July 11, 2008

You call that Hell?

I've been fortunate in my life not to have suffered to much. I've got skeletons and dust in my closet, but nothing like this last week has been.

Before you all roll your eyes - if you are that uninterested in my life, move along - my blog, my rules.

Now, my good friends, nay, my dearest friends - ladies, you know who you are - like me, are smotherers in a good way. As a result, I have a hard time containing myself when I have a friend in need or one that just needs a hug. On the flip side, I do not do well with being smothered - at all. I think I feel guilty - I know . . . Anyway, this past week I have needed those friends, my family, the kindness of strangers and the prayers of masses just to breathe. Like I said, I am lucky. My closest family members are not away at war and my family is relatively healthy, and until this past week I've not been on the receiving end of the smothering - not really.

On Saturday, July 5, 2008 at 9:45 p.m. after an evening of horsing around and drinking (not me - I was DD), a friend and I found my husband laying face down just off the side of the road after having been thrown from the back of a quad. He wasn't moving, crying, moaning, laughing, talking, but he was breathing. He responded to questions, knew who he was and that he was hurt. He could feel his extremities, but he could not move them himself.

He was covered in blood which I did not seem to notice right away. I was wearing a white tank top that bore the streaks and stains of blood left behind when I cradled his head to ensure he was still alive.

After my initial and unprofessional assessment of his physical state was complete, my friend and I physically lifted him to his knees - his feet were dangling as if broken from his body but there were no visible signs of broken bones and his neck and back appeared stable. We shoved him into the backseat of my vehicle and I drove him to the ER talking to him the entire way. I was not waiting for an ambulance to find us in the middle of nowhere. I thought he'd be fine.

I didn't panic, I didn't cry. I even had enough forethought to shout out instructions on where to take my kid as I drove by the party. My mission was to get my husband to the ER where they would clean him up and send him home. I was purposefully pushing the sight of his lifeless legs out of my mind as I drove. He was fine. He was fine. . . he had to be fine.

I arrived at the ER, was scolded for putting him into my car and the ER folks carted him off. He no longer knew who I was, who he was, where he was or what had happened. He didn't know the date, the president or even our son's name. He could not keep his eyes open at all. They sent him for a CT. He was sporting a nasty head injury and severe road rash on his back, elbows and the back of his head. But he was fine . . .

Thinking everything was indeed fine, I sent my friend who came with me to the ER home. As he was being wheeled out of the CT, the doctor looked over her shoulder as she walked past me and said, "he has a problem we cannot treat and he is being lifeflighted to a trauma center." My world closed in at that moment. I could see the computer from the counter - the computer with my husband's head on the screen. The one where a blood clot could be seen as clear as day to my untrained eye. The one the nurse was reviewing so she could relay information to the trauma center, the one that in one instant became my hell.

I watched as my husband was stableized on a board. I kissed my now unconscious husband goodbye as he was wheeled passed me and loaded onto the helicopter. My heart sunk when I realized I may never kiss him again. And as the helicopter took off above me I sank to my knees in the parking lot and nearly didn't get up at all.

I still don't know how I drove home alone from the hospital - through the tears, through the rain, through the pain in my chest that was all consuming. I couldn't respond to the flurry of text messages that came after the news that he was being flown to a trauma center made its way through our friends . I agreed to a text sent by my husband's best friend in which he insisted he come with me and drive me the 40 miles to the trauma center at 12:15 a.m. on Sunday.

The next hour was a blur. I don't remember the drive down. I don't remember changing out of my blood soaked clothes or even handing my keys over to my friend. I only remember crawling into my bed and cradling my son in my arms as I wept - he, fast asleep and innocently ignorant of what was happening.

I sat in the ER next to my husband who's brain was bleeding and swelling. I sat next to him for 12 hours. Yes, 12 hours. I'd been awake for 28 hours straight. Once he was admitted to the ICU, I was nearly carried out by my friend who insisted that I get at least a couple hours rest. As we left the ICU and began walking to the car, I finally lost it. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't stop crying, and it was if I had cried for a year before we pulled into my drive and I fell into my bed with all my clothes still on. I cried even harder then and harder still when my son asked me why I was crying and I explained through the sobs what had happened. As he curled into me and cried himself to sleep, I found I was unable to sleep without thinking the worst. After two fitfull hours of sleep another friend drove me back to the hospital's ICU.

The first two days were the very worst of my entire life. I didn't know if I'd be a widow, a single parent or the spouse of a severely disabled man in a few hours. My husband was relatively unresponsive and hooked to all manner of contraptions. He was not, however, on a ventilator.

He knew me, if I could get him to wake, but that was not often. By day three he was awake for about 1 minute at a time. By day four he was awake for 15 minutes. My day five he was awake for several hours straight.

His recovery is remarkable. The bleed, bruising and swelling of the brain was immediate, but also stablized immediately. Today, on day 6 he is out of ICU and got out of bed and was able to walk up and down 1/2 flight of stairs at the hospital. He may be home soon. And again, I say his recovery is remarkable. But, if I didn't see it with my own eyes, I'd not believe it. He does have paralysis in his left foot and I'm not sure if it will resolve, but he can walk. The head pain and the pressure will be a little longer in resolving, but it will. In fact, the swelling has already started to recede and the bleeding has already started to resolve. He seems himself, but it is still early.

His nurses in the ICU were all saints and gave me as much information as they had. His nurses on the floor? They are the laziest bunch of men and women I've ever come across. We put them out by asking for pain meds. His doctors? I've little faith they are actually graduates of medical school.

