2016: A Year In Review
Illnesses, Deaths, Accidents, A Wedding and the worst year of my entire life!
The Family Reunion and Dad’s Diagnosis
I turned 40 in January. I was actually excited! I set new life goals, such as working on improving health issues and getting my house in order. When we moved to this location three years ago, I was recovering from a hysterectomy so I didn’t set up working organisation or cleaning systems. Thankfully, Hubby was able to do everything. I finally felt like I actually wanted to get everything done on my to-do lists! I dreamed of taking some classes, stepping out of my comfort zone! This is still a work in progress!
I wanted to learn new lifestyle choices, such as healthier eating, getting proper exercise and finding natural treatment options for my ongoing battle with Fibromyalgia. My stepdaughter was planning a wedding with her beautiful bride for October.
I was entering a new year with hope and optimism! Something that is hard for me with my depression.
Everything went normal until May when things were destined to change for the worse.
Our family reunion is a May’s Victoria Day long weekend tradition at my Dad's; he lived a six-hour road trip away. My husband couldn't be there that weekend due to work, but my sister, niece, stepsiblings, nephew, spouses - all came, as well. Extended family from my stepmom's family, a niece & nephew, in-laws, an aunt, and more promised to make it a reunion to remember.
Unfortunately, soon after our arrival, we found out that my Dad's father-in-law had just learned he had cancer. What was to have been a happy family time turned into an emotionally charged, bitter-sweet weekend with this news as well as several unnecessary family dramas and fights. My sister and I stayed out of this shit show that didn't need to happen! We tried to keep the drama away from Dad, but my stepbrother, ever the drama queen, was right in the middle of everything.
My Dad's health had been complicated for years. He had had five heart attacks, he wore a pacemaker, he’d had a cancer scare, COPD, heart failure and many other issues. I had visited him the previous fall, and he seemed tired, but he was fighting. He was still running errands and participating in his other activities as long as he had someone to drive him. His pacemaker had been shocking him, so he wasn't allowed to drive anymore. Knowing all these things, I still could not have imagined the change in him. During the past year his health had steadily declined, but from February to June the change was much more dramatic. Dad wasn't able to hide the problems he was having from us any longer.
Watching Dad try to ascend a flight of stairs was quite the eye-opener. His sudden and extreme decline in health left my sister and I stunned. Dad was sleeping about 20 hours a day, and his appetite was gone! He no longer had the strength to manoeuvre a flight of stairs unless he had a spotter.
A murphy bed - a cool space saver - had been installed in the finished basement in the TV rec room on the lowest level of the house. After moving some furniture around and making it comfortable for him, we moved Dad into this room the day we left. It was the best option since it was already furnished with a TV, radio, couch, coffee table, and other necessities. It also had a washroom and a walkout to the backyard without using stairs.
By the end of the weekend, I was so grateful my sister's boyfriend was there to drive us home. I had only had about four hours of sleep all weekend due to a major Fibro Flare caused by situational stress and Fibromyalgia pain. In addition to such an emotional weekend, a woman on the ferry accused me of slamming my car door into her car. (I have no idea what she was talking about. I am appealing to the insurance company, waiting to hear.)
I was losing him
Once home, my husband and I talked and agreed that I was needed at my Dad’s - not just for him, but also for me. After taking care of some personal appointments, I returned to Dad’s.
My stepmom wanted to look into getting some in- home support and respite care. I wanted to get Dad every bit of help we could, so I spent time researching palliative and hospice care in the home. We no longer felt safe leaving him home alone, even for short trips or errands.
When I got to Dad’s, an oxygen machine had been brought in, and he was using it most of the time. His CPAP machine was setup to use with the oxygen machine, and later on his nebuliser. We borrowed a walker to help him manoeuvre around by himself and made plans to have safety bars installed into the washroom.
I also tried to help with Dad's care by helping him walk, adjusting his oxygen, and giving him his medication and bribery wine – yes, we tried to find ways to get him to eat including bribing him with wine! We forced him to use the walker despite his initial resistance. I don’t think he trusted it. We encouraged Dad to use his vape rather than smoking, as his breathing was better. At that time in his life, who were we to deny him what he wanted? As long as Dad could walk outside without his oxygen, then he could smoke.
I helped Dad with things that I didn’t think I was mentally, emotionally and physically strong enough for, but I was. Don’t ask me how!
