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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Healing

Today started off extremely hard but got a lot better. At 11 last night Bryan was asleep and Nyquiled up. He was talking in his sleep, then waking up and speaking nonsense. I got worried that his fever may be spiking, and if it gets too high it can leave permanent damage. His words sounded like word salad: "I'm so happy I'm in the middle of the paddle." "I'm sorry, what did you say?" "I'm so happy in the middle river." "Are you okay honey?" "Stop just leave me alone, temperature gauge I'm comfortable." I took his temp and it wasn't too high, so I hoped that it was just the fever and the Nyquil talking. I stayed up until 3 am making sure he was breathing okay. His breaths were rapid, whistling, and wheezy. It scared me. At 3 am, when I estimated the Nyquil would be wearing off, he went to the bathroom and was normal again, although incredibly exhausted. I decided to sleep a bit and slept until 4am. He started coughing more and more, and was wheezing. His breathes were very rapid and it sounded like he was struggling a lot. I woke up and asked how he was, and then slept from about 4:30 to 5:30. I was in and out of sleep until 6:30 when I got out of bed, got him more water and applesauce, and started getting ready to take him to the hospital. When he said "I can't do this anymore; I think I need to be hospitalized," I got scared. This is Bryan. He is no wuss, never one to run to the doctor. I grabbed extra clothes and extra water and we drove to Eureka. We got to Urgent Care at 7:30 and it opened at 8. By then he was short of breath and said he felt like he was going to pass out. It's first come first served there, and there were cars in the parking lot. I stood by the door so I could be first in line, and people got out of their cars and lined up after me. I had Bryan wait in the car and I had him on the cell so I could hear his breathing and make sure he was okay. We got into Urgent Care, waited and then got into a room. The Medical Assistant was extremely not-helpful, asking questions like his symptoms. I said "it's in his chart, we were here on Friday" to which he replied "what do you mean his chart?" He then found notes from the previous visit and kept asking stupid questions. "So he's on Motrin?" "No." "It says Motrin." "He's on Tylenol and ibuprofen." "Ibuprofen is Motrin, but it's easier to say Motrin." "Whatever."

Then he comes back and says "the doctor who is supposed to be on forgot it was his day so it will be a while before he gets here." "Can you give him a breathing treatment before that?" "No, I can't do anything. I'll call the ER."

So Bryan got a wheelchair ride to the ER and we got put in a room. The nurse came in and asked Bryan questions, and I responded to most of them but she wouldn't even look at me. Bryan had asked me to speak for him, as talking was so exhausting and made him cough. She told him his oxygen levels were fine and that he was hyperventilating and needed to relax. She said he seemed fine to her, and when she left Bryan looked at me with defeat and said "They aren't going to do anything.... they're going to send me home and do nothing..." He looked like he just lost all hope.

The doctor came in and thankfully he seemed to think sending Bryan home was a bad idea. Finally! I told the doctor that I was worried he had pneumonia, and he said he was wondering the same thing. He told me Bryan would get a chest x-ray and bloodwork. FINALLY! I wanted him to get bloodwork and an x-ray on Friday when I took him to Urgent Care the first time, but the doctor said it was unnecessary. If it was your spouse, maybe you'd find it a bit more necessary.

So I continued to call and text message family to let everyone know what was going on. I was scared, Bryan was scared. I spoke with his folks and his mom got on the phone and told me "give him a kiss for me and tell him I love him." She was crying. I was crying. All I wanted was for my husband to be okay. Healthy young adults have died of swine flu that turns into pneumonia. I had told God over and over again that I was NOT going to have my husband taken away from me. I am terrified of him dying at a young age. And yes, even 70 seems young to me. I want all the life I can get with him. He is my everything and the thought of losing him is just.... it's like my whole future gets dark and I have no more choices or future at all. He is my life, our marriage is the most important thing. We are supposed to have children together and raise them to be kind and loving and just wonderful people. We're supposed to have our European Motorcycle tour when we're 50, if I'm over my fear of motorcycles by then. We have serious plans, plans that span decades.... I was terrified. I couldn't stop crying, and I felt bad doing it in front of him, because he was scared too.

We waited after the x-ray, him resting, me texting and crocheting. Text text text text until my phone died and his was down to one bar. Tell everyone what's happening, keep them informed, we don't need groceries but thank you for your love. The doctor comes in. Bryan has pneumonia in his left lung. I'm scared, because I know that can be bad. But the doctor says "we're going to get you a IV. If you feel better later you can go home and treat this from there. If not, we'll keep you."

We apply for emergency Medi-cal. This will cost well over a thousand dollars. Our car that's in the shop until tomorrow or Tuesday? Also a thousand dollars. Not exactly easy for a college student married to a medical receptionist with 20,000 dollars in school loans from a degree she isn't using.

