Monday, October 12, 2009

Husband in the Hospital

This past weekend was a harsh reminder that the other half of my little family - my husband Don - is also affected by a chronic, incurable, and serious health condition.  He has been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease for 16 years now. 

When I first met him about 8 years ago, his condition was somewhat stable and being well-managed with Remicade infusions every few months.  He would still go through cycles of feeling better, then worse as the drug wears off , but he has thus far been lucky enough not to have required any surgery to resection his intestines, as many Crohnies have.  (We both dread the day when that has to start.)

After a terrible night of vomiting and unusually excruciating pains, he told me Saturday morning that he "might have to go to the hospital".  Needless to say, I jumped into action and was ready to take him in a matter of minutes.  He couldn't even keep a sip of water down without throwing it back up in only a few minutes.  All signs pointed to an intestinal obstruction, which is serious business for anyone.  I took him to the ER Saturday morning.  After the usual tests and waiting around for hours, the ER doctor recommended he be admitted, so he was moved to a different room and stayed overnight.

The obstruction does not seem to have resolved itself as of yet, but at least he can eat without vomiting and the pain is not as awful as it was before.  Treatment, per his own gastrointestinal specialist, is to try to reduce the inflammation to help open up a likely narrowed portion of small intestine with an antibiotic.  He was on liquids only Saturday through Sunday morning, but is now temporarily on a low-residue diet until this obstruction resolves.

The entire time was in the hospital, poor Don was worried about my health and comfort.  ♥ 

But my health came second to his during this time of emergency.  I didn't care about my needs - I just wanted to make sure he was okay and had some company during this scary time.  I skipped breakfast and my daily supplements and stretches Saturday morning, and was doting on him as he lay in the hospital bed, sometimes putting myself in awkward positions or standing for a long time.  I would tend to my own needs later.  I am surprised to notice, however, that despite my own neglect, my left hip didn't feel bad at all, I wasn't noticing much dizziness or fibrofog, and I hardly noticed any of my usual pains and problems.  I think my body responded to the emergency to graciously allow me to focus my attention on what I decided mattered most at the time.  I suspect the problems were there, but I didn't allow them the attention they usually get because I was determined to help my husband in any way I could.

As expected, today, I notice a heap of exhaustion, plenty of moments of presyncope (dozens of episodes already this morning) and more pains in my hip, back, and legs.  It was interesting, though, to notice that my pains and fatigue temporarily subsided during a time of crisis.  I wonder if I can tap into that need again - perhaps the next time I'm having my own crisis of extreme pains. 

Have any of you noticed that your Fibromyalgia symptoms subside during emergencies or special circumstances, despite any added stress?  Have you ever been able to control your symptoms when they reach crisis levels, by using some mental technique?  I'd love to read your experiences.