A life of love

A life of love
Everyone should have a Great Pyrenees

Friday, June 19, 2009

In the blink of an eye...

Long night at our house last night, and parts really shook me to my core. There are all sorts of attitudes and thoughts that you just carry with you throughout life, carried over from childhood and life experiences, that you often just don't really take time to think about.

Last night one of my worst fears felt like it was coming true.

I got a phone call from the stage manager of the musical that my husband is in rehearsal for. She was calling because Steve was in severe pain and I needed to get there to him as he could not drive. He had been fine all day, I had talked to him at 5:30 and he was getting ready to leave the house for rehearsal.

We live 30 minutes away from where he was. It was 10PM and I had only at 9:30 gotten the kids to bed. What was I going to do?

And I found that panic set in. I got to speak to my shining knight briefly and in all the years I have known him, through many injuries, I have never heard him in so much pain and so panicked. I knew it was bad. And I was too far away.

Now, you have to step aside for some past history here.

Currently I am 39 years old. For another month.

My mother was widowed at 38, when I was 12.

My grandmother raised her children alone and was widowed when my mom was 11, so grandma was also likely in her 30s.

My great grandmother raised her children in alone, in a day when that just wasn't done.

So, I have seen or heard of three direct generations of women in my family raising their children alone. I have seen the effects of death in the family.

My dad was 44 when he died. Both my brother and I discuss that we have the feeling that there is much to do, because somewhere deep inside us, if we make it past 44 we will then be living on borrowed time.

I have always had it in my heart that the year my husband is 44 will be a very difficult one for me.

My oldest daughter is 12, the same age I was when my dad died.

So, given that, the phone call last night threw me into all sorts of deep seated reactions based on not only the moment, but also all that internal past history.

All I could think was that I had to get to him, to see him. They were waiting for me. I had urged them to call the ambulance if they needed to, not to wait, just to call me on my cell and I would meet him at the hospital. I had to go, I had to get there NOW and not get arrested in the process.

I called the kids down, intending to let them know, and settle them down. Yeah, fat chance. In our typical family style, if something is happening with one of us, the rest need to be there. Now, Steve had taken the big van, because I was running late at work. So I just had our little car. And five kids. Oh, well, get shoes on and get in the car. In my heart I feared the worst and having them where I could talk to them and not leave them alone was just fine.

I think that was the fastest trip ever. On the country roads I know that I did WAY over the speed limit - no tractors out at night, so I could go faster! We beat the ambulance to the hospital - the stage manager had called within ten minutes of the first call letting me know that they had called the rescue squad. She sounded about as shook up as I was. Steve couldn't even talk to me at that point anymore.

Something about abdominal pain, came on suddenly.

Now you have to understand, I have seen my husband through knee surgery, lots of injuries, and even tangling with the lawn mower and losing part of a finger (the most painful injury to that date). Panic ensued in my heart.

As we drove I tried to pray, but no words would come beyond "please". It ran through my head that I could lose him, that it could be something awful, that I could be widowed that night. I would raise the five kids alone. Would I be able to complete the adoption on the kids that are waiting on us? Would we all be stranded without our rock? How would I do all this? How would I tell my kids that their dad died? (I vividly remember my mom telling me at my junior high school the day my dad died. I have always been amazed at her strength, could I do the same?) Lots of random visceral panic and no way to check on things. It was a long drive and a very short drive.

And then to be there before the ambulance was a surprise. I paced and paced. The kids have been to this emergency room several times so were perfectly comfortable changing the TV channel, getting hot chocolate and knew where the bathroom was.

We kept an eye out for the ambulance coming in. It did finally come in, without lights and not rushing, so hopefully a good sign. Then they had to roll him in and didn't want me back there right away - I just about threw a fit about that, but decided that in reality it was very reasonable to give them about three minutes before I went back. Thankfully that is only how long they asked me to wait.

