Monday, April 28, 2008

I Wonder What The Scariest Thing Was

*Today begins my last week as Monday's hostess. When you join us next week, super jane will be your hostess! We're giving g love a reprieve from being Monday's hostess since she just had her little boy last Friday...aren't we kind and generous?

The scariest thing that has ever happened to me is a tough topic. I am sure it will be for all of the Wonder Women. I could talk about my night terrors as a child, I could talk about the time that my cousin and I thought a man was outside a tool shed waiting to get us when we walked outside, or I could talk about a car accident I was in. However, none of those things come even close to being the scariest thing that has ever happened to me.

The scariest thing that has ever happened to me personally occurred so long ago that it nearly feels like a lifetime ago. It started with my right arm going numb for longer and longer periods of time. I saw every doctor and specialist in the free world and no one seemed to be able to figure out what was wrong with me. The numbness did not happen all of the time and it was never coupled with any sort of pain, but to have your entire arm go numb for hours at a time was a little freaky. It was also scary when I would have brutal test about brutal test to no avail. I once saw a fantastic neurologist who tested me for muscle and nerve degeneration by hooking me up to a machine that sent electrical impulses up and down my arm. For someone who hates even being shocked by my car in the winter, that hour of tests was like being tortured for war secrets. Every time she would hit that switch, my mouth would twitch and so would whatever part of my arm she was testing. I hated it. And the test? Showed nothing. That same doctor sent me to have ten vials of blood drawn and after the third nurse came over to inquire as to why I was having so much blood drawn, I fainted. It was horribly embarrassing and nauseating. After several months of testing, I really began to feel like a truly sick person. Eventually, I was sent to a thoracic surgeon who did one simple x-ray, brought me into an exam room and told me what the problem was. It was so easy, he said. Your carotid artery is wrapped around your right cervical rib. We'll just take that one rib out! I was elated that someone had finally figured out what was wrong with me, but I was also struck mute by the idea that he wanted to slice me open and cut out one of my ribs! I had never heard of that before. Turns out, it happens all the time. Who knew? Now, almost ten years later, I am fully recovered. The only things that remain from the surgery is a wicked scar under my arm and the memories of the brutal recovery.

The scariest thing that happened to someone I know is when my husband got inexplicably ill last year. It all started with him turning yellow. Yes, yellow. Then, he got tired all the time. Then, he started not feeling so great. His appetite disappeared. Finally, he could not keep anything down. He was so ill that I finally took him to the emergency room on a Monday morning in April. The numerous specialists that he had seen in the weeks leading up to our landing in the ER all gathered and started running test after test. No one could figure out what was making him so sick. He suffered in the hospital for nearly three weeks. He was on so much medication and was so miserable that he became a different person. Nearly every specialist in the hospital came to see him during that time in the hospital. His kidneys and liver failed and nothing could seem to reverse their failure. It was beyond scary. I think it would have been much less scary if it had been me in that hospital bed. I felt helpless. The only way I felt like I had any control was when I was begging (and maybe yelling) at a nurse for his sleeping meds, when I was bringing him things he needed or wanted, and when I could have intelligent conversations with the various specialists that visited him. The hours upon hours of no visits, no answers and suffering on his part nearly killed me. It was a brutal time in our very new marriage. It taught me that even through the scariest things that Superman and I could lean on each other and could survive almost anything.

Both of these frightening experiences have taught me lessons that I carry with me every day. While it was misery going through these health scares, I truly would go through them again to know what I know today. It is terrifying to face the fact that you are mortal or that you might lose the person who means the most to you, but it truly does make you appreciate every day that you have even more.

1 comment:

super jane said...

i hear ya, sista friend. medical trials have plagued my little family as well. i agree that the scariest part is not knowing. once i know what i'm battling, i'm's just finding out what that battle is that wears on me.

ps. i'm SO glad you all are healthy again!