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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Update #2 - by Marti

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? 


21 comments:

  1. So thankful for all the things that came together for Paul. And that he has you to take care of him (sit on him when needed to slow him down). We have an exit plan but we still need to work on it some more. Good advise for everyone.

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  2. So thankful for all the things that came together for Paul. And that he has you to take care of him (sit on him when needed to slow him down). We have an exit plan but we still need to work on it some more. Good advise for everyone.

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  3. Very happy to hear that things are progressing and that you already had an exit plan in case of such an emergency. Continued good wishes for both of you as you play the hand that has been dealt you.

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  4. Glad that things are working out, and your exit plan was already underway if need be. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  5. Geez, should have not read this in the guard shack. Good thing I have tissues here! We've been doing a lot of talking about exit plans etc. especially after George's brother passed away suddenly. Sometimes it's hard to make an exit plan because an Exit Plan could mean ending this lifestyle. I know God is in control of all our plans good thing you guys were trusting in Him.

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  7. Wow! Just caught up on your last few posts. What an ordeal! Glad you're on the road to recovery. Thoughts and prayers that it all goes smoothly.

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  8. Thanks Marti for sharing your version. You and Paul are a great team, but we appreciate the view from your perspective as well. Now make sure that young man behaves and gives his body time to heal.

    You sounded so amazed that so many people stepped up to tell you not to worry about anything but Paul. You two have done so much for so many. Now take care of each other and be sure to make a plan to enjoy life after Paul regains his health!!

    Glad you have the exit plan in the works, but so hopeful you won't need to implement it for some time. We keep you both in our thoughts and prayers.

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  9. I have felt a sense of peace knowing we have the lot in an SKP park. i know either of us could live there on our own, or taking care of the other. We plan one season at a time, but know things can change in a moment. Glad paul is doing well.

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  10. What an awful thing to go through. He's so lucky you made the right call several times. It's going to be a few tough months but I have confidence that you both will come out of this just fine. Just remember you are in the thoughts and prayers of many folks.

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  11. I really appreciate your view Marti. Shocking events like that one really do bring us up short in the face of the brevity of life and how quickly things can change. Having the best care simply can make all the difference and I am so glad Paul had it in the emergency and has it now with you. Blessings and gentle days to you both.

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  12. I really appreciate your view Marti. Shocking events like that one really do bring us up short in the face of the brevity of life and how quickly things can change. Having the best care simply can make all the difference and I am so glad Paul had it in the emergency and has it now with you. Blessings and gentle days to you both.

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  13. Wow- I have been out of blog land too long. So sorry to hear about this. Our thoughts are with you and Paul and your family as you work to get him back to 100%.

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  14. Good to hear that things are going as well as can be expected. Our prayers and thoughts are with you both as you navigate this new adventure.

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  15. I'm catching up on blogs. Thank you so much for posting to let us know the happenings. Life can change in an instant, both Jim and I have had ruptured appendix and near the end. I'm so glad Paul is doing much better. I wish you were closer we'd be there for you. We had no exit plan except we knew we wanted in Fla. God took charge and had a place in mind that he wanted us to be in. We're very happy. Please continue with updates. God bless.

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  16. Marti and Paul, What a lot you have been though. You truly are blessed. Thank goodness Paul is improving. It sounds like you both still have a lot to go through.

    Your blog is so well written and you poured your soul out to us. From what we know of you through your blogs, you are both strong people.

    Take care, Marti and Paul. Our thoughts are with you both as you manage this phase of Paul's treatment and recovery.

    Susan and Bob

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  17. Glad to hear you are focused on the future. We will continue to keep you both in our thoughts and prayers.

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  18. Glad things worked out, quite a saga.

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  19. I'm so glad Paul is doing better. That must have been terrifying for both of you. Al had some diverticulitis events in the past and we had heard surgery could be an option if it got any worse. I had no idea how much worse it could get. I'm glad you have your new house being built. It must give you some peace. Our exit plan is still kind of evolving but a least we have two places we could live. Take care of yourself as well as Paul. Being a caregiver is never easy. I was reading the past few blogs where Paul was talking about going on a 10 day motorcycle trip this summer as well as a few other things. It's nice he has something to look forward to.

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  20. Sending prayers and well wish you way. Get well Soon Paul!!!

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  21. I can't imagine how terrifying this has been for you. Sending lots of healing thoughts and prayers your way.

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