Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Some progress

I use the word "progress" loosely, because in this household, not ending up at the ER this week is an accomplishment. My husband's health issues, while they are still there, seem to have quieted a little as far as the attacks go. He is still quite fatigued, needs a lot of rest during the day, is still hardly eating anything, and is still sleeping upright. But he hasn't had to use his rescue inhaler in several days, which is good. He went for a cranial CT scan today, and he'll be re-visiting the ENT doc next week to discuss the results. I'm not expecting bad news, but I would like to know what they plan to do, if anything, about the polyps and broken nose. As for the attacks, his "gut" (no pun intended) is telling him that all of this is centered around a malfunction of his digestion and that the GERD is the true culprit of these attacks. However, in the land of HMOs we need to wait to get a referral, and that is several weeks from now since he has to start with the ENT first (which is what we're doing). We simply can't just call a GI doc listed in the yellow pages since it won't be covered. I feel like an interviewee on "Mystery Diagnosis."

And speaking of insurance, I am very glad that we have it. While I seem to pay a lot each month for it (and I bitch about that), it has been a lifesaver for this unexpected episode in our live (and hoping they end up paying for it all). I remember a brief period in the early part of the decade when, for various employment and re-location issues, we went without insurance for about 2 years. I shutter to think back to that, because I do remember feeling as if I was living on the edge. I had insurance while CJ was born, but shortly after that, we lost it and went without for a while after that. We used to take CJ to a free clinic for his newborn appointments. We had gotten ourselves in a bit of a financial mess, and sometimes I can't believe we, 2 educated adults from good families, were visiting a free clinic. But I'm not ashamed. I guess everybody gets down on their luck at least once in their lives. And even a few more times. Which is leading me to my stump speech for the day: we need public health insurance. If we can offer a socialized parachute for Wall Street, we can insure ourselves because it would cost much less than 700 billion dollars.

But I digress. Sorry, my GOP readers.

As for my emotions, I'm a little bit exhausted (but not enough to argue politics, apparently). And also suffering from bad PMS mood swings.

Dave is cooking dinner right now, which brings a lot of normalcy to the house, which I know CJ was craving a lot during all this back and and forth to the hospital. I learned a lot about CJ's relationship with his dad during all this. He really yearns for the routine his dad brings; a necessity that you don't know you need until it's not there. It's their type of love for one another. It became really obvious the different things I bring to his life and what his dad brings.

Well, that's about the wrap up. I'm feeling a bit lackluster right now, and not at all witty or wise. I'll work on getting the spunk back soon. TTFN.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The -Osis Post

The Diagnosis:
Gerd, LPR, Nasal polyps, asthma, and wait.. here's the kicker: a broken nose. Broken nose you say? Yeah, so did we. A kick in the face on the playground as a kid? No. A bar fight? No. A kick in the face by an angry toddler? No. There is still no definite answer on that one. The doc said his septum was so out of whack that it's no wonder he's all stuffed up. Of course, we're talking about a guy who was walking around without a problem 3 weeks ago, so who knows what else is around the corner. I hate to guess for fear I may jinx something.

The Prognosis:
Unknown. A CT scan next week, and follow up doc visits. And wait for the Gerd and the LPR to heal itself with meds. Many meds. Expensive meds. Did I mention that a one month prescription of Nexium is $66? And that is with insurance. Without insurance? $369.00. We're lucky we rarely get sick.

The Epistaxis: (a diversion)
One night last week, after a long day of double duty with the kids, entertaining my mom (more on that later), filling prescriptions and taking care of Dave, Andrew had gotten out of bed and yells from the top of the stairs, "Buddy nose!" And when I switched the light on there was a huge stream of blood coming out of his nose. No emergency room trip, just your standard bloody nose from picking boogers too deep, but I said, "Can I sit in the corner now and suck my thumb?"

