We celebrated our 10th anniversary this week. More than anything else, the thought that keeps entering my mind, and DH has been thinking it as well, "We did it...I made it." It may seem a strange thing to focus on, but most couples have not experienced the trials and tribulations that we have, not packed into ten years already. Here are some of them, and why we know better than to question, "Why us?"
But baby, we made it! We did it, and I am so glad we stuck together through thick and thin! So many have asked me the question, "Don't you ever ask God why you got this so young, why so much was taken away from you, your career, you can't do much with the kids, don't you get mad at God and ask why?" and I tell them, "No. I ask, 'Why NOT me?' If someone HAD to get sick, and it had to be either me or Jane Doe next door, and Jane has NO faith in God, no God to pray to or trust in, and no friends to celebrate with when things go well, and no friends to hold her hand or hug her and cry with during the scary times, then by all means, let ME be the one to get sick! I have faith that God will see me through. I will either be healed, whether it means God will take this awfulness out of my body and make me whole again, or if it means he has to take my soul into his arms in order to free my body from this disease, then both ways I know God has taken care of me, and that God has been with me the whole time, has never abandoned me, has always been there! So, why NOT me?
Many of these stories tell of trials, but they have made our marriage strong, stronger than most people's are by their 10 year, I believe. Trial by fire, that is for sure, and we have come out strong and unified...here is why:
My husband has walked beside my hospital gurney 20 times, watched me disappear into the OR, had the doors in his face, 20 times. He has put my life in the hands of near-complete strangers in Flagstaff, Phoenix, Tucson, New York, and Baltimore.
Standing outside a Recovery Room once, he heard a hospital intercom system calling a Code Blue, which he knew to mean that somewhere, someone's heart had stopped. However, this time, 40 or so people ran by him to the curtain area where he had just been. Stepping closer with my mother, who asked, "What does Code Blue mean?" my husband had to explain, "Her heart stopped," and then they watched a man jump up onto the gurney, straddle his legs over both sides of my body, and start chest compressions as the few dozen other people did the assignments that goes along with being on a Code Team. How many husbands out there watch their wives Code? He should never have had to see that, but at least I responded well to CPR and all the drugs they pumped in.
The next morning he was shocked to find me on a ventilator. He yelled at the nurse's station when he bolted out there, why did no one notify him something else happened during the night, his cell & hotel numbers were posted above my bed. I died again, but had not responded well to CPR this time, thus the vent. I won't share now the look on his face when I came to, or weeks in-patient, months in rehab relearning walking, writing, pretty much everything. But we made it through.
Following one of the brain surgeries, a sneezing fit tore my brain graft resulting in a brain bleed. When the ER dr came and said I was also positive for meningitis, two EMTs were with her. They took me on a 2 1/2 hour ambulance ride to Phoenix to a hospital with a more specialized ICU. The meningitis caused arachnoiditis, which basically means I grow scar tissue in my brain 24/7, it never stops, and it's incurable. It tangles up the brain, the nerves, blocks the flow of oxygen and blood supply; it goes throughout the body as well, making organs glue themselves together (thus my hysterectomy last year, and why they found my uterus was wrapped 2/3rds of the way around my bladder, no wonder why my bladder surgery only partially worked). Arachnoiditis is progressive, painful, and typically debilitating.
DH had a rough time with some things as well, medically, for his knees and for a hernia. He sustained a major line of duty injury in a car accident: he was passing through an intersection and a woman blew her red light, t-boning him in the driver's side of his police car (which had to be totaled). He missed several months of work for shoulder and hip injuries. He had another line of duty one taking down a fleeing criminal, resulting in getting a repeat ACL/MCL, missing months of work, and more surgery a couple years later for hardware rejection.
Both of our children were in NICU babies, and DD's survival is God's work, no other explanation, when the mortality rate of the incident is so high. DS had a minor issue NICU was needed for but was not in danger but was scary as new parents nonetheless. DD had surgery for both eyes at 16 months; tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy at 3 that resulted in 4 days in PICU for infection and not maintaining oxygen. DS inherited my form of Ehlers-Danlos, so his joints pop out frequently and cause problems. Both the kids have a 504 Plan, a federal accommodation plan that provides guidelines to help the teachers work better with them, and also methods to help them better succeed. Every 504 is individually written for each child (see P.S. at bottom of post for more info on 504 Plans, if you want my info as a teacher and a parent).
We have lost close friends and family to cancer, accidents, and various illnesses. My own illness allows us to raise awareness through interviews on television, in magazines, and in newspapers.
I had to say good-bye to my love of teaching middle school. I guess in another way I substituted it with the awareness projects I started and still carry on to this day, such as this blog which is the 1 website about Chiari, http://www.cafepress.com/chiari (all profits have gone to ASAP since the day I opened the store 12/25/2004, and the bracelets I've been having custom made since then. They are purple silicone, like the yellow LiveStrong ones Lance Armstrong has for his cancer foundation, especially popular again right now because of the Tour de France. The profits for these go to Wishes and Rainbows.
I figure all these things happened to us for a reason. It's definitely for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health. Right now we are definitely in the for poorer part, and in the sicker part. We seem to be stuck in neutral, but we have just kept taking it from God, thinking that God's time is different than ours (ha, started typing "hours," and how darn ironic would that have been?) and sooner or later, he is going to pull us out of this and say,
"Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!" -Matthew 25:23 NIV
(There's been a couple other little things but I have been up ALL NIGHT and now it's 5:52 a.m., really honestly truly and I'm going to GO TO BED now and see how long I can rest there before the kids come get me, you know, in about...probably in 45 minutes lol.)
P.S. For people needing info on 504 Plans for kids with special/extra needs: A 504 can be written up for kids who take a prescription for a physical or emotional problem, who has any diagnosis that may possibly put them at a disadvantage at any time during school, such as asthma, diabetes, anemia, and even things you may think your child has that may be beneficial that has been formally diagnosed, such as having superb hearing that is WAY better than normal; i.e. I once taught a 7th grader whose hearing was so phenomenal it literally caused him pain to write with a pencil or pen, because he could hearing the lead or ink scratching on paper. We set him up with a 504 b/c he had a physician's report & diagnosis, so I set up his 504 to provide him with an AlphaSmart --I've never taught at a school that didn't have these, or something similar--so he no longer had to suffer through the literal pain of physical writing--which also did impact his writing as all, so suddenly his grades did improve because he no longer was suffering with that pain.
Children with diabetes that need to go to the nurse's office to check their blood sugar after lunch, and therefore miss the first 3 minutes of the class she has after lunch, should have a 504. If there was ever a test that was unable to be made up due to district or state rules, etc., the 504 would provide her with that extra federal protection, provided that when the parent(s) and teacher(s) upon writing up the 504 Plan be sure to include in the accommodations section something along the lines of, "Due to necessary daily testing in the nurse's office, if student misses a portion of a test/assignment, she must be provided with an equal amount of time to finish such work, so as to have an equal amount of testing time as the peers in her class."
Anyone needing help with 504's can contact me. I have written many a 504 for many issues and would be glad to help. (ADD/ADHD/superb hearing/diabetes/Asperger's/Autism/Sensory Integration Disorder/Ehlers-Danlos/OCD/etcetc.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Posted by Zipperhead at 3:25 AM