That first night, was a typical night at the hospital. Every hour I was woke up by nurses coming in and out to check on Derek. I literally saw every hour go by.
However, early the next morning, it was still completely dark outside, the lights went on in the room, and I sat up very groggy. I was so tired and completely jet legged from our trip, and now all this. I don’t think there was enough tea or coffee in the world to make me wake up.
As I peeled open my eyes, the Doctor and nurses were standing over Derek. They were slowing raising him in a sitting position. But not even half way of raising him into a sitting position, when Derek, started projectile vomiting again.
Like being woke up in a battle field where a bomb had just exploded, the room became again, a horror movie.
But this time, it was the look on the Dr.’s face that completely scared me. It looked like the blood just drained from the Doctor’s face.
I jumped to my feet and ran over to Derek. As they laid him back down, giving him more meds, the Doctor looked at me with the most concerned, yet frustrated face and said, “This is NOT normal.”
He then went on to assessing Derek.
As the Doctor was looking at his eyes, he started rattling off foreign words that I had never even heard of before to the nurses.
Words like… Vestibular and nystagmus….words I cannot even explain were coming out of their mouths. They could have been speaking Chinese for all I knew.
They wanted Derek to move his eyes and look at their fingers, but Derek couldn’t. He would just yell out, “Everything is spinning, please just make it stop!”
Derek’s face, was grayish color and the look on his face, made me feel panicked inside. Yet, I remained still and quiet as the Doctor kept working on him.
When they were done assessing him and drugged him yet again, the Doctor finally said to me. “He’s not going anywhere. This should not be happening. He is a fall risk and needs to stay here.”
I felt… speechless. Yet, wanted to say ….”Wait a second… what do you mean?” But my own body felt like slow motion and what I wanted to say, wasn’t coming out of my mouth.
As the Doctor started to walk away, I went after him.
“Wait a second, what is going on?” I demanded. “I don’t understand any of this.”
“What do you mean my husband is a fall risk?”
That seemed like something you would say for an elderly person, most certainly not my husband. The Doctor continued to talk what seemed like Chinese to me using his big fancy words.
I kept saying back to him, “I don’t understand!” Because I didn’t understand. Every time I said that, it was like he got more frustrated with me.
Finally I grasped enough to understand that Derek was incapable of walking due to severe vertigo, and there was no way he could go home like this. This Doctor made it very clear to me, that Derek shouldn’t be like this. Something wasn’t right and we needed to wait it out and see what that something was.
Watching this Doctor walk away, I stood there feeling completely helpless.
This Doctor was very reputable, and the best in what he did in Wisconsin, even the whole Midwest. He may have been the smartest man in the world, but he sure had a horrible bed side manner. He was cold, rude, and when I asked questions, he got irritated at me.
My thoughts quickly went to our kids. They thought we were coming home this morning. How was I to explain all this?
Going into “MOM auto pilot”, I realized I had to change my schedule. It was alreadySaturday and there was Christmas practice at church for the kids. Hardly anyone knew we were here. Only a few good friends. We hadn’t told many about this surgery, because this was SUPPOSED to be a minor day surgery that was no big deal.
What should I say to people, how do I explain this? I didn’t even know what was fully going on myself.
I went back into Derek’s room, and he was sleeping from the meds. I sat down and just as I was about to break down and start crying at not knowing where to even begin, when my cell phone rang. Looking at the incoming calling it was Rich.
We had just traveled with Rich and his wife to Ireland and Africa. He was one of our best friends. I answered it and Rich was his cheerful self. He immediately said, “How did Derek’s surgery go?”
Rich was one of the few that knew Derek was supposed to have this surgery.
I walked out of Derek’s hospital room, and into a cement stairwell. Sat on the top step and the floodgates released to my waterworks.
“Something is really wrong, Rich. I don’t know, but I have a very VERY bad feeling about this. He’s so bad, he can’t even get out of bed?”
Rich, being the person he was, comforted me, and immediately went into guiding me questions to ask the Doctor. He gave me confidence to go back onto this foreign battlefield I had just entered.
When I got off the phone, I wiped away my tears, and prayed to God, “Please Lord, heal him, and guide me how to help him.” Rich’s call to me, was I knew, a sign from God, that HE always gives us what we need, when we need it.
Walking back into Derek’s room, it was time for me to call our kids.
Calmly I called them, told them that their Dad was having some complications but would be ok, and that we needed to stay longer. Our oldest daughter Alex was 20, middle daughter Whitney was 15 and our son Gavin was 10 years old. Alex our oldest was going to drive them in and bring a bag of clothes for us and some items from home and bring in her siblings.
The next few hours, I just channeled surfed the TV. Every station again, had on the details of the previous days tragedy.
There was one particular press release of a father who had just lost his little girl the day before, that truly captivated me.
I watched this man, stand before the world, in what I could barely imagine the worst time of his life, tell the world, that he forgave the man that did this to all these children, including the murder of his own daughter. The man responsible for this mass massacre was a very mentally ill young man.
Sitting there, listening to that man, and hearing the word, mental illness…. that word, washed over me giving me chills everywhere.
That word, was something…….I was all too familiar with, from my past.
However, my mind quickly went back to this amazing father as he shared his faith and belief in GOD during the hardest time in his life. He remained FAITHFUL, when most would have faltered.
That father’s speech, filled me up with HOPE, LOVE and FAITH for my own situation, not that this situation was even a fraction of what he was going through. But if this man, could remain faithful, so would I!
Our children came up later that day. I knew enough now, to simply not move Derek at all, when the kids were there. I didn’t want them to see him like this. I remained calm and just told them Dad wasn’t feeling that great, but not to worry, that he would be better and we would be home soon.
After the kids left, the day went on, almost as it was repeating the day before. Derek had turned into a victim of a horror movie.
Another sleepless night.
Sunday morning brought unfortunately, the same situation as the day before. However, Derek just wanted to go home. He just begged me to take him home. I kept telling him, he couldn’t go home till he walked. He was weak from hardly eating and his world, I could tell by his face, had been turned upside down. Whatever he was feeling, was I knew bad. Beyond bad, for in 20 years, I had never seen him like this.
However, there is something you must know about my Derek. He is one of the most determined people I know. He could be spinning out of control, yet he is one of the most controlled people I know.
By Sunday evening, he somehow, got out of the bed, shuffled his feet and walked to the bathroom and told them, he wanted out of the hospital. I think in his mind, he just thought if he got home, he would be better. That he just wasn’t sleeping well here. He just wanted to go home.
After his poor attempt of shuffling his feet, to my surprise he was released.
The drive home was truly the worst drive I have ever driven in my life. The whole way home, Derek, just laid his head back on the seat, and moaned. HE would tell me that the world was “bouncing” to him and he could hardly see.
He felt like he might be sick again.
I kept telling him, maybe we should turn around, but he wanted home in the worst way.
Every mile that went by felt like an hour. I was constantly wanting to turn around. But he wanted more than anything to just be home. Every bump in the road, turn I made, stopping quickly in traffic, he would just moan more. I felt like I was driving on thin ice the way he was reacting to every single movement of the car.
Once, we were home, our daughters and I helped Derek, who now walked like a drunken sailor, and could not walk without assistance on both sides of him. We got him into the house and as far as the living room, right into our recliner.
I slept on the coach next to him that night.
Another sleepless night.
The next morning, I took one look at him…. and with the most sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, I knew this nightmare had just begun.
To be continued……..