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Sitting in Negativity

I have had a hard day. Hubby went into the hospital for the zillion-and-tenth time in the past year. And I love him, but instead of feeling positive, “it’s gonna get better” thoughts, I’ve been thinking “how long can I live with this” thoughts.

On one hand I feel guilty, but on the other hand I’m trying to validate the negative thoughts and saying they’re rational at this point, and that I shouldn’t hate myself for wondering at what point I should give up.

(Knowing that part of my feelings are probably because I’m in my Moon Time, and tomorrow I could wake up and be back to positivity.)

Luckily I have had my family with me for part of the night, and I’ve been venting a lot of frustration to them. So I won’t post all the specifics here, but suffice to say I’ve been complaining about a lot of things. On the way to the hospital I was listening to Cyndi Lauper and one of the lyrics was “I wish you could wrap yourself around me, I’d be released in your tenderness.” And I started crying and knew that when my mother got there, I needed to sit with my head on her chest, like when I was little, and have a good long cry.

And that’s what I did. And I didn’t feel shame that other people saw me like that. It was an ER waiting room, and I’m sure it happens all the time. I needed to get out the frustration that had been building in the past week or so (and probably left over from many previous trips to the hospital).

And then, as I said before, I have some guilt for the horrible things I thought and said tonight, but I’m trying to validate my feelings and remind myself that it’s okay to have horrible thoughts, and to say them. As long as it’s not all the time, and there’s good reason, it’s okay. I need to release the negativity inside me so I can move on.

Then I read a post on an online forum which said:

You are totally allowed to have those negative feelings. And if you keep trying to avoid them, they are going to find new and creative ways to get back into your life.

Perhaps take some time to sit with your feelings? Light a candle, and just sit with all the negative feelings. Take time to get to know them, examine them, and decide if you still need them… you might. Otherwise, see if you can go forward without them.

I didn’t light a candle, but I did talk my negative feelings out with my mother, father, and sister – the backbone of my support system, these three are. And now that I’m home by myself, I’m allowing the thoughts to arise as they will. And then I am letting go. I won’t let them keep their hold on me. I need to feel them, and then move on to better, more constructive things… like sleep. Not enough sleep lately. Turn the phone off, I need to sleep in.

This entry was posted on September 18, 2010, in Mark.

Really good news

My husband came home from my parents’ house today! 😀 Crossing my fingers and knocking on wood that he is home for good, and going uphill from here. The concussion symptoms are gone, except for occasional mild headaches, and his sense of balance is perfect.  He just has to continue resting and healing his back now.

When we got home today we spent an hour cleaning up around the apartment a bit, and it looks a lot better. We have a long way to go still, but it’s a start. I actually like to clean when he’s here cleaning too. And even though tomorrow is Monday I’m not working, so we can spend another full day together, a little cleaning and a little shopping for necessities (toilet paper, aluminum foil), and a lot of quality time together.

They try to make him go to rehab…

Mark is still in the hospital from his fall Wednesday night. He is still suffering from various symptoms related to the concussion, including dizziness and occasional memory lapses. He sometimes stops mid-sentence and forgets what he was saying. And he woke in the middle of the night early Friday morning not knowing how he got to the hospital or why he was there. He had to have the nurse come in and read his chart to him, and then piece by piece things came back to him.

The neurologist wants him in a rehab facility due to the dizziness and falling, and for management of all the medications. (We don’t know if Mark has been accidentally overdosing, on account of the memory problems.) Mark’s first choice doesn’t have an opening and another may not take the insurance. So it looks like Mark will probably be staying in the hospital for at least two weeks and getting treatment and physical therapy at the rehab center on the second floor of the hospital.

Mark is in a Catholic hospital. He has a nun, Sister Bernadette, who visits him in the morning. He told her that he is Jewish and doesn’t want to talk about Jesus, of course, but he likes talking to her. He also got a visit from a pet therapy dog yesterday, I think a chocolate lab. The food is worse than his mother’s (and she’s a pretty terrible cook), and his misses my mom’s cooking.

As always, keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

This entry was posted on April 23, 2010, in Mark.

Update on Mark

You know things are rough when “he has a concussion” is good news! But that’s the case, Mark saw a neurologist on Wednesday who said all of the craziness is symptomatic of the concussion. He ordered an EEG and MRI, and hopefully the results all point to no other problems. In the meantime, he is still back up at my parents’ house for at least two weeks, which is when his follow-up appointment is with the neurologist. So the MRI was tonight, and the EEG is Tuesday. All he said about the MRI is that it was loud and his head hurts, so I guess if there was any worse news my parents would have called to tell me. So that sounds promising. Neurologist says Mark should gradually get better, so we still need prayers but I think things are getting … no, I keep jinxing things so I will just leave things as they are and let you come to your own conclusions.

This entry was posted on April 16, 2010, in Mark.

The scariest trip to the hospital yet

My husband Mark has literally been in and out of hospitals since October 23, 2009 — primarily for reasons related to his long-time back pain, but also in late November when he had flu, thrush, and the worst case of pneumonia (in both lungs!) his Primary Care Physican has ever seen and was in ICU for several days. It was actually Mark’s stint in the hospital November 3-12 (back pain) that made him change PCPs to this new doc, who we liked so much that we both switched! Anyway, I can’t even count the number of times we’ve taken him to the ER in the past six months. I can’t rehash it all, it’s taken its toll on all of us, but suffice to say: thank God for health insurance!!!