The nurse comes in and says she needs to take more blood. I think this is the sixth vial. She tells Bryan she needs to do something that's not fun. She says it's just a nasal swab but can be uncomfortable. She does it, and leaves. Bryan says "I was worried she had to stick something up my butt or something. Just not into that, thanks. I'll pass." This lets me know Bryan is feeling better, his sense of humor, which has been gone for days, is coming back. The nurse returns. "Okay this is going to be the worst thing that happens today." Bryan looks at me. Not the butt. No, this is a four inch long flexible tube thing with a swab on the end. "This needs to go up one of your nasal passageways." She threads it in, pokes. He is grimacing and flinching. "Didn't get it." Does it again, he is obviously not loving it. His left eye tears. She says "thanks" and leaves. I say "was it more the discomfort or did it hurt?" "It hurt so bad... I think it was right on a nerve." His eyes are full and then flowing. "It's so dumb to cry but that really hurt." I start to cry again, and tell him,"I've been crying on and off for the past two days. I want you to know how much this makes me realize that I love you more than I realized. It feels like it's all that I am." I cry more, he holds my hand. It has been 5 days since we kissed, almost 2 weeks since we've made love.

The nurse comes in again. "I need to set up your IV. You're going to get Levaquin, it's an antibiotic." I tell him it's a good one, I had three courses of it when my sinuses kept getting infected. "It will take an hour and a half, and then we'll do a saline drip with all kinds of extra goodies in it. It will make you feel better."

It seems like it's taking forever. He sips his water. He shuts his eyes. Luckily the coughing has largely subsided and he says,"I think the anxiety was just overwhelming me." I know what he means. I was fighting a panic attack last night, reminding myself this is about him, not me. My husband.

His back hurts. He has to pee. He was given a plastic container to pee into. He can't stand yet, too weak. He pees into it and some of it dribbles out. It hits his hospital gown, and is all over my hand. He's embarrassed. "I pissed myself." "No, you spilled pee from the container. It's no problem. We'll get a new gown." Except he has an IV in, and that makes it impossible to put on or take off a layer. Well. What can you do?

He tells me I can go to the cafeteria. I show him the box of cereal I brought with me. I eat exactly 3 corn flakes, 2 oat clusters, and 1 dried strawberry. That's enough of that.

He's hot. He's sweating like crazy. They give him Tylenol. His back hurts. He can't get comfortable. He's so hot. I breathe cool air on him, and then he's cold. He opens his eyes, he closes them. He looks so sick, it's painful to even look at him.

Time passes and the nurse comes in. Anyone around him has to wear a mask. She speaks through her mask, "I'm going to speed up the antibiotic a little bit." And then, "I'm going to administer your saline drip now." Drip. Drip. Drip.

Another hour or so later and we've signed the papers and they come to give us the scripts we need. I remember Levaquin is expensive, and ask if there is a generic. "No, this is what he needs." Okay.

I help him out to the car. He can walk himself but he's tired. We have had thousands of dollars worth of medical help I'm sure. I drive him to Walgreens to check out the meds. I'm almost getting good at driving a stick shift, no longer stalling all the time. I had to learn for real this time, driving him to the hospital, not just on side streets but on the expressway. I go inside Walgreens and find out Levaquin will cost 159 dollars. We fill the other med and hope that Dr Carroll will give him samples of the Levaquin at the clinic. Please, please, please. Please? Please.

Stop at Wendy's for Frostees; Bryan is excited about eating something, which is a good sign. He likes the Frostee but hates the fries. Not sure about a burger. Eats half the Frostee. We get home, and I give him the over the counter cough suppressant the nurse told us to continue. I open up the medication I had filled at Walgreens, the one the nurse told me was for his nausea. It's cough syrup with codeine, and can help nausea. Can I give him both kinds of cough syrup? Doesn't matter, he's asleep on the couch, thankfully able to relax. I call his family, I call my family, I text back friends with my cell plugged in and charging. I sleep for about two hours. He's up and looks like he is tired, but says he feels all right. I make dinner. He is quiet, and I ask if he is feeling worse. "I'm just trying to stay really relaxed so I don't breathe fast or cough." He eats. He calls his parents. I give him 1.5 teaspoons of the cough medicine with codeine and tell him it should knock him out a little bit. He goes to bed but isn't asleep. I rub his back and hum him some songs. He tells me he loves me, he turns over and sleeps. No wheezing. His breathing is still faster than normal, but he has pneumonia, and a fever. I believe the medication will work. I believe he will get better. I believe he will be able to go to school at least one day this week.

I love my husband. I love every single breath of him. I love taking care of him. I can't wait until he is well again. He's my life; we're bound helplessly together. I never thought I could be bound like that; I will never be able to separate myself from him, and I am grateful for that.


Crumby cell phone pic of Bryan at his first hospital visit at Urgent Care, happy after a breathing treatment and ice water. :-)

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