They did ask that the kids not go back (not enough room back there for one thing) - I had not planned on that at that point. I had prepped the kids that I would go back and when I knew something I would come out and tell them. First of all, I didn't want them to see him and be scared, especially as I knew that I needed to face whatever was happening, deal with it a little myself, before I worked the kids through it.

I have never seen my husband in so much pain, ever. The doctor initially was fairly sure that it was a kidney stone - but Steve has had two before and they were nothing like this. I just wanted to make them run! They did give him tons of pain meds that helped, but then he drifted off to sleep and his sleep apnea set in!!! I wanted him to rest, to not be in pain, but had to keep poking him to keep him breathing! Scared me to death. They did testing, scans and what not.

Long waits. Silence, and a very nice nurse, who it turns out lives less than two miles away from us - I have to send her a thank you note!

Turns out it is a kidney stone - not horrible like a burst appendix or aneurysm or all those other awful things I was thinking of. Tons of pain meds, meds to help with the passing, and otherwise a clean bill of health, and we took a very loopy husband home.

I have not been so scared in a long time. Ugh.

Talk about facing your fears. I think I need to work through all this a bit more. My way of dealing with things is to plan out contingencies. What if... If I have a plan, I know that I can get through, even though likely I won't do the particular plan I have in mind. It gives me some comfort.

I know that I got my degree exactly because I watched my mom raise us alone and I always wanted the security that I could care for myself and my family if I was alone. I didn't want to raise my kids by waitressing and trying to get by, not if I had another choice. I have kept working to some degree, even while being a stay at home mom, so I am always prepared to do whatever might need to be done. I do know that my mom did a smart thing by not remarrying until my brother and I were grown - it is something that I would do as I would want to keep my focus on the kids in my care and not be distracted a bit as they would have lots to deal with if we were to be left without their father. I know that we both have life insurance to hope to allow whichever of us might be left to raise the kids as we have always planned to do it. It isn't huge, but it would be enough to give us some options or at least some time.

I don't think I want to think any further about what it might be like, because hopefully and prayerfully this will never be something we will need to address.

But I have to admit, I will be a bit relieved when Steve gets to 45 and then when I do. Superstitious I know, but there it is.

I know that God is in control, I know that he sees the entire plan and tapestry, and that he loves my husband, myself and our children more than he can imagine.

And I am thankful that what appeared last night to be terrifying turned out to be something that will "pass" if you will ignore the pun. At one point, before the pain meds kicked in, wonderful hubby said "if this is what childbirth is like, honey, I am so sorry". Have to admit that somewhere deep inside I had a satisfied smirk waiting to come out when it was safe to do so! LOL! Funny, I would do it again in a heart beat too. How crazy is that - maybe it is good that only women can give birth - what is that saying? That if men gave birth, families would only have one child? LOL. Not to minimize what he went through - it did look like the pain I remember at active labor - but at least in labor, the contractions came and went, kidney stones, it is constant with no relief without HUGE narcotics.

So, now I have a very large sleeping giant, but that is good. I am trying to keep the water going into him, the pain meds to stay on top of things and slowly getting tired kids up. We are praying for a quiet day and for the process to finish.

Wouldn't you know, one of the worries of the night last night was that if this was something he needed surgery for, he would then be out of the musical, and opening night is just three weeks away, and Steve plays not a small role. Dumb thing that we both thought of in the middle of crisis. But, it looks like he should be in good shape shortly and I will be researching kidney stones and visiting health food stores and whatever I can think of to keep him from going through this again. If anyone has any suggestions I will gladly listen!!!

I better call that poor stage manager and let her know how things are. She sounded very upset last night. I know what it was like for me, they all watched it happen and him go from fine to WAY NOT FINE. Thankfully there actually WAS a doctor there at the time. Praise God!

Praise God that last night is done too.

Now I guess I have my issues to work through.


gbmom2407 said...

Oh my, you had me bawling half way through. I am praising God that he is going to be alright. God's richest blessings on you and your family.

Vivs6kids said...

So glad hubby is all right - I'm sure it's hard to "come down" from something like that. I have had panic attacks or thoughts of being left alone before and it is scary.