My husband has a traumatic brain injury - one which nearly took his life and I've spoken to a neurologist three times in the last 6 days -once in the ER, once after I pulled the lawyer card, and the following day to save face. Despite paging them every day since Weds., I've not spoken to another. Today is the third day in a row that I waited over 8 hours to speak to a doctor about my husband's prognosis without actually talking to one. If it weren't for the fact that my husband has made such a remarkable recovery under their observation and their treatment of 3% through a central line, I would sue them for malpractice just to eat up their insurance funds!

I've never been so disregarded. I'm exhausted. I forget to eat and if it weren't for my dear friend either cooking for me or reminding me to eat, I would not. The Boy has been a rock. He has been remarkable. He practices being a doctor so he can help care for his dad when he returns home. I couldn't ask for a sweeter child. He knows I'm hurting and he wraps his arms around me like his dad would and tells me that "God would help me" with my pain. He prays at night that God watch over his dad, cause I can't. He even reminds me to close the garage door, or to take my parking receipt or to shut the fridge. He looks out for me like no 5 year old should have to look out for their mother. He gets to the hospital and he tests his dad - "who is the president?" "when is my birthday?" "how many dogs do you have?" "what is your favorite food?" " Daddy, wiggle your toes, etc . . ." He deserves a medal and the best I can come up with is a daily webkinz.

I'm not putting this out there for sympathy. Really. Those who know me, know about this already and deserve an update. I've been told my husband, who could have died or been severely and permanently disabled, will make a full recovery and will be home in mere days. And the life in me is gone. I'm getting out of bed each day, barely breathing and just waiting until he walks through the door. I'm going through the motions but I'm not moving. I'm exhausted but I can't seem to sleep. If it were not for the fact that I need a reminder to keep from forgetting to eat or drink, I'd not have fluids to cry. I am lonely, I am scared, I am unsure. But, I'm surviving through the love of a 5 year old, through the love of my friends and family. I am being held up when all I want to do is fall. I am grateful. I am humbled. I am exhausted. I am thankful to know you and too tired to link you. So, thank you, from the bottom of my very full heart for your love and support:

Christina, Dash and Wee and Sweet One, and Richmond, WxMan, Girls, Moose, and Grandy - I love you-each and everyone of you! You are family. Thank you. I could not get through this without your love and support. I could not get through this without your encouragement. The husband sends his love as well.

Zonker - my arms aren't big enough to hug that wonderful heart of yours - love ya. I'm sorry my updates have been few and far between but I know you understand,
T1G - I love you too. So there. Thank you for being such a good friend you've no idea how much it is appreciated,
VW - your knock, knock jokes make me smile, thank you,
Bou - thank you, thank you, thank you for thinking of us,
Yabu and his Woman - dude, I so could have used your juju on those doctors - thank you for thinking of bringing it!,
Sticks - thank you for thinking of us:
and anyone else that sent their best wishes, thoughts and prayers. They helped, every single one of them helped and is continuing to help. Thank you.

Now, I go back to the grind, working on getting him care and home and better. Oh, and since when it rains, it pours . . . my dad needs an emergent double bypass next week cause, my head doesn't hurt enough.

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Posted by Oddybobo at 11:22 PM | Comments (30) | TrackBack

July 01, 2008

Time will tell

I've been in a funk, one out of which I can't seem to climb. I feel as if I am in a state of flux, as it were.

Politics swirling, debates about gun rights, taxes, oil, the economy. My head is spinning. The economy is the constant. This economy, where I've lost about 20,000.00 in investments over the last 6 months - I know it will bounce back - someday. This economy spurred by a democratic congress intent on making everyone believe that there is a mortgage crisis out there so that we will forget the roadblocks they've purposefully imposed so that the U.S. can't drill successfully or in mass quantity for its own oil. This economy torpedoed by foreign oil prices. You know the prices were are beholden to because we don't drill our own oil successfully enough - oh and we don't use that Iraqi oil democrats would have you believe we are fighting a war for.

It isn't going to get brighter anytime soon. Does that sound pessimistic? It is. So, I have to step back and take a look at my situation. I am a very well-paid senior level attorney at a large law firm. I've no real jury trial experience (mine always settle on the eve). I've no real book of business of my own (family life stands in the way of shmoosing - need a lawyer?), and if the economy starts to hit my practice - I am likely out the door. So, what does an unmarketable senior attorney do when she loses her job? I don't know. I've been pondering that in the the event the inevitable happens. Right now I know I'm secure - but where will I be in six months time?

I've always been one to do. I don't sit back and relax and wait for the right job to fall into my lap. I'm too old to know better. That doesn't happen - besides, I have responsibilities and obligations. The right job doesn't fall out of the sky while I am catching a tan on the beach (though I do intend to spend a weekend at the beach in the near future. . . ). I have to be prepared. I have to get out there and find that right job myself, and if I have to work a few shitty jobs in the interim, well, it beats unemployment right?

So, I've been looking, keeping my options open, keeping my name out there - just in case. The problem is, if the economy woes hit me here at my secure job, I simply will not be able to find a similar job elsewhere, it will hit all of those too. So, if you see me at your neighborhood Kohl's working the checkout line - please don't laugh - a girl's gotta feed her family afterall.

I've been gloom and doom for a few weeks - a perenniel funk fog as it were.
But in all seriousness, am I the only one thinking about these things? I can't be. The economy tends to affect the law much later than other businesses afterall. Time, I suppose, will tell.

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Posted by Oddybobo at 09:11 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack