I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.
My husband is okay, but on September 17th, I received a phone call no one ever wants to get. This blog post is a continuation from yesterday.
I approached the desk and gave the woman sitting at it my husband’s name.
“He’s been discharged,” she said.
“Really? With a ruptured spleen? That’s inspiring. Also, no, he was not discharged. So, check again.”
The lady behind the desk got on the phone and called someone who told her that my husband was in Day Surgery. We were given some mildly confusing directions to get there and when we arrived, we stood outside the locked door for 15 minutes before an employee who was passing by took pity on us and let us in. Every room in Day Surgery was dark and empty. My husband was not there. We continued walking through the hallway before coming to another area where there were both patients and hospital staff. Once again, I gave my husband’s name. They gave me a blank stare. The nurse at the desk hopped onto her computer and then made a phone call.
“So it looks like your husband is having a CT scan done and then he’s going to be taken to ICU,” she said. “Let me walk you over to the elevator you need to take to get to the ICU.”
My husband’s coworker, their chief, and I found our way to the ICU waiting room and sat. His chief kept busy by texting various people in the command who wanted updates about my husband. I sat there, feeling very awkward. And that’s when it occurred to me I had a few more phone calls I needed to make.”
Before leaving for the emergency room, I called my mother-in-law and gave her the news. While I was at the hospital, I decided to call my sister-in-law who’s a nurse in Colorado. At this point, she hadn’t heard anything from her parents so I filled her in. I also called my mother and gave her the news.
We were in the waiting room for maybe twenty minutes when the surgeon came to speak with us.
My husband had a broken nose and a ruptured spleen. They did not remove the spleen but they went in laparscopically and shut it down so that he wouldn’t bleed out. His spleen no longer functions and he’ll require certain vaccines for the rest of his life.
I’ve had several people ask me what the spleen does. In a nut shell, if the human body is a computer, the spleen is the antivirus software. It’s programmed to detect and remove certain bacterial strains. In my husband’s case, his software is still installed in his body but it no longer functions- hence he’ll need certain vaccinations for the rest of his life. Also, when he wakes up every morning, he’ll get that annoying McAfee pop-up that tells him his firewall might be at risk.
It wasn’t long after the conversation with the surgeon that a nurse took us to see my husband.
The ICU is shaped liked a figure eight with a nurse’s station in the middle of the eight. The rooms each had sliding glass doors for the main entrance with a curtain that could be pulled across for privacy.
My husband was kind-of asleep, mostly groggy. His eyes and nose were bruised. He had abrasions on his forehead. This is a man I have known for 22 years. He’s always strong. Always so energetic. This is a man who breaks out into random opera notes while making pancakes for the kids.
It was heartbreaking and terrifying to see him hurt and in so much pain. And all I could think when I saw him was, “Please, God, let him pull through. Our family doesn’t work without him.”
I asked him if he wanted to see his chief who was standing behing me. He perked up and said, yes. His chief came inside.
“There’s paperwork in that bag.” My husband pointed across the room. “It’s for tomorrow.”
“Seriously?” I asked my husband. “You have a ruptured spleen. Give it a rest, will ya?”
It turned out the paperwork my husband was talking about was for someone’s reenlistment ceremony the next day. And his chief made a HUGE deal about telling everyone how committed Chris was to making sure the paperwork was ready – despite having a ruptured spleen.
Shortly after that, Chris’s coworker and chief left. I stayed for a couple of hours to make sure that he got his next dose of pain medication. And then I went home to relieve my best friend so she could go home and get some sleep before work the next morning.
Part three continues here.