So, my first blog of 2019 comes from the skies. Don’t worry, I haven’t joined the Royal Air Force or become an adrenaline junkie seeking to parachute from a moving plane through the clouds. I’m actually on my way to Germany to visit my nephew for the first time. To say that I’m excited to see him would be an understatement, I’ve been wanting to give him a cuddle since he was born last month. Normally, I would be accompanied on such a trip by my darling husband, this time however it cannot be. Any trips I make to visit my brother, his gorgeous wife and their beautiful son will be alone, just as I was in November when the family went over for my brother’s wedding. It isn’t because of money reasons, fair enough we’re hardly wealthy but we manage to get by. It isn’t because my husband and my family don’t get along, they all love him, and he loves them. No, the reason I am making this journey alone is because my husband is seriously ill. It has devastated our lives and pushed our relationship to the very edge at times, but we must remain strong, we must overcome this challenge that we’ve been presented with, for the sake of our family.
Let me recap a bit here and explain what has been happening over the last 4 months that has resulted in our lives being turned upside down, and has been one of the reasons why my writing has been restricted. In October, we went on our first family holiday abroad. We had carefully planned all the assistance we would need as my husband’s mobility was limited therefore he had to use his wheelchair, and despite a few little snags along the way, we all enjoyed the holiday that everyone clearly needed. It was on the day before we were due to return home that I noticed a change in my husband’s behaviour and mannerisms. He wasn’t as responsive, was in a lot of pain, could hardly take one step and was incredibly lethargic. We got home, and after struggling immensely to get up the stairs he took to his bed where he remained for four days. Thursday came and as he was trying to move up the bed he just collapsed and I genuinely thought he’d had a stroke. I immediately called for an ambulance and within 10 minutes our small bedroom was teaming with paramedics. They thankfully were able to rule out a stroke, but suspected that it was Sepsis. As soon as I heard that word my blood ran cold. Three months before we got married I nearly lost him to Sepsis. I remember the day as clear as anything. He had been rushed into our local hospital and was transferred to another hospital 40 miles away as he desperately needed surgery to amputate a toe and remove the infection that had taken hold of him. As he lay there on his hospital bed, with nurses and surgeons all around him, I was actually watching him slipping away from me. Had it not been for the anaesthetist demanding that he be taken straight down to theatre he would have died. The surgery unfortunately was botched, and he was transferred back to our local hospital where the head of the Vascular department performed another surgery on him to try and save his leg. He had 3 toes amputated, and all the tissue from his toes right up his shin was all removed. Basically, he had a huge open wound where you could see his bone and ligaments.
He had spent so long fighting to recover from this major surgery, he was determined that he would be standing at the altar on our wedding day and not be confined to his wheelchair, an impossible feat everyone thought but he managed it, we even had our first dance. We spent two years going back and forth to the hospital every fortnight to be reviewed and treated, he recovered remarkably well and didn’t even need any skin grafting which shocked everyone, he was finally starting to see a brighter future and now this was happening to him. What was I going to do? How much more did this brave man have to suffer before he could finally catch a break? When was all this going to end?
He was admitted to hospital where they discovered he had a very nasty infection in his elbow that needed to be treated immediately with the strongest IV antibiotics. He was taken onto a ward for treatment and things seemed to be going the right way, three days later however he got a visitor. It was the consultant from the Renal department, who had by chance seen my husband’s name pop up on the system and had requested blood samples to be taken to check his kidney function levels. Now my husband is Diabetic, which can cause problems to the kidneys on its own, but having an infection can make things much worse. The kidney function level of a healthy person should be above 60, the consultant came into my husband’s cubicle and told us straight, his kidney function levels were at 3! I honestly felt like my whole world was crumbling right before my eyes, I just wanted to cry. How were we going to deal with this? What treatment would he need? How were our children going to take the news? A thousand and one questions were running through my mind at once, but only one truly mattered; Was my beloved going to die?
The consultant was brilliant, a straight talker who doesn’t beat around the bush, just the way my husband likes his doctors to be. He arranged for my husband to start dialysis immediately and within a couple hours he had been moved onto the Renal ward. He received dialysis every day for two weeks, had a blood transfusion and a few small surgical procedures, however he wasn’t showing much signs of improvement. They had originally hoped that the shock of the intense dialysis would have been enough to kick-start the kidneys into functioning properly on their own; this wasn’t to be.
Meanwhile I was struggling to deal with my own battles. I had finally opened up to my Psychologist about the full horrors of my childhood abuse, I had opened a door in my mind that had been firmly locked for 20 years and I was prepared to start working on dealing with the pain I had endured as a child. It was going to be a long and difficult journey but it would have brought me one step closer to getting some sort of closure on that part of my life, and I knew my husband would be there loving and supporting me all the way. Now however, I faced a dilemma. Should I continue along this road of uncertainty and try to deal with the pain and suffering I had endured at this monsters hands, and hope I would be able to move on from being just his abused child victim to being a woman who had survived and could create a life for herself, placing all my strength and focus on this task? Or should I lock the door again, bury all the thoughts, emotions and fear deep inside and devote all my time and energy to caring for my husband, being his tower of strength in his time of need? Obviously, there was no question about what I was going to do, my husband has been my rock through all my dark, difficult and low times, now it was my turn to take care of him. I just hoped that I could see him through it, that I could remain strong for the both of us, and that our family would be able to ride out this storm.
How do you do it though? How do you become a person’s solid foundation? The symbol of courage and hope they so desperately need when your own mind and body is riddled with self-doubt and uncertainty? How do you find the strength to deal with everything the world throws at you? How do you carry on with life when all you want to do is cry yourself to sleep with the hope in the back of your mind that you won’t wake up in the morning, and all the pain has finally gone? How…? I can’t give you an explanation as to how I do it other than the obvious one…Love. The love I feel for my husband and our family is what drives me every single day to be the best I can be for them. To be the shoulder to cry on whenever anyone needs it, to show that I have faith that my husband will get through this and he will be stronger because of it. I will pick him up if he falls, I will make sure he is cared for in the comfort of his own home. I will give him the kick up his backside when he needs it, and let him know every day how much I love him, and how proud of him I am. Not because I have to, not because it’s what others would expect from me, but simply because I want to. There is no man on this planet who can make me feel safe and loved the way he makes me feel. He’s more than just my husband and soulmate, he is and always will be my best friend. Sure, there are tough times ahead of us, but as long as we’re together there’s nothing that can knock us down. My life is far from perfect but I am blessed. Blessed to have a devoted husband that’s been able to see beyond the broken, abused victim to the person within. Blessed to have such beautiful children in our lives, who always manage to bring a smile to my face no matter how low I feel, and I’m blessed to have the support of my family around me.
So, where do we go from here? Well we simply carry on, that is how we do things. We face each struggle head on and together we stay strong, for the sake of our family. We’ll no doubt come across a few speed bumps along the way but this is a part of life, and what makes it challenging. I have no doubt that my husband will overcome this obstacle, like every other one he has faced.
I will deal with my issues one day I’m sure of it, until then I must remain strong and face this storm head on. My future has not been this uncertain in a long time but my determination to see it through has never been stronger.
To my beloved husband; stay strong baby, I’ve got your back.
To the world; bring it on, I’m ready for you!