On Saturday, September 13th, Michael and I took our grandsons, CJ and Derek, ages 4 and 2 to Bear Mountain. We had a wonderful day and I took a bunch of pictures of the boys and their grandpa. (see the Michael page above). The pix are so cute.

On Sunday we were going to bring the boys home and go out to dinner but I brought the boys home by myself because Michael was not feeling well. He never takes any medicine and yet he asked me for Tylenol PM so he could sleep with the pounding headache he had. CJ came to us with a cold on Friday night and Derek woke up sick on Sunday so I assumed they were all coming down with a head cold.

On Monday night Michael had to pick our daughter Gina (age 15) up and said “I can’t take Tylenol PM and drive, right?” I said CORRECT! (sheesh). He picked her and some food up as well as my clothes from the cleaners. He came upstairs about midnight and said to me, “Would shellfish (what he ate for dinner) interact with Tylenol PM?” I said no but he looked it up on the computer anyway. I assumed he wasn’t used to the medications drowsy effects. I said to him, “Why don’t you let me take you downstairs and you can lay on the couch and watch TV?” and he said okay and put his hand out to me like a little kid. That seemed odd I thought but I took his hand and led him down the stairs.

I helped him to the couch and put a blanket on him. I handed him the remote and he asked me to feel his head. It was cool. Again, because the boys had awakened on Sunday with the beginnings of a cold, I assumed this is what was happening. He never gets sick so I assumed he wasn’t going to deal with it well. About a half hour later I came back downstairs because the television was blasting. I asked him to lower the volume and he did. I felt his forehead again and it was cool. I went back upstairs to bed.

I was awakened at 6 am to my daughter’s screams. She said dad was on the floor and not moving or breathing. I flew downstairs. He was on the floor but he was shaking and non responsive. We called 911. My daughter was hysterical. When the EMTs arrived, he was having seizures.

At the local hospital he continued to have seizures…one right after the other….they said it was either a massive stroke or a brain tumor. They were tranferring him to Westchester Medical Center because of the advanced neurosurgical department there. When we arrived the head of neurosurgery said to me, “Your husband is a very sick man right now. We hope we can help him.” It was the first inkling I had that we could lose him.

We spent most of Tuesday in the ER because there was not a bed in the Neuro ICU. They intubated him and that was a horrible and scary experience. We left about 1 am and returned in the morning, neither of us having had much sleep. We both cried all the way home and after we got home.

The next day they did a lumbar puncture and transferred him to NICU. He was heavily sedated and whenever he managed a little bit of consciousness he was fighting all the tubing. This is a man who thinks wearing socks or a seatbelt is too confining. The various tubes are not sitting well with him.

The nurse said, “It’s a good thing he’s a fighter…it’s making our job difficult right now, but it will help him later on…”

The neurologists said that they were hoping that he has a virus infection. If it was a viral infection they could treat it and he could come home within a couple of weeks. If it’s not a virus, they will biopsy the brain on Monday.

The dr. last seemed to feel it’s a virus and that would led us to believe he’ll recover 100 percent. It was the first time in my life I started rooting for a virus.

When Michael was intubated and sedated, it was the first time in our marriage I had not talked in days. I think the longest we’ve ever been out of touch has to be a day or two…my head kept a film going of him… every single memory that came through was of him just loving me…just loving me for who I am and being there for me. I know that we both always regretted not meeting each other when we were younger, but if we hadn’t each sworn off bananaheads and dedicated ourselves to our own lives and raising our children, we would have never met and fallen in love.

But what I was overcome with when it started was that my husband is a good man and has loved me and been there for me in a way that no one else has ever been… I was thinking that if the worst was happening I would never be with anyone else. It’s one of those weird things that go through your mind…like I will never again know the feeling of someone who loves me holding my hand or going on vacation or being a couple…I just knew I would never be with anyone else, nor would I want to be. The thought that ran through my mind was “How do you improve on perfection?” Not that my husband is a perfect human being because he’s not…but he loves me perfectly and has never made me cry before this week…and this week isn’t his fault.

I was also thinking about my breakup blog and my breakup book and thinking that it’s important work because it helps people move past bananaheads and eventually find someone, like I did, who knows that love is an action and that it matters what you do and not what you say. And that no matter what I need to keep letting people know it’s possible.

The other thing is that because I’ve done my grief work and worked through my unfinished business, the grief I felt when it started is for my husband and the love I have for him. There is not a lot of unresolved grief coming up and making it more unbearable. Because I’m not completely overwhelmed with unresolved grief and unfinished business I’m able to be in the here and now of this emergency and deal with what I need to deal with (doctors, logistics, the kids). When I get a few minutes alone, I’m able to cry and feel my feelings and then I know how to put them aside and listen to the doctors and talk to the kids and try to figure out the next step. All of the work comes in during difficult times like this. It’s a foundation you build that never fails you even in the most troubled times.

Because I was my own person and had my own life even in a relationship, I also know that though losing him would be an incredible trauma for me, I know I will be okay no matter what. And I know that because of all the work I did before him and because I have continued to develop and nurture my own life and my own interests while sharing a life with him. There is nothing that could replace what he has been to me and for me, but I have a strong foundation that I had before we met and continued to develop while we’ve been together.

Losing him would be devastating and I am not prepared for that at this time…but I know we don’t get to predict what happens tomorrow. I learned this week not to take anything or anyone for granted. And life is what happens now and it’s too short and precious to waste on bananaheads who don’t love you or who don’t act like they love you.

I’m grateful for 12 years of being loved, really loved, by a good person. And we’re doing all we can for him in return for all he’s done for us.

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