Mostly, I spent time with my Dad when he was awake, and my stepmom when he was sleeping. I made fun of his polka dotted feet caused by tan lines from the holes in the Crok’s he loved. We watched playoff hockey. We talked about what he wanted to discuss, even when I had no idea what he was talking about, like politics & hockey. I just listened.
Dad discussed his lifetime of mental health issues - some I already knew, and some I had never heard. Dad had never kept his struggle with bipolar a secret, though it was called manic-depression back then. We shared membership in the “Mental Illness Club.”
I have had depression since grade 5, and Dad was my biggest supporter and my go-to person whenever I needed one. I miss his advice. He told me how proud of me he was that I had gotten medical intervention when I wanted to end it all. He understood! He was always there to talk when thoughts of suicide were screaming in my head! Dad was the only person I felt honestly knew what I was going through, and I was losing him.
Stories of Memories Told
When I was in grade 3, we changed provinces and moved to the west coast leaving 99% of our relatives - grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins and more - behind. Dad told me stories of the past, giving me a better picture of what it was like when we lived in Ontario. I heard about the family I didn’t know very much about. He told me stories of his grandparents and his amazingly favourite Uncle Gerry & Aunt Lorraine.
We talked about the Catholic Church in which we were both raised, including Catholic school, finding a common bond in a disbelief in organised religion (The Church).
I cherish the stories he told about what his childhood was like, both the bad and the good. I also heard stories I didn’t need to know, which were gossipy and totally unlike him, about members of both sides of my family.
Dad told me things about my childhood from his point of view. I’m sorry, again, Dad, for my teens years. He told me a little about his and my mother’s marriage and divorce. I had never seriously asked questions in the past, as I believed it wasn’t my marriage or my business. I never took sides. But now, from my own dad, I heard some great stories about him and my mom. There were a few not so great ones from his point of view, but, as always, he was still respectful of my mom. Of course, there were stories; they had been married for 30 years!
I also got to hear from him that he was proud of me, for things I didn’t even think anyone ever noticed. I even got to hear about some of my “faults” that he wanted me to be aware of, and I am glad he did. Dad was true to himself and “honest to a fault.”
Some of our talks were superficial. Even so, those talks showed me more about the man: my best friend, my hero, my security blanket . . . my dad. He was the most insanely stubborn and extremely private person I know. If he were to read this, he would probably kill me!
We also had some real in depth talks about my own physical and mental health issues. We discussed my future: what I wanted for myself, what he wanted for me, and how to achieve some of my new goals. I made some promises to him, and I am trying to work up to them. They were important to him and I understand why!
Did I get to have all the conversations I wanted? No, but I don’t think anyone ever does. I got the true, authentic man, not the guarded private person most people see, and this was so much better! All he needed to know was, “I love you, Dad, and you were my best friend, my teacher, the best Dad for me and a man I respect.” He needed to know that “I will be okay,” though that last part was a lie, at least for now.
Dad’s Last Days
Dad told me that he didn’t want my sister or me present when he passed away. I told him that should be up to us! He dropped the issue, but I didn’t forget. I understood his reasoning, especially since I watched my father-in-law pass away from cancer.
Death isn’t pretty. It isn’t like in the movies - quiet or peaceful. Death is raw. Death is scary. It is loud. It is painful. It is devastating. It can take time to actively die, and for families, it can be really traumatic. Despite already knowing that I also knew I wanted to be there to support him and my stepmom, to climb into bed with him and to say goodbye . . . knowing it was a forever Goodbye.
I stayed for three and a half weeks helping my stepmom care for my Dad. I obviously did not know Dad had only three weeks left to us, but I knew he was getting closer to "end of life." Making him as comfortable as possible was our main concern.
Dad didn’t need any prescription pain medication until the last three days of his life. Four days before Dad died, his doctor, preparing for a vacation, made a home visit to Dad and prescribed Hydromorphone for pain at Dad’s request. Dad had turned down pain medication in the past, but this time he believed it would be better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. And, Dad wanted to avoid going to the hospital.
