Hi, guys - It has been a while since I posted, but thought it might be time for my input on this crazy, unexpected turn of events.
You know the basic details - Paul suddenly 'crashed' after having a nice dinner with friends. Within 30 minutes, he went from "my belly hurts" to vomiting non-stop for 20 minutes, to being on the floor writhing in pain and shaking violently. Initially, as the belly pain increased, I planned on driving him to the ER. As events deteriorated, I knew I couldn't get him to the car by myself, or even with friends nearby and made the 911 call. Whoever thought up that system, may God richly bless them! Within 15-20 mins, he was loaded in the ambulance and on his way to the hospital (of my choice! - a blessing).
After several tests, an EKG (which they had difficulty doing, as he was still violently shaking due to pain), an xray and finally a CT scan - the ER doc came in and said the surgeon was already called and on the way in, as he had ruptured a diverticuli (which we never knew he had, despite a colonoscopy 4 years ago) and there was air in the abdomen and a hole in his colon. Surgery was the only life saving option. Paul was finally given a pain med, his shaking stopped and some relief was given - good thing he has a good singing voice, because the meds cheered him up, and he randomly broke out in song with catch phrases he heard. It would have been comical except the magnitude of what was going on.... in retrospect, we have chuckled a time or two about it, though. We were blessed to have had one of the top surgeons in the area on call that night - a fact the ER nurse told me, confirmed multiple times later, even that both surgeons in that practice were tops. Of course, me being slightly (cough cough) cynical, I grilled the surgeon before he was wheeled away... it didn't help that the surgeon was a beautiful blond lady, and accompanied by an attractive oriental med student. Later on, I joked with them telling them I thought that it was some type of Grey's Anatomy episode I had stepped in... she later told me, she knew she hadn't gained my confidence, because of my questions (what is your infection rate? what will you be doing in the surgery? etc) After the surgery, she met with me, and explained that we have a LONG road ahead, full of ups and downs, and lots of frustrations. Boy, did she know what she was talking about!!
10 days in the hospital, which had the typical sleepless nights, LOTS of pain, negative medication side effects (read behavior issues so atypical of Paul) and tubes coming out of every orifice! Thankful to be finally home, it has been a journey to find a routine. Learning how to care for an incision that has a (thankfully, small) infection -something the surgeon told me to expect from the get-go, due to the bacteria that was dumped into his abdomen during the rupture- that requires wicking (basically, packing it and letting the drainage get pulled out, sorry for the weak stomached readers). Also learning how to care for, use, and manage a colostomy.That could be a blog post on it's own. But I will spare you the gory details.... LOL
So, here we are. One week post hospital discharge. The surgeon told us on discharge, that it will be a full 6 months before Paul feels and is fully back to normal. In that 6 month period, the first 3-4 weeks he will be weak and require a lot of sleep/rest. After that, he can do light/small things... right now, he can do very little- which is a huge frustration for him. The primary doc told him that it even harder for men, who are used to being in charge and the strong one..... The magnitude of what happened, how close it came to being the end for him (although he later told me he had perfect peace, if it was the end, as he knows he is going to a better place- so thankful he told me that AFTER) and now looking to what is ahead. That includes another major surgery to reverse the colonoscopy, sometime around months 3-4 - something he already dreads, as well as the total life change.
All that being said, we both feel blessed by God. He received treatment timely. We had a top surgeon on call, that saved his life (that has been a tear jerker for me, as we hugged her goodbye) our family and friends have been a huge support. Our daughter drove 1.5 hrs every day to see her dad, both our sons wanted to come, but we told them it wasn't necessary so they checked in daily, sometimes multiple times a day. My sister (a nurse practitioner) came and stayed with me at the hospital, and was medical interpreter and stabilizer for both of us. Our friends visited at the hospital, and the Rangers contacted us via text and told us to not worry about anything except getting Paul better.
We take it a day at a time. Life is like that, isn't it? You never know what is around the corner. That leaves me with my parting thought. Most of you know we are building a small house, that will be a home base for us, as we will continue to travel. This event has underscored something we learned from Howard and Linda Payne - ALWAYS have an exit plan. I cannot fathom having to navigate through this, or worse, during a traumatic event. As it was, while Paul was in the hospital, I dumped the tanks, reset a breaker and fixed a minor problem with the ice maker. Never mind having to continue working with realtor on the house-build. Life felt (still does in a way) surreal. But not having any plan in place would have only added to the trauma, and stress of the situation. I knew that if we had to change our lifestyle, we were all set. There would be no need to scramble to make plans. We are prepared in any way we can: spiritually, physically and financially.
Thanks to all our readers and followers for your support, it means so much!! We are thankful to God for sparing him, and helping us through all this, thankful for family and friends that encouraged us (and continue to do so). But ....folks, are YOU ready for what life throws you?