Pretty Shitty Vacation

So I think this will go down in history as the worst vacation evah.

We arrived at the Vacation House Saturday evening. Hubby was feeling pretty bad, and throwing up. He’d eaten a sandwich for lunch, but nothing else. I was pretty irritated with him, actually, thinking that he was playing up his illness to shirk work. I can’t tell you how guilty I feel about that now.

Hubby went straight to bed at the V.H., and the boys and I stayed up for a while and watched Speed, then we went to bed, too. Hubby was up vomiting every few hours, which also annoyed me, as I hadn’t slept the night before either due to a badly sprained ankle, and now it was two nights with no sleep. Again, I don’t have the words for my current guilt.

Sunday morning, and Hubby is still sick. I took the boys for breakfast, came back with some medicine for Hubby, and took the boys to the pool. Called Hubby a few times to check on him. He said he was OK, just really tired. Then the shit hit the fan.

I get a call from the Sherriff. The paramedics are on the way. Hubby is off to the emergency room.

To make a long, terrifying, ugly story short, Hubby had gone into a state of diabetic ketoacidoses. His insides had turned toxic. He was inches from death. His blood sugar was over 1200 (normal is 90 – 120), his blood pressure was 60/40, and his kidney function was 15%. He is now out of ICU and doing pretty well, and the plan is that he’ll be released in the morning. But it was touch and go there for a while, and I’m still trying to wrap my mind around how close I came to being a widow.

There are a few positive things I can say about this whole experience, so I’m trying to focus on those:

Positive thing #1: Hubby’s mother and brother and sister-in-law were johnny-on-the-spot, and brother and sister-and-law took the boys with them so I could focus on Hubby. What a relief. Picture me running between the ER and the waiting room to check on 6, 7, and 11 year old boys. For six hours. When Mother-in-Law showed up, I finally lost it and started crying. It was too much. But there they were, and there was help and comfort, and God how I needed it right then. And my brother is on his way tonight, to pass the baton. There are times in every life where family shows what family means, and this has been one of those times. I thank God for mine.

Positive thing #2: This is hands down the best hospital I’ve ever been in. Everyone here, and I literally mean everyone, is competant, friendly, helpful, informative, and compassionate. Everyone from the Sherriff to the EMTs to the ER staff to the ICU staff – even the cleaning staff and food service folks – have made this the least stressful hospital experience of my life. Most of us have had hospital experiences, so y’all will understand how rare a thing this is. These people answer my questions. When I had a question in the ICU about what some of Hubby’s lab results meant, the doctor drew me a diagram. I shit you not. Dude sat down with a pen and paper and gave me a lesson in hemoglobin. Who does that? In the ER, when I asked the doctor if Hubby could die, she looked pained but said yes. Armed with the truth, I can process the information and move on. Guessing games don’t help. I am so grateful for these people and their care. I am planning to write a letter to the administrator of the hospital, and sending it to the local paper. I am awestruck by this place. I never want to be sick anywhere else.

Positive thing #3: I was here. This happened while we were together, not when Hubby was away in Atlanta or Princeton or Philidelphia. I was with him. And neither of us has anywhere to be. Reduces Hubby’s stress enormously that he’s not missing work. I know that sounds insane, but it’s true. He’s calmer knowing there’s no where else he’s supposed to be.

Positive thing #4: I have received a reminder that I am deeply in love with my husband. The thought of losing him is incomprehensible. With day to day life, raising kids and doing jobs and paying mortgages, it’s easy to lose sight of the important things. I love my husband and family, and I’ve been reminded of that without having to lose him. I am blessed.

I would certainly have preferred to have a very different vacation experience, but here it is. And at the end of the day, my husband is alive, my kids are safe, and we have family that love us. This experience has taken me through an emotional spectrum that hasn’t happened since I gave birth – though with some very different emotions in play. But I am grateful for it, in a strange way. I am also confident in the future. My husband is Superman. Watching him enduring the unendurable, with humor and grace, has taught me about the kind of person I want to be. He’s flirting with the nurses (the female ones – he’s had a bunch of male ones, too, but he buddies up to them), cracking jokes at the doctors, comforting everyone around him while he’s in intense pain. God, how I love that man.

He’s actually something of a legend in the ER now. He was semi-delirious, in and out of consciousness, and the nurse told him he had to produce urine. No easy task when kidney function is 15%. The nurse said if needs be they’d give him a catheter. Hubby woke wide awake and shouted, “I’ll pee!” The whole ER heard it. Every man there chuckled. One belly-laughed for like three minutes. Unfortunately, they’re referring to him as “The pee guy.” What a handle. But we’ll take it.


5 responses to “Pretty Shitty Vacation

  1. Jeezus….That was some ordeal you all survived.Best wishes to you all and a speedy recovery to Hubby.

  2. Wow. What a nightmare. Congratulations on getting through it.

    But I love your guilt. I’m hoping that from now on whenever I so much as sniffle Common Law will assume it’s diabetic ketoacidosis and pamper me for a week. Ha! Not bloody likely.

    Gws to the hubby.

  3. HQ: Thanks for the good juju – it all adds up!

    Gimme: Nice – zero in on the guilt. You’re such a man.

  4. Wow, I’m glad he’s doing well now. I actually relate all to well with the idea of hospital time being easier on vacation. Work stress sucks. Hard. I’ve worked through a lot of flus because it’s less stressful than taking the time to heal!

    My last hospital experience was opposite in the catheter department. I couldn’t do the deed, and had to request a catheter before I exploded. I’d have KILLED to be known as the pee guy. No, I get the nurses calling in other nurses to see, “how much this guy had been holding.” I got to be known as the man that filled a catheter bag all at once. Yeah, it was great.

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