It’s a palpable feeling. A blast of anxiety causes your heart to speed up and your breathing become shallow and too fast. You can almost feel the adrenaline surge through your body as all of your senses kick into hyper drive.
Everyone, I mean everyone feels it at some point in their lives. I don’t like the way if feels, it’s an uncomfortable feeling but it’s an important part of our survival mechanism, it’s our bodies way of reacting to the powerful stimuli of the vagaries of life.
For me it’s a very keen, borderline obsessive alertness. I liken it to a really good German Shorthair on point, everything rigid, all senses hyper aware. Just like the dog my tail sticks straight up in the air (not a great look for a 63 year old man). It’s like someone is squeezing the adrenalin out of where ever it comes from and it floods your body and boom, a magnified anxiety and sense of awareness has taken over your very soul.
Sometimes I forget how it feels. I like that I forget.
As good as our lives have gone lately, as healthy (relatively speaking) as Marty has been it just takes a moment, an event, an instance and the flood of bad memories, the overwhelming anxiety comes back.
Marty threw up the other day and that’s what revived all of those feelings.
We were eating a peaceful supper (okay, I’m from the country, I call it supper, you call it dinner) when she started doing that heaving thing we all do as a precursor to puking. And then, of course came the real thing. As bad as it sounds, at least if you are at the table you have a plate to collect the stuff coming up.
The only good thing about this event is there is no thinking, there is no muddling around thinking wondering what to do. Marty pukes, we go to the ER, it’s just the way it is because when Marty does that thing there is something wrong that will not get better by ignoring it.
This was about six p.m. (obviously….it’s supper time). The ER was really crowded so we had to wait and wait and wait some more. We finally got back to an ER room about 7:30. I go into my spiel, trying to explain and convince everyone who comes in that we actually have done this before and we know Marty is sick, we know it’s not a 24 hour virus, it’s something else. It helped that her blood pressure got too low and that always gets everyone’s attention.
Suffice it to say I pace a lot, I talk a lot, I explain a lot, I ask a lot of questions and I had to explain the real meaning of supper to a doctor and then we discovered Marty had pneumonia. I was wrong because I would have sworn it was a UTI. Oh well.
We got up to a room about midnight or so. With the help of really great nurses and Nykkie, our care giver, we got Marty settled into a room at Providence 3 south. It was a year, almost to the day, since we had been there last.
Our good doctor, Great and Wise, who normally checks us into the hospital and follows Marty’s care was out of commission due to his own illness. It was bad timing for us, we really didn’t want to be sick when Great and Wise was broken.
Since Marty’s strokes I have discovered the value and importance of continuity of care for someone with a chronic illness. Having to explain our situation to new doctors, listening to them ask familiar questions, having new doctor’s orders issued that are really old orders we have done before, and repetitive tests done remind me of how important that continuity is. Besides, we miss the comfort and confidence of his face.
We worked our way through the strange doctors; they are well meaning and highly skilled men and women. Mostly it means we have to be more attentive and aggressive in our advocacy for Marty, and that’s fine, that’s why I make the big bucks.
We only stayed a couple of days and found our way home on a Saturday. We washed the hospital funk off Marty’s body and out of her hair and were back in familiar confines with the pneumonia well in hand. I know Marty always loves that first post hospital washing.
As a result of this little foray I am reminded of a couple of things: there is a real adrenaline rush when Marty gets sick and I don’t like that feeling at all, we have been really lucky this year avoiding any real hospital kind of illnesses and we really value the skills and love of our own Great and Wise.
And just as an aside, in spite of the recent downtime, I can still catch Marty’s vomit in a bucket and not puke myself. I still got it baby.