The doctor and Dad also had a long talk about Dad’s medical wishes. They filled out the forms for hospice, which would allow medical and support workers to keep Dad comfortable. It would allow medical items to be brought in if needed, for pain management. I know they spoke about faith and Dad’s wishes, confirmed the DNR was in order, and they discussed how his pacemaker was going to get turned off. The doctor also filled out the forms that would allow Dad to choose to die at home, so there would be no need for an autopsy. All those “end of life” things you didn’t know you would need to know were covered. Dad was animatedly engaged and put on quite a show for all of us. The doctor couldn’t give us a guarantee, but he believed we had more time, not days or years but weeks or months and we were hopeful.
I had only been getting four-to-five hours of sleep each night, and it was catching up with me. I also had a medical appointment I needed to go to back home. After the doctor’s home visit, I felt okay to leave him for a week. Dad seemed to be holding his own, better than when I got there in some ways! Dad also suggested that he wanted some time alone with my stepmom. I made plans to return with my sister the following Friday and stay as long as needed. I was comfortable leaving; we had a plan!
Dad started on the Hydromorphone the day after I left, which was readily apparent during the short, confusing phone calls that took place that day.
Father’s Day was celebrated two days after I came home. I spent a few hours at my sister's talking about Dad and what she could expect since his health was declining so quickly. We discussed and decided my five-year-old niece didn’t need to see Grandpa like that.
We were happy to have a couple of great phone calls with Dad. He was stoned on the pain medication that he had just started, and he was funny and sounded full of energy. He was lucid, mostly. Pain meds can mess you up!
We heard that he had been having a great day! He had spent a couple of hours sitting outside, reading, and he had been eating well. We confirmed with Dad we would be there on Friday! He was looking forward to seeing “his girls”.
I understand that Monday wasn’t a good day for Dad. He slept a lot. In the later part of the day, he was unable to walk from the washroom back to the bed without help, and a family member had to be called to assist. We suspect now, in hindsight, that he had suffered a small stroke and probably had a few more during the night.
We thought it was his reaction to the new pain medication.
We know now that he had contracted pneumonia again sometime after Friday, and wouldn’t have been strong enough to fight. We also later learned that Hydromorphone can suppress breathing, and in a COPD patient with heart failure, such as my father, the results can be deadly. When the Hydromorphone works, the quality of life can be amazing. It was worth the pain relief that he got from it, even if only for a few days!
On Tuesday morning we think he had a severe stroke. He wasn’t able to sit up in bed, nor could he speak, but Dad could squeeze my stepmom's hand. When he wasn’t able to squeeze her hand anymore, my stepmom called an ambulance. She felt she was in over her head, and I think she did the right thing and exactly the same thing I would have done. I know my Dad would understand. We will never know for sure if he passed away at home or as he got to the hospital. We know his awareness was gone before the ambulance took him, even if he was breathing. I believe that he got his wish, and passed away before leaving the house.
That afternoon my sister banging on my door woke me from a nap. Groggy, I saw her through the glass in the front door. "She should be at work" was stuck in my head until I opened the door and she tried to speak . . . but I already knew from her expression.
Our Dad had died.
June 21, 2016, will be forever etched in my heart!
It had only been four days since I had seen him and three days before I should have seen my dad again. It had to be a cruel joke! When I looked at my phone I saw I had missed a mass of phone calls and texts while sleeping. My sister didn't want me to hear over the phone, or in a text or on Facebook so she drove over from work when she got the news. My husband got home just as she was telling me, having gotten a call at work too. I was stunned and I can't remember a word said!
I took the next day for myself. I was in shock! I couldn’t think! I couldn’t travel!
I have no idea what I did that day, it's just blank. I know I must have done laundry and packed. I know I mentally beat myself up for a bunch of things: for having left that Friday, for not being there when he passed away - not just for me or Dad, but to support my stepmom! I still harbour huge regret at not telling my sister to come early. I didn’t know!
Hubby and I headed back to Dad's on Thursday, with my sister and stepsister following us on Friday.
My niece's sixth birthday was that Thursday. She wasn't told until Friday morning about her Grandpa’s death, on the way to Dad's. Dad would have wanted her to have a Happy Birthday.
On Friday afternoon, the funeral home called. They wanted to ask if we would like Dad's thumbprint taken. I had never heard of this before. We said yes, I want to use it for a tattoo (not sure how yet). They also wanted to know if anyone wanted a "viewing" of Dad.
