I knew immediately what I had to do. I had to get medical help quickly. I had already called TL's business partner and he rushed over to help me get him to urgent care. I knew he needed to be in the hospital but I thought that urgent care would be a quicker route to the hospital rather than waiting for hours in the ER with a very sick husband. I knew I couldn't do it alone again.
I just had to "gird up my loins" so to speak and push away the feelings of panic and terror that engulfed me. I felt a sense of inner calm inside and I knew things were going to be okay-just didn't know how soon.
JH (TL's business partner) came over and assisted me in getting him in and out of the car. We only spent about 30 min. in the urgent care-he was the first patient- and it became very obvious how ill TL was. The hospital was just across the street and we were in the ER in a matter of minutes and he got right in. By this time Jen (our oldest) had arrived and with her calm, efficient assistance we got things done (she is a nurse).
Thus begins the process of elimination. When trying to diagnose what is wrong, doctors generally make a list and then start crossing things off depending upon test results. The list became shorter as negative results came in, no stroke, no blocked carotids, and heaven only knows what else they were looking for-but then finally a positive diagnosis-meningitis-now to find out whether it was viral or bacterial. They isolated him in a room-made us gown and mask and anyone who came in had to gown and mask. By this time our oldest son had arrived and I felt his comforting arms around me bearing me up. By this time TL was very, very ill-with the same dementia type symptoms as the virus overwhelmed his body. I must say though, even as sick as he was, he was never quite as crazy as he was the 1st time.
We were sent upstairs in isolation and I made the first decision-I wasn't going to stay. Last time I was afraid to leave him. I knew what was going to happen, I knew that we had extremely competent medical help and I knew I couldn't jeopardize my own health by staying with him for 24 hours a day. Believe me, I shed tears over that-feeling so guilty....He did a lot of crazy things like ripping out his IVs and trying to get out but he had compassionate people there to help take care of him. I also became super protective. After seeing him fade away into exhaustion after a visitor arrived-I began to screen his visitors and tell people not to visit right now-he was too sick. If they wanted to see him-it had to be for a short while.
Slowly but surely as time passed, the medication and fluids assisted him, and the miracle of healing of our human bodies occurred-he began to be more coherent and gain strength. Our next hurdle was waiting to find out what kind of virus attacked him as it would determine the treatment-possible 3 weeks on IV anti-virals.
Monday morning arrived and the good news-no long-term IV therapy, good to go-take it easy and see your family doctor next week. Other than a new diagnosis of high blood pressure (gulp) he will make a full recovery-and continues to progress each day.
This could happen again-I hope not-I hope I have learned something (him too!) that we won't have to go through it again.
I can't do it all.
Something as simple as saying, "I'll pray for you," bringing in a meal, or a phone call lifts a tremendous burden. I felt the prayers, I felt my burden being carried by others and I will never forget it.
The power of prayer and priesthood blessings.
In my inner "core" I felt peaceful-even though I lost it a couple of times. I know that the spirit of the Lord was carrying me through.
Just the day before all this happened, I was reading Elder Bednar's talk from the last conference. A huge learning experience.
I came across a quote just yesterday that inspired me. I share it for others who may be experiencing trials...""No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude, and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifieds our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God. . . .and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven. . . "--Orson F. Whitney