Sunday, September 23, 2007

What I've Been Up To

I've been putting off this post for a long time and I'm not sure why.

We've had a very bad summer. It started out so promising. It looked like things were finally moving our way and that we were about to have quite a few dreams come true, and then...

Back on May 4th, we finally found a buyer for our house. Brian and I were euphoric. After years of unsuccessful on-again-off-again marketing of our house, it was going to be sold. The new owners wanted a quick closing, so we agreed to have everything wrapped up by June 12th.

Over the next seven days we happily began packing, rented storage space, and put in a bid on a new house with which we were very pleased and that also had the additional bonus of being about $70,000 less than the other houses we had been considering. We were finally going to have enough room and enough quiet.

In the early hours of May 12, my husband woke me up to say that he needed to go to the emergency room and that his parents were on their way to take care of our daughter. He had been vomiting for about an hour, and I hadn't heard anything.
So I rushed into clothes, stumbling around in the dark, worried and imagining the worst.

Our local hospital is only ten minutes away, but we still had to pull over several times so that Brian could be sick. The more we drove, the more afraid I became. I helped Brian inside and they lay him down on a gurney. By this time he was writhing in pain so the nurses took his info and started administering morphine.

The doctor who initially saw him was convinced it was just an acute appendicitis, and as they whisked Brian off for an ultrasound, he assured me that there was no reason to worry. So I sat there alone, ratty t-shirt, last night's skirt, no bra, grungy ER surroundings, trying to take comfort in the doctor's words but unable to get the sight of my husband's pale pain-filled face out of my mind.

After spending three hours in the ER, watching my husband's breathing get more and more shallow, they finally came back with a diagnosis of Pancreatitus. He was moved upstairs and yet again I was assured that everything would be fine. The vigil continued, the whole time listening to my husband's shallow breaths and moans.

After a few more hours, my husband seemed to quiet. It was nearly noon at this point and the nurses urged me to go home to rest and refresh. They assured me that the amount of pain meds they had given Brian would have him asleep for quite some time. So, thinking of my poor parents-in-law waiting at home with my daughter, I went home feeling a little relieved that Brian seemed to be doing better.

About 6 PM My MIL called to say that my FIL was coming to get Peanut and I was to come to the hospital immediately. At some point during the afternoon, they had moved my husband to intensive care and, because my PIL were there, the hospital hadn't notified me. I knew something was extremely wrong.

Pancreatitus is a disease that affects the pancreas (hence the name). Simply put, the pancreas has two functions, controlling insulin production and producing digestive enzymes. Though, unlike the liver, when these enzymes are produced they have nowhere to be stored. They must go immediately into the digestive system or they will damage the pancreas. With pancreatitus, the small ducts that transfer the enzymes become clogged and the digestive secretions, with nowhere to go start to digest the pancreas itself and the other surrounding organs. The disease is usually linked with a history of alcohol abuse but can also, in some rare cases, be cause by other factors. My husband was one of those rare cases. His high cholesterol was the cause and also why the attack was so sudden with no warning.

When I arrived at the hospital, my MIL led me into a small, darkened alcove that was my husband's room in the ICU. I did not recognise him. The man that I had left sleeping quietly only a few hours before was now attached to a myriad of machines and fighting through the pain for every breath. The nurses told me that some of his organs were shutting down due to shock because of the pain, which he was still feeling through the massive amounts of morphine they were giving him.

My strong, 32 year-old husband, who just the day before had been happily hefting boxes on to the moving truck and joking with his daughter, was dying. You could look at him and see him slipping away. I was horrified. How did this happen?

Why did this happen?

I stayed at the ICU waiting room until the wee hours of morning, unable to watch my husband fighting for every painful breath, but also unable to bear being more than a few steps away. "What if he died and I wasn't there? What would I tell my sweet little daughter if her Daddy died? How could our lives go on?" So there I sat, knitting blindly to the end of the skein of yarn in my purse, ripping it out, and starting all over, desperate to keep my hands and mind busy.

Brian made it through the night, but did not improve. In fact his condition stayed the same for nearly a week. He spent two weeks in Intensive Care before he was moved upstairs to the hospital proper. He then spent another two weeks on the noisy main floor with not only the usual hustle and bustle of a teaching hospital, but also the nuisance of renovation.(he was moved three times in two weeks, to accommodate the construction) All this time unable to eat anything.

Meanwhile, back at home, I was trying to keep things together. My PIL were such a help with the Peanut, but between caring for her and daily trips to the hospital and enough worry to give me a constant stomach ache, I couldn't really focus on packing and moving. Then I got a call...

The buyers wanted to take possession of the house early. They were renting an apartment and didn't want to have to pay for another month, so could we please be ready to close two weeks earlier than expected? Our realtor advised us to not mention Brian's illness, fearing they would use the info to leverage for a lower price, thinking we were desperate to sell.(which we were, lol) But speeding things up would give me NINE DAYS to move out of my house with a husband in the hospital and a three year old to care for. Unable to discuss things over with anyone, but knowing that Brian unequivocally wanted rid of this house, I agreed.

Let me just say that we are blessed with wonderful friends and helpful family, without whom, I would have ended up lying in a bed next to my husband, a babbling crazy-person. My MIL kept watch on Peanut while my FIL came daily to help pack up everything in my husband's garage and wood workshop. The guys that my husband works with and some of our friends from high school gave up their holiday weekend to clear out the house and put everything in storage (which they managed in an amazingly short few hours. THANK YOU GUYS!) We were all cleaned up and moved into my PIL's house with a day to spare. And then...

No word from the buyers or their broker. The title company had called to confirm some deed info and have a few documents faxed (the last thing I did before packing up the computer). We had a copy of the closing statement mailed to us that the buyer's bank had requested. We had all of our ducks in a row, in spite of some serious goings-on in our lives.


For three weeks.

These people who were so anxious to take possession of their new home that they forced me to pack up in nine days, this broker who ensured us that there would be no problem wrapping up the legal aspects of the deal before the first of June, would not return our agent's calls. June first came and went and we still heard nothing from their camp. The housing market in our state was going down the tubes and it looked like we were it's next victims.

(To Be Continued On Monday)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, how I've missed your posts. I'm so sorry to hear of all that's gone on. I am anxiously waiting the continuation of the story - and praying for you - that God will bring rest and peace and many blessings.