The Alpha Blonde


This article was written on 11 Jun 2014, and is filled under Check In, family, health, relationships.

ER Day

Today has been spent watching the love of my life undergo a billion tests, receive an inordinate amount of morphine, and moan, whimper and cry out in pain.

It has been one of the hardest days of my life and I’m not even the one in the hospital bed.

He’s off getting an MRI right now so I’m faced with 45 minutes to myself in his room in the red zone of the ER. The busyness of the last 14 hours has kept me from really dissecting what has been going on but now I’m faced with the noises of the full emergency room hallways, people in every room and bed along the way. Sometimes the nurses laugh and it’s such a stark contrast to the other sounds in the room that it startles me.

When we first arrived and they moved him from Green Zone to Red they had to rule everything out. It felt like the whole walk down the winding hallways was filled with snippets aimed at us. One person coming out of a room said “meningitis”, a passing nurse spoke to another nurse and the only word I heard was “aneurism”. Yet another word jumped across the room, “stroke”. Every unrelated conversation seemed to be synchronized to everything that scared me the most.

CT scans and X-rays and even a sampling of spinal fluid later and we still felt pretty in the dark about what could be causing such an intensely painful pressure in his head and neck.

I mean, my husband is strong. He’s been wandering around for weeks with whatever this is, working straight through- some nights til late. He’s kept it together just enough to pull off his tv show personality. I’m impressed by his determination to shake it off. I’m also scared by it.

What we’re looking at now is most likely a tear in a blood vein, which would mean blood is leaking out and into his head. It sounds less scary than like, meningitis, until I think of the implication that if he hadn’t come in today, if the pain wasn’t so blinding that he woke me up early this morning, “Kim! Something is really wrong” and then collapsed into a twisted and contorted, writhing mess on the bed we would probably be looking at a stroke as the next indicator that something was really wrong.

That puts things into major perspective. We’ve been sleeping separately. My lighter than usual sleep habits thanks to pregnancy combined with frequently getting up to use the restroom or stretch my legs have led to this arrangement. If it had been a stroke and he hadn’t been able to crawl back to me like he did this morning, I would have slept peacefully, unaware that the man I love was withering just down the hall from me. I might not have found him until I woke up.

No, light sleeper or not, I’ll keep him nearby from here on out.

After this MRI the neurosurgeon and neurologist will take a look and see if they recommend surgery. All of these terms are swimming around my head, before this morning I never even paused to think of a spinal tap as anything but “This is Spinal Tap”, and forget the real, scientific terms for whatever a leaky blood vessel is. I didn’t get a laugh from him when I suggested he should call it “Brainal Leakage.” As the spouse of someone about to potentially undergo surgery to the melon I feel unforgivingly inadequate. I want to give the most detailed, up to date information to his mom, sister, son, my parents, our concerned friends. I can’t even remember half of the names of the procedures they’re doing.

What I have learned is that I can stay incredibly calm under pressure. Me, the one who cries over the wrong foods added in my eggs for breakfast and slams doors over the wrong tv program. Which is good. I’d be of no use to anyone if I walked around passive-aggressively slamming privacy curtains shut.

Now he’s being wheeled back from his MRI, and he looks like he’s, well, like he’s had the shittiest day ever in the ER. I’m glad he’s back in the room. I can focus on him again and leave the scary world of “what if” and focus on the equally scary, but far more productive world of “what now?”


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