Thursday, February 01, 2007

january's dust

Windows schmindows. The two (potentially three) major life changes about which I bemoaned one month ago today are mere flies splattered on the windshield compared to the moose we just hit.

Ted got sick. Ted got big sick. The kind of sick that requires lots of initials -- DVT, PE, RHF. In layman's terms, he had a blood clot in his leg that broke off and went into his lung, causing his heart to work too hard.

The morning I took him to the emergency room was the fifth day in a row he hadn't felt well enough to go to work. That morning was different because, sitting still, he was panting for air and his lips were purple. Later that day in the emergency room, two doctors told him if he had just rolled over and gone back to sleep (as he had done every other day that week), the clot would have killed him.

When I told my family and friends this piece of information, most everyone was shocked and horrified. Me? I was instantly happy. Because we did go the ER. Because I did not allow him to just go back to bed. Because the clot did not kill him. Call me crazy, but that made me extremely grateful.

All in all, he spent 16 days in the hospital. He hasn't worked in over a month, and he's still on oxygen. Since returning home about 10 days ago, he's had his blood drawn and tested twice, and will go to his fourth doctor appointment tomorrow. He has two more appointments scheduled after that. I did reschedule his six-month dental cleaning, though. A person can only take so much.

Anyway, the tests and appointments thus far indicate that he is making progress, although it is very slow. He's lost 45 lbs. in less than a month (the right heart failure caused massive edema). We call this the "Near Death Diet" and strongly urge people against trying it for themselves.

The doctors continue to tweak, add, and discontinue a variety of medications to try and make everything balance. They are not certain he'll ever be able to go off oxygen all together.

We work on things that need constant attention now, to make sure that we're doing our part to get him as healthy as possible. He goes back to work next week, and I'm not sure how we're going to be able to continue to give enough time to the increased maintenance. The upside of his being home is that he has had plenty of time to do all this stuff. I guess we'll just figure it all out.

So, forgive me for not blogging. It was all I could do to continue functioning for a while there. I spent so much time in the hospital that the aides counted on me doing certain things. I went to work sporadically, missing six days. Days when I was there, I spent a lot of time answering well intentioned co-workers' questions about how my husband was. Those days were the hardest because I followed my regular daily routine and then spent 4-5 hours in the hospital with Ted. Somewhere in there, I'd have to make time to feed the cats, clean the litter boxes, fill my car with gas, do laundry, etc. It sounds stupid, but it really became quite overwhelming.

My sister, Cathy, and her youngest daughter, Ariel, came to my rescue the second weekend Ted was hospitalized. They helped me do stuff like organize and put away Christmas paraphernalia, shred old bills that were clogging up my file cabinet, vacuum every nook and cranny of the house, reorganize the linen closet. We threw away so much stuff, we had to start putting the trash bags on the ground outside the Dumpster. Ariel re-alphabetized my entire CD collection. Whoa.

They had meals with me and they came with me to visit Ted and they let me talk incessantly and they generally took care of my fragile soul for a few days. Words can't describe how much that meant to me.

So now, God willing, the big drama is behind us, and we can concentrate on the process of returning Ted to health. Oh yeah, and cleaning up the glass shards from those broken windows. Maybe in between, I can find a little more time to blog.

"Body and Soul" by Dianne Reeves


amanda kathryn said...

Thoughts and prayers for a speedy and full recovery.

Lauren said...

Hey there! Hope Ted is feeling better by now.

Just an FYI, I have a new blog address:

kellycoxsemple said...

Thanks to you both. Lauren, I can't keep up with you! How many blogs are you going to do simultaneously? I'm exhuasted just trying to do one. :-)