it is, and knowing he needs to make the best of it or he may as well throw in the towel. As he gains more and more strength, I see MY MAN coming back. I see him working harder and harder to be the best HE can be and understanding the OLD HE is gone. I have also realized I need to continue being patient. “Good things come to those who wait” As hard as it is, I have to have confidence and faith that God will give him the vision to see me again. To help him not be afraid to let go of his stronghold on his survival and to let me in. To let me in as his WIFE and his partner and that even as redefined as we now are, we can STILL be us.
I pray for patience and for God to help me accept Hubby has to come to these realizations in his own time. I will say that being here with no family and only one of my children makes it hard. Our finances now make it difficult to take on new hobbies or to shop etc. etc. but I try to find ways to occupy my mind so I don’t think too much…which can be scary anyway! 🙂
I decided to revisit my blog I started before Hubby got sick. God started to work through me giving me inspiration and creativity..leading me to create healthy recipes and to write. I have always loved writing and I firmly believe you have to have a passion to write about and something you really believe in before your writing can even be plausible or appealing. Well, I have found my passion and something I believe in, and, as long as I keep being lead, I will continue to write and create.
I do believe God worked on me to write this story and to do this blog to help me fulfill what is now missing in me since Hubby’s illness. Even though I have full confidence my Hubby will be my Hubby again, this has helped me. Helped me on a personal level. It has slowly began to fill an empty spot in me as a woman that I feared could not be filled again. And the satisfaction I get from knowing I might be helping, inspiring, motivating, or even amusing people 🙂 makes it just that much more rewarding.
And just when we thought we had this whole thing down pat… we found out we were sadly mistaken! 🙂
We will now hear the story of our first “post heart attacks” family trip… Ooooooo boy…
Until next time.. be a blessing… share a blessing… be blessed… xoxo