Hospitals, our home away from home

Journal Entry: July 13, 2014

I cannot even count the number of times my husband has been in the hospital since I have known him. The first night we “slept together” he left for the hospital the next day. We were 20 years old, and sleeping together, in his single dorm room, turned out to be a lot of heavy petting and kissing and fondling and perhaps one of us making a mess of his pants. But again, we were kids. The next day I expected a call from him. It wasn’t love or anything, but I knew he was really into it and usually guys like Blue Eyes call back. They want more. The day drug on and no phone call. Late in the afternoon, a couple of his fraternity brothers called me at my dorm room and told me Blue Eyes had asked them to call me to tell me he was on his way back home to go to the hospital near his house. The hospital? What for, geez, I know I didn’t break anything. They told me Blue Eyes suffers from “stomach” issues and it’s pretty bad and since this morning, he was feeling really sick. Huh. This was something new for me. I had never dated a “sick” person before. Blue Eyes returned to school the following week and was desperate to get ahold of me. When we got together, he explained his childhood ailments to me. Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, diagnosed at something like 6 or 8 years old, and Colitis, diagnosed at 10. I would later find out that these illnesses, although genetically predisposed, are immune deficiency disorders and can be brought on by severe stress.

If I knew then, what I know now… well, no point going there. After that initial “heavy petting” episode at his dorm, our relationship dwindled a bit. I was not all that into “it.” He pursued me heavily. Eventually we got together for “good” later in the year. As it turns out, my husband was suffering from a failed surgery to correct his Colitis that included the removal of a great deal of intestine. Some of the intestine that was left got pinched and he required extensive surgery to repair and fix everything. The intestinal crimp was not discovered or repaired until Blue Eyes was nearly done with college, two years later, so there was a lot of suffering and a lot of hospital visits along the way. At 21 years old, hospital emergency rooms became my home away from home.

When my husband graduated college, he was sent almost immediately into major surgery to correct his situation. Colitis is technically curable. Unfortunately for Blue Eyes, curable did not necessarily mean he would not have to suffer any more from intestinal pain. Every time my husband is suffering stress that he is unable to manage, his intestines become inflamed and blocked, and because he lacks a great deal of intestine, he has serious absorption and dehydration issues. A case of vomiting and he must immediately go to the Emergency Room.

His last trip to the hospital was last summer, and it precipitated a sexual encounter (what turned out to be his last) with the other woman. Over the years, hospital visits can be tracked directly back to visits and/or trips with the whore. In January, 2010, Blue Eyes was hospitalized for five days. They were unsure what was causing his blockage and they had scheduled surgery to go and correct the problem. Blue Eyes was adamant that he would not have surgery. I could not figure out why he was so belligerent. I knew he had a business trip to Tokyo planned for the next month, but seriously, his health was more important. I tried to talk sense into him, telling him we could reschedule the trip, or better yet, send my brother. Blue Eyes would have none of it. He walked the halls the entire night before the scheduled surgery (that the doctor said he was having, and that he was adamant he would not need). And, miraculously, the next morning his blockage had cleared. They reran their tests and, sure enough, he would not need the surgery after all. I was dumbfounded, but happy for him that he would not need surgery and I would not need to spend the next three weeks nursing him back to health. Hindsight being what it is, that “business” trip to Tokyo was the The Valentine’s Day trip he took with her to two countries over approximately 10 days. That trip weighs very heavy on my mind.

Last Thursday, my husband again started in with the stomach cramping and vomiting. We had decided earlier in the week to try a celibacy period. I had continued reading about the possible positive aspects for the addict of backing off of sex for a while. I wanted to see if it would help him get raw with his feelings. I wasn’t thrilled about celibacy as I thought our sex life was better than ever, but there were days when he wanted it two to three times and I felt like he was medicating again. When he got sick, perhaps I was more irritated than I might have been, due to lack of sex… since dday (other than the 10 days during his intensive) we had not gone for more than a day without sex. Most weeks it was every day and sometimes more than once per day. I realize the hysterical bonding was in full swing, but I was not opposed to this kind of bonding. When my husband first started showing signs of intestinal issues, I got mad and went to lunch with my friend D. By the time I got back from lunch, it was obvious I would be spending the rest of my day with my husband at the hospital. Thank goodness for that lunch date, or I might have just sent him to the hospital in a taxi.

Here are the two messages I sent to my friend D during the past couple days. I think these sum things up pretty well:

July 10, 2014 –Hey D. Thanks for lunch! I just got home from dropping Blue Eyes at the hospital. We spent 4.5 hours in the ER then they checked him in. The doc confirmed it was exactly one year ago today that Blue Eyes was there the last time with the same symptoms getting the exact same tests. Let’s hope he’s not there for 7 days this time! Remembering where last year’s hospital visit led him is getting under my skin. Oh well. Gotta get some sleep so I can get back to the hospital in the a.m. I hope you enjoyed the rest of the day. Love, K.

July 12, 2014 –Howdy. Blue Eyes is doing okay. He was able to come home Friday night and has been on a low fiber diet since yesterday. I am, however, not doing great. Actually contemplating the anti-depressants at this point, but just don’t want to end up taking more meds. I’m going to fight it as long as I can. I wish I could get out of this funk. Surprisingly, the celibacy thing is really bothering me… you are the only person I can even talk with about this, but I think that kind of intimacy was one of the only ways we have been connecting lately. Now with taking that away, I ironically feel unbalanced and really unsure of the relationship. Blue Eyes seems to be doing fine with it, but he has accepted it as his temporary fate, part of his recovery, and he has also been sick. I just still feel this big disconnect with him. I honestly think while he was managing his addiction, he had figured out how to juggle all the balls and keep them all up and going. Sure, it took a huge toll, but I was happy (ignorant bliss) so he didn’t have me to contend with every day. He wasn’t actually acknowledging his illness, but just trying to manage it, so that was actually easier, and everything was compartmentalized. Now that he has accepted he is an addict, I believe what has happened is he is able to acknowledge who he really is and he has gone from managing his secret, to managing his addiction. He seems even more self centered than before, or maybe its just me. Now I notice his self absorption more and also I am in great pain. I keep feeling like I will get to the point where the part of me that realizes all his actions were about the addiction and not about me will override the part of me that feels so wounded… the part that knows he was aware of how much this was going to hurt me. The part that feels like he was sabotaging the “good” in his life because he really can’t handle it or doesn’t want it. I hate the trauma part of this because it has literally (temporarily, hopefully) changed my personality and my ability to cope. Part of the day I actually do not feel like I have control over my emotions. AND, with the volume of time spent each day with Blue Eyes, I begin to wonder how much of our relationship was habit and how much is actually love. For me, it was so much easier to keep the marriage going when I was unaware… I mean, I wasn’t on a thrill ride or anything, but things were under control and I was content. Now I feel like I want the thrill ride, not the controlled existence. I know I need to start doing things that are good for me, healthy things that I enjoy especially drawing and painting, etc… but the depression is not allowing me to do it. I haven’t gardened since last summer. I managed to watch a few minutes of Wimbledon, but normally these are things I really love… some simple normal things that don’t change the world, but don’t hurt anyone either. Ah well, I am really going to try and get out and plant some flowers today. Hopefully I won’t get struck by lightening! Love you. K.

As my husband sat in bed feeling sorry for himself, I did get out and plant those flowers and it did help me to feel better. I wish I had the energy to get up every day and do things that make me feel better. Maybe antidepressants would help with that? Or maybe they will just numb the pain, but it will always be there, and I will never get past it.

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