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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

the saga continues

...all the events I described in my last post happened about a month ago so let me catch you up with the rest.  After the second surgery, hubs spent one nite in the hospital & then they sent him home.  With 2 sets of staples in head & a 4" long incision down the back of his neck.  My hubs is very tall - 6'4" - and with a newly shaven head he did remind me a little of Frankenstein.  don't ever tell him I said that!

This has been a very long, messy year for us so far.  Let me recap:  in February, my daughter had a procedure that did not go well & she ended up on a feeding tube for several months.  VERY stressful!  I had my own extensive surgery on May 1.  VERY stressful!  My daughter had just gotten off the feeding tube & I was starting to recover when the downward spiral for the hubs began.  VERY stressful.  But wait!  There's more!  Right around my hubs' first surgery, my daughter had an appt to see a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.  Her scoliosis has gotten very bad (up to 20% curvature, docs say don't worry; 20-40% curvature, docs say watch but don't do anything; beyond 40% curvature, docs say its bad and surgery is likely. my daughter has a curvature of 60%.  seriously).    The curvature is starting to impact her internal organs and it only gets worse from here.  Even tho' she's just about to turn 10, she's already had several surgeries but this will be the most extensive.  the most scary.  Basically, they will cut her open from neck to butt crack in order to put in rods, screws & wires to fuse her spine as straight as possible.  They may even fuse her hips as well.  Imagine the recovery process from that!   Knowing how long it took to get this appt, I left my hubs in one hospital and took my daughter over to Children's Hospital.  I was trying to mentally prepare myself for the likelihood that I had surgery in May, hubs having multiple surgeries in June & my daughter would have a huge surgery in July.  trying & failing to prepare for that possibility.  VERY stressful!!!  Thankfully, doc said that yes, she will definitely need fusion surgery but her scoliosis seems to have stabilized and surgery is not imminent.  HUGE sigh of relief.  I know its coming, but tomorrow is another day, Scarlett.  I'll worry about that later.

By the time he got home, I was spent....but I had to return to work (hello, sole breadwinner & provider of health insurance!) plus I had to now figure out to care for our daughter.  For better or worse, my little family is rather fragile.  brittle.  We only work as a family unit if both my husband & I are shouldering our respective responsibilities.  I pay the bills & he cares for our daughter.  But in his condition, he is not able to carry his weight.  I  know myself well enough to know that I can't cover day-to-day care for the kid and work and travel and stay sane for any period of time.

We have no family in Denver so I did something very hard - I called my sister-in-law in Kansas City & asked if she could take my daughter for a few weeks.  Nerve wracking for both of us.  She's never watched the kid for more than a few hours.  However, she is a nurse & is working as a school nurse right now which means she has the summer off.  For me, I'm making the decision to split up my family.  I have to send my daughter away because I don't trust my husband not to half-ass his recovery.  I believe that if she was around, he would try to do too much, too soon and likely do more damage or prolong his recovery.  He can't do that - he needs to get back to 100% ASAP so we can move onto my daughter's spinal fusion.  After much discussion (and annoying drama with his extended family), my daughter is sent to KC.  As of right now, I haven't seen her in about a month.  I can't describe how deep that cuts.

After the second surgery, he's home for a few days before I have to get back to work & back on the road.  Sales meeting in London I have to attend.  Tired just reading this?  I was a mess & operating on sheer stubbornness and adrenaline by this point.  Traveling is distracting - in good ways & bad.  As crazy as it was to hop a plane to the UK at that moment, it was good for me in a way.  I got some distance (literally) and could take a deep breath for the next hurdle: recovery.

Two weeks after the second surgery, he had a follow-up with the surgeon.  A CT scan soon after the first surgery still showed blood on his brain & he was still having headaches.  It was feeling like we had been through a lot but it hadn't worked.  fuck!  Doc said its now a waiting game - it takes time for the blood to dissipate & of course, he's still having headaches....they just cut open his neck & head. duh.  those incisions need to heal before we'll know if the leaking has stopped.

Truth is is that I am not a particularly nurturing person & we've had so much drama this year that my reserves are all gone.  I know he will require a long recovery but I don't have it in me to provide it.  Also, his mom is too sickly to come out to Denver because of the altitude.  Through all of this, she's been back in her tiny Kansas town freaking out (his dad came out for a few days to help but ended up staying over three weeks.  in my 900 sq ft house.  with one bathroom.  VERY stressful!!!!).  So, I totally guilted him into going back home so his mother could spoil him.  He wasn't keen on going.  I didn't give him a choice.

Right now, he's been back in Kansas for about 2 weeks and hanging out with the kid in his hometown.  He's feeling better and hasn't had any headaches for a few days.  He is behaving himself and letting other people care for the kid.  Next step is to ramp up his activity bit by bit and see how he reacts.  Keep your fingers crossed that he continues to improve.

I'm in Denver now. I was gone on a business trip when family friends with a private jet came to take him back to Kansas.  When I got home to an empty house, I collapsed on the couch.  utterly spent.  an empty shell.  This has been a such an emotionally difficult time for me.....coming face to face with some of my worst fears.  While he was in ICU, I asked him what he would take away from this too-near brush with death.  He just kinda blinked at me with that "what'cha talkin' 'bout, Willis?" look.  Not a deep thinker or particularly reflective man so I doubt he'll take much from this experience.  But wouldn't you know, I'm having trouble processing it all.......

However, that is the subject of the next post....



Sarah said...

Oh Chloe, you really have been through the ringer. Still in my thoughts and prayers.

vickyd said...

It's amazing that you're even functioning at all! I know that it was a difficult decision to send your daughter away for a while but you made the best decision with the cards you were least your SIL is a nurse and family so you know your daughter is receiving excellent care. ((Hugs)) to you and I hope things get better soon!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Wow- you have had a tough time. You need to make the choices you think are best and accept them. It sounds to me like you are doing the best you can to try and take care of everyone while you work so you can keep your family functioning.

Andrea said...

I'm so sorry! Praying for you and your family!