Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Agnus wrote

Gosh, I feel for you. Been there. Stage-setter: Different risks - history of addiction, depression, HepC, bad hips and shoulders; Amaryl, Metformin and Glucophage; A1Cs 7- 8, bs 200-400, never reported. He refused insulin, afraid needles would trigger a heroin relapse. So, bypass in 1999.
What to expect? Tears, normal and healthy, release bad stress. Testosterone disappears in surgery so he's all estrogen now til it rebuilds – enjoy it! Men ignore this, you'll hate it: We watched chick flicks and boo-hooed together, what a hoot!
His pain was hard to control in this order:
1) where the tubes had been, 8-9 first week, livable by week 3
2) lower back, 8-9. BTW they quit using steel gurneys; cardio says now they pad ‘em cuz the patient's full weight rests on spine and sacrum but there’s no blood-fed tissue to protect nerves.
3) legs where veins were pulled - fiery 7-9 for weeks, worse when he walked for his rehab. With pain pills he gradually got walking 45 minutes a day after 2-3 months.
We had two pretty good years after the surgery when he stuck with rehab. They stepped him down to Tramadol but a year later pulled that too when his liver enzymes crept up. He stopped walking, too painful. He could not return to factory work, failed the paperwork parts of retraining for new work, stayed unemployed 3 years, then found part-time work he loved.
His heart, thank God, has stayed great. They had time for only 5 of 6 bypasses, but the last was not critical. A recent check 11 years post-op shows his heart still ticking along fine. (They let him back on tramadol last year; guess it's moot now that he has cirhossis.) And he injects insulin now 4x day.
Sometime post-surgery I started noticing what I thought were lows or highs, but somehow different. He was tested and found to have a learning disability affecting multi-dimension and abstract perceptions. They said he may have had it all along, just noticeable now that he was out of the factory. Maybe. Or, diabetes? Surgery? Drug abuse? Rx side-fx? Head injuries? He’s had ‘em all. In 2003 he was diagnosed with a liver-related brain disease too.
I walk a daily tightrope between taking care of myself and taking care of him, being his friend and being his mommy, being his support and being his boss. I used to ask myself why I stayed, but I know: I love the guy, I don't break vows before God today, and I don't want to spend the rest of my life knowing myself as the kind of person who would bail on such a sick man when he has no one else.
My belief is that we are each here to learn certain lessons in life, and God will help us learn them as quickly and painlessly as we will let Him. His illness has changed me in ways I don't like, but also in ways that I am pretty proud of today (see preceding paragraph). I might have learned these life lessons some other way, like having a terminally ill child, or becoming a paraplegic or something. In the end, I had to surrender and accept that neither God nor I had made a mistake about my marriage. This is where I belong.
My Dad was a stick-to-the-end husband and father, and in my younger days I did not respect that or follow his example. Fortunately he saw me change, and before Alzheimer’s got him, he recognized me as a “sticker” now too. Dad died 2 weeks ago and it feels good to know he is proud of me today.
Well, I've written War and Peace again, I'm afraid - apparently I need a more regular outlet for my creativity or it floods when I'm pumped! Hope you're not drowned. You are a blessing, and I'm praying for you.

Agnes, I am so sorry for the death of your father. I lost mine almost 20 years ago and it seems like yesterday in so many ways. Thank you for writing your story. You are quite brave to do so. And gave me a few new things to think about. I have to say, I thought it was so strange last week when he agreed to watch a chick flick with me! But you have now explained that to me, so I will take advantage of it while it lasts! :o)

It's good to know that he is 11 years post op. I think once they get my hubby's back fixed - he may outlive me!

After the past several days, today was a good day. It was wonderful! His pain is down, his sugars are remaining good, and he was in overall good spirits. I really needed a break and I got it today! And I had a really good night's sleep last night and looking forward to another one tonight.


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