The Eucalyptus:
The rest of the story of life continues. This was just a bump in the road. I'm sure there will more to follow. Stress happens. And we live through it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Time to exhale

OK, inhale. Hold it. Hold it. Hold on just one more minute, OK? Just one more. Another sec. Feel it burn?

OK now, exhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaale.

That's been me for the last few days. Holding it all in until I burst.

Yesterday, I was sobbing like a little girl with my head rested on the bed rails of his hospital bed. His heart is OK. It was great news that his heart is OK. There truly was no better news.

But, of course, the story does not end there. He was released with a clean bill of heart health yesterday evening, however his breathing has not improved.

An interesting thing we learned from the respiratory therapist yesterday was that there is connection between GERD and Asthma. One of those things that seems common, yet rarely investigated. So he has a follow up visit with his doc tomorrow, and then hopefully, hopefully onto a specialist to see what the hell is going on.

It's not normal that you can't eat anything. And it's not normal that you can't make it through the day without a rescue inhaler. (Thank the gods for the rescue inhaler, so no more 911 calls).

Thanks to all for the well wishes. When we first ended up at the hospital I thought it would be a one time thing. I went on with life; continued the daily grind. He continued to watch the kids everyday as he does and took care of us all by feeding us, cleaning our clothes, making sure CJ does his homework. But this week, this week I feel different. I feel just a little off the beaten track. Maybe it's the exhaustion. But the vim and vigor is just a little deflated right now.

And I will leave you with the most memorable moment of my last few days, next to the tears my husband wept after the second ER trip. After picking up CJ at school and getting Andrew from my sister in law, we drove back to the hospital to pick up Dave as he was being released soon since he was nearing the 4 hours in bed lying still after the heart catheterization. Out of the blue CJ asks me, "Is what happened to your dad, going to happen to dada?" (See explanation for what happened to my dad). As I parked the car I turned around to him, looked him straight in the eye, and said "Absolutely not."

Monday, October 06, 2008

How do I write this and sound coherent?

As mentioned above, I'm struggling to get into words what is going on right now in my life. I'm not adept at writing about emotions so fluently as so many talented writers out there. When I was a teenager, I had a diary and most of the entries were like, "Dear Diary, Life sucks right now," without further elaboration. While I find writing to be cathartic, it doesn't come natural.

Right now it's 11:58 pm and I'm just at a point where I know I have to post about it because I have to get it off my chest. I've hesitated blogging about it because I struggle with getting all of the shit running around my brain into words (as mentioned above). I realize now that my defense mechanisms were working overtime. I'm ready to unveil the secrecy because I thought this was going to be one of those passing phases in life that will leave its perch. But it's not leaving. And we don't know what this pest wants. And what is further disturbing in its coincidence, is my husband is 49 years old. And so was my father when I found him dead 21 years ago. Coincidence smacks me in the face with a cold, familiar rag.

At 9:30 pm 9/26, I called 911 for my husband who could not catch a full breath; arms tingling, head dizzy, ready to pass out. After many tests he is released the next early morning; he's on Nexium for GERD, Advair for Asthma, and Amoxicillan for possible infection.

Week following: mini episodes of struggling to breathe. Symptoms not going away. Double duty at home and juggling day job since his health is so unpredictable.

Friday, 10/3, 12:30 pm: For me---panic attack at work. Shaking, nauseous, heart racing. Almost threw up lunch.

Saturday, 10/4: Regardless of the previous week, a succesful 7th birthday party for my son at Chuck E Cheese, although my husband hardly moved from his seat the whole 90 mins.

Last night: second call to 911. Same symptoms as first 911 call.

Today: stress test inconclusive; tomorrow a catheterization. A long day at the hospital at his side.

Tomorrow: we hope for certainty. Mom pulling into driveway from NJ to help.

Right now: sipping wine to calm my nerves and to help me sleep, along with meditation music.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday's Photo: Chapter 2 of the Tooth Saga

The tooth fairy's ransom note*

*we evenetually had to vacuum. this was the plan. she obliged with a one dollar bill.