He was admitted January 27, 2009 and the MRIs, of which he had by then had many, finally showed that his L5-S1 disc in his spine had exploded, and surgery was the only option. It was scheduled for February 9, but on February 2 we were told that his insurance company wouldn’t pay for him to stay in the hospital that long and we had to be discharged. The doctor, a neurological surgeon, was horrified and said that he would do the surgery the next night, which is unconventional but there was no way he was letting Mark go home in that condition. By some miracle, the doctor was able to get every single person from his crackerjack regular team together on short notice — they have literally done this surgery thousands of times each year for something like ten years, so he doesn’t have to ask for a scalpel, for example, he just puts his hand out and it’s there.

So the surgery went perfectly, and I didn’t leave the hospital until 3am that night, and blah blah blah, the first week sucked ass, and February 9 he was released. Instead of going to a rehab facility, he went to my parents’ house. His mother and I both work, but my mother works for my father’s in-home business and therefore is home all day, so we thought that was a great solution. My parents are fantastic caregivers, but it’s hard to keep Mark safe when he’s too stubborn to ask for help every time he wants to get up. So he has been back in ERs for falls several times in the past two months, many times due to dizziness (which could very well be caused by his meds concoction.

So that brings me to last Tuesday. Mark had finally come home Friday and was feeling relatively good, and relatively useless, so he decided to clean up the bathroom. He ended up falling and hitting the back of his head on the bathtub. He called me and I “rushed” home from work, but I work an hour from home so it took me a while. When I got home he had not moved, and I called his name six or seven times before he came to. Ended up calling 911 and he was taken by ambulance, on a backboard and with a neck brace, to the hospital. Five hours and several negative-resulting CT scans later, Mark was sent home with a prescription for Dilaudid (a pain pill) and went back to my parents’ house.

Thursday night, still having headaches and dizziness and nausea, Mark fell. Dad helped him up… and he fell again. He said that when he moved his head to either side, it felt like his head was “swimming.” We took him to a hospital near my parents’ house. This doc looked at the CT scan results from the other day but didn’t order anything. He said it sounded like Post-Concussion Syndrome, gave Mark a prescription for a pill to help with the nausea, and said he should be feeling better any day. Saturday, my birthday, Mark seemed to be doing significantly better. Maybe just hiding it from me because he didn’t want to ruin my day.

Then came Sunday. Last night was the scariest trip to the hospital yet. Mark had been dizzy, to the point where I helped him walk to bed at one point. About 45 minutes to an hour later I heard a thud in the bedroom and knew he had fallen again. I ran in and he was lying facedown on the floor, like he had stood up and fallen straight forward on his face. I called his name and asked if he was okay and he wasn’t responding, and I started to cry. Mom and my sister had followed me in. Mom called his name louder a few more times and he grunted. My sister called 911 and they needed to know if he was breathing. It was hard to tell but seemed like he was breathing okay. The ambulance came (and all these times the ambulance comes, it’s usually the ambulance plus police car plus sometimes a fire department car) and he went to a different hospital than Thursday, because they specialize in trauma.

In the ambulance on the way over, Mark was telling the EMT that it was Tuesday, and that he can’t believe I was called to leave work, and that he’s 30, all of which is NOT true. He was very confused, and we had to tell him multiple times the correct information. He kept forgetting, and it was so hard for me. And then it got worse. He said something about Gizzy, and how he wanted to spend the night petting Gizzy. Well, Gizzy was our old German Shepherd who got very sick and had to be put to sleep May 5, 2009 (at age 15). He didn’t remember Dutch, the little white puppy my Mom got in the beginning of November.

It was heartbreaking for me, but I felt at the time that the worst thing I could have done was to tell him the truth, it would have broken his heart, so I let him believe Gizzy was still alive. I told him that I knew he was scared but to focus on petting Gizzy because that would keep him happy. I asked what kind of treat he was going to give him, and said that Gizzy was gonna be so happy when Mark came home from the hospital. Mark said he missed Gizzy, thinking he’d seen him a few hours ago, and I tried my best to hold back tears saying that I missed him too, knowing it’s been almost a year since his death.

Another point, Mark was talking about his old job as if he still worked there, worried that they needed help without him there and asking if anybody had called (insert coworker’s name here). I lied and said I had already called and spoken to her, and that everything was under control. I said they were worried and just wanted him to get better. When he started to panic about not being there, I said, “Mark, it’s Sunday, remember? You don’t usually work on Sundays anyway, right?” He agreed and dropped it, and that was the only one time he mentioned the job.

He was taken for CT scans, and when he got back and I asked how he did, he said he was still thinking about playing with Gizzy later because that was keeping him calm. It was really rough. The ER doctor was fantastic, and really listened to what we were all saying about his symptoms, and Mom had mentioned the selective amnesia to him. He gave us all his thoughts (that the falling is because of the medications, that Mark might benefit from going to a rehab facility for a while, that concussions heal on a steady course and not with ups and downs, that everything could easily be due to the pain and therefore he shouldn’t be trying to get off the meds when clearly he still needs them)… and then I mentioned the amnesia. He asked Mark if he remembered the dog, and asked, “What is your current dog’s name?” Mark said, of course, “Gizzy.” The doctor looked at the rest of us and asked, “And that’s not true?” Mark started panicking, and asking what happened to Gizzy, and we knew it was time to tell him the truth. All I will say about it is that it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, even harder than the night Gizzy was put to sleep. Mark’s grieving process started all over, with added feelings that he didn’t get to say goodbye and it was all very sudden. I showed him a photo of Gizzy on my phone, and Mom showed him a photo of Dutch and asked if he remembered him, and Mark didn’t.

Luckily by the time we left the hospital, Mark’s memory had gotten back to normal. With the exception that he still didn’t remember falling, or how he got to the hospital, but I think that his short-term memory was gone in that time anyway, so I don’t expect him to remember it later. But it was just so hard. And now we have to wait until he sees his doctors tomorrow (three appointments) and see what they all have to say about everything.