Yesterday (Monday) Mark had an orientation at the VA in the morning and I slept in. When I got up I waited till a reasonable hour Pacific Time and called my older sister to discuss some neat things I’ve been learning in my women’s Bible study. While I talked with her on the phone I had cold pizza from the day before and a Coke. After Mark’s orientation, he went to McDonalds for lunch and then made a couple “guy” stops. Little did we know that those lunches would be the last real meals we’d have for over 24 hours.
When I hung up the phone from talking with my sister, I went to my quilt group. While I was finishing the last of the hand quilting on the wall hanging I’ve been working on, I was talking with Ellyn about our plans to go to high tea this afternoon. Several of the quilters were going and Ellyn said she’d pay for me to go because of all the things I’ve done for the group. We were going to dress up and we were supposed to wear hats or something fancy in our hair. I was looking forward to it with excitement.
I came home from my quilt group around 4:00 and found Mark sleeping in bed. I woke him up and he said he wasn’t feeling well. I thought maybe he just needed to eat something, so I zapped him some pizza and poured him a ginger ale over ice. I brought the food into the bedroom and asked if he could sit up. As soon as he did, he made a mad dash for the bathroom and lost his lunch. He had trouble walking straight back to the bed. I put the food away and sat down next to him to read for a couple hours while he slept some more. When he woke up, he had to use the facilities, but he got sick again and trying to get back to the bed he staggered to it and collapsed on it.
At this point, I decided to call the community health nurse at the VA. She asked me a number of questions and finally said she thought he might be having a stroke and I should call 911. That got my adrenaline flowing! I called 911 and tried to help Mark put some clothes on without him having to sit up too much. Soon I could hear sirens. I looked out our front window and saw a fire truck turning the wrong way. I ran out to the street and caught a bicyclist and asked her to chase the truck down and send it back our way. Of course, all the neighbors were out now watching the excitement. That’s a favorite pastime around here.
It took a couple minutes but then I saw the ambulance coming. I went to the corner and flagged them down and directed them to our place. Soon after they arrived, the firetruck returned with all its lights flashing. The EMTs brought their gurney to our door, but there was no way they were going to get it inside, so they had to come up with another method for getting Mark out. They put him in a chair and tried to carry him down our stairs, but not before he got sick again. Someone from security came to try to find out who they were picking up, and she’s someone who knows our faces, at least, so she was surprised when she saw me and figured out Mark was the patient.
As they were loading Mark into the ambulance and starting an IV on him, one of the EMTs tried to give me directions to the hospital they were going to take Mark to. I told him I had to go get our truck from the parking lot behind Woodland Hall, but I wanted to follow the ambulance. Mark has done all the driving so I’m not very good with directions around here. I was kind of wishing there was someone I knew who could take me to the hospital, but I don’t have anyone’s phone number except our boss and she’s gone for a week of training.
The ambulance driver was kind enough to drive slowly so I could keep him in sight. I followed Mark’s gurney into the emergency room and they put him in room eight. They did an EKG, a CAT scan and some blood tests. Then things started to get boring. Mark dozed a bit and I sat there watching the clock. Around 10:00 I began to feel hungry. I asked for some crackers and they gave me a couple packets of graham crackers and a couple packets of saltines along with a bottle of water. I shared one of the saltines with Mark.
The doctor finally came in and said that all the tests looked good and that what Mark was experiencing was a vertigo attack. What a relief! The doctor ordered something for Mark’s nausea, something for his dizziness, and a valium. The valium knocked Mark out. I got bored again, and I noticed a man in one of the rooms who had no one with him. I spoke to him through the door, hoping to pray for him, but the nurse chewed me out for looking into other people’s rooms. I went back to Mark’s room and prayed for the man. In fact, while I was at it I prayed for all the patients and the staff in the ER last night.
Finally, Mark woke up and the doctor sat him up and asked how he felt. Mark said he felt better, so he was released. The nurse who scolded me brought a wheelchair in and helped Mark get into it. She wheeled him out to the truck and we were just trying to get him into the passenger side when he threw up again. The nurse looked at me and said, “Well, we can either take him back in or you can take him home with a sick bag.” I opted to take him home. By then it was around midnight, but I didn’t get to bed till about 1:00 am.
This morning I woke up around 7:00. I got up and showered and had a bagel and went to our photo club because both Mark and I had submitted photos to be critiqued for an upcoming art show and Mark told me to go ahead and find out which of our shots the instructor liked. One of my classmates said that when she heard the siren last night, she prayed for whoever it was for, so she said to let Mark know she had prayed for him. I asked the instructor to do the critiquing first so I could get back home to get Mark’s prescription filled. I was also still hoping to go to the high tea with my quilt group.
When I got home there was a nice note from our neighbor, Peggy, offering to help in any way she could. I should have asked her to take me to Walmart to get Mark’s prescriptions filled because I got lost on the way. I had to call my son Jamey and ask if he could look on the computer and help me find my way. It’s something when I have to call all the way to Oregon for directions to a store in Florida! I was eating an apple I had grabbed on my way out the door.
When I turned the prescriptions in at the pharmacy, they told me it would take them 35 minutes to fill them. I looked at my watch. That meant it would be five minutes after 1:00, the time I was supposed to meet my quilt group at Woodland Hall to go to high tea. I had put on my nicest dress this morning and I went to the hair section to look for something to put in my hair, and I burst into tears. It wasn’t so much because I was going to miss the tea, but there was no way for me to contact Ellyn to let her know I couldn’t come. I called my older sister and she talked me through it and I finally realized that if I could get Sun N Fun’s phone number, I could ask that someone be sent to let the quilters know to go ahead without me. I had to ask at the customer service desk if they could look up the phone number for me. My new smartphone was on the charger back home. Once I was able to get that message to them, it relieved some of the stress I felt.
I got the prescriptions and some seltzer water for me and drove home. I gave Mark his medications, and he said he was a little bit hungry. We didn’t have anything mild in the house for him to eat. He said he’d like some saltine crackers and some chicken noodle soup and some Gatorade, so it was back to the store for me. By this time, it was about 2:30. Other than some crackers, a bagel, and an apple, I hadn’t eaten a meal since 12:30 yesterday. I finally broke down and stopped at a Chic Filet and had a chicken salad sandwich and some fries. Fortified, I went to the store and got some food for Mark and brought it home and fed it to him. Considering he had had a fasting lab yesterday morning and probably lost everything he had eaten after that, I’m guessing it was dinner time on Sunday when he last kept a meal down.
He seems to be keeping the soup and crackers down and a few minutes ago he actually stood up and walked out here to check his computer. He’s gone back to bed, but this is definite progress.
This has been one of those kinds of days when I’ve wished I was close to home so I could call in my support system, but I also realize that support was given to me by many people. There was the classmate who prayed for Mark last night, not knowing it was him. There was my neighbor who left me a sweet note. My son made himself available during his work day to help me get where I needed to go and my older sister gave me a phone hug and helped clear my mind so I could think out what my possibilities were. Also this evening, my dad called and told me about an exercise he does when he feels vertigo coming on that he says helps. I had Mark try it, and it was after that that he was able to walk out here for a few minutes. I know if you all had known what was happening, you would have been here for me in spirit.
God has been so good to surround us with caring people wherever we go. I was just reading yesterday about the storehouse of heavenly blessings God has for us, and He showered us with blessings this weekend. How rich we are in all our friends and family!