I didn't want my last memory of my father to be a viewing. I wanted it to be the huge hug I got when I left the previous Friday. But my sister and stepsister wanted one last chance to see Dad; they needed that closure, and they hadn’t had the time to spend with him that I had had. We arranged for Monday or Tuesday – my memory is still foggy on some things. I went to support my sisters in their grief.
Planning the Memorial
Before we went to "view" Dad (God, I hate that term), a few of the adults started a water balloon fight with the kids. (I am pleading the fifth!) This is typical of my family; that we had to leave for the funeral home shortly after didn't matter.
Since my stepmom spent time with Dad in the hospital after he died, she watched the grandkids while we went to the funeral home.
On the drive over we made jokes. It's what we do when we’re stressed. My sister is hilarious. My stepsister threatened to take selfies with Dad - she was kidding . . . I hope!
I went in alone. He looked good I think, for being dead. Not like he was sleeping. It was like he wasn't there. I couldn't "feel" him like I could, sitting on the deck, back at his house. I can't tell you how horrible I found it to see him like that. It wasn't the closure I needed. I understand that other people find it comforting, yet I still have nightmares. It's not something I can put into words yet.
My stepsister went in alone. My dad had become her dad, and I know she needed the closure.
The only kudos my stepbrother gets is he was the only one with the ability to head straight to his mom’s after Dad’s passing and he stayed for two days. He was gone before we arrived. He was still having a hissy fit about a stupid fight he had had with his sister over May long weekend. My stepbrother chose not to be with us during the viewing and planning of the memorial, which was just another example of his childish behaviour. It’s hard to believe he is middle- aged!
I went back in with my sister, we talked and joked . . . it's what we do! We joked about Dad's missing nose hairs. Made cracks that he was wearing make- up. We apologised to him for the "viewing," knowing he would hate it. As an introvert, he hated to be at the centre of attention.
We had a few more things to "pick on him for" just like we always did. Some were inappropriate jokes that I will leave between us, and there were the serious talks as well. And there were tears!
My sister then took some time alone with Dad; I hope she got the closure she was seeking. I haven't been able to talk about it.
I went back in with my Hubby. We have been married for almost 15 years, so, of course, he was grieving too! I said my last goodbye to Dad in person. I am so glad Hubby was there.
Could I have driven away leaving Dad all alone, lying in that cold, impersonal room?
Dad didn’t want the fuss of a funeral. He wanted his body cremated and his ashes scattered into the ocean at a special and favourite beach near his home. My stepmother, sister, and I spent the weekend making plans for Dad’s small memorial service for family and close friends. The obituary was written. We looked at the tide charts to see when the tide would be out. A small gathering at the house was planned for August’s BC Day long weekend.
The urn my stepmom picked out was made of sand and glycerin. It’s made for the urn to be buried at a beach at the lowest tide. As the tide comes in, the urn gets submerged. The saltwater causes the urn to dissolve in about 12 hours, and the urn and ashes get released into the ocean. It was perfect!
Personal Upset Turns Positive
Everyone headed home the next day. People needed to get back to work.
The day after we got home, my husband's employer decided to end his contract and he was given two weeks’ notice. It wasn’t all bad news, though. Hubby got a temporary, military job contract in the same town my Dad lived in, and he was able to stay with my stepmother for the duration of his contract. It was a perfect solution, my stepmom would have someone around and I could spend my summer there.
My stepmother lives in a beautiful area with a multitude of great outdoor activities: kayaking, paddle boarding, beaches, hikes and more, only some I had done before, in previous visits. I wanted to explore the area as I spent some time alone grieving for my Dad. And it gave me the opportunity to spend time with my stepmom.
I had stayed home while Hubby went ahead of me for his work. I returned to my stepmother’s house the weekend before the memorial so I could help finalise the memorial details. I was looking forward to seeing my dad's brother, my favourite Uncle Flipper, who would be flying in from Ottawa. I wanted to spend the time with him. Being only 10ish years apart, we kind of grew up together, and I pestered the heck out of him!
Slip and Fall, Broken Ankle
On my return trip over to Dad’s, I had a pretty horrible fall at the dog walk, on a hill with dry, dead and slippery grass (skirt and all). Some kind strangers helped me up from the bottom of the hill, collected my 2 small dogs and walked me to near my car. I called my husband and he had first aid called to my car.
The 3 first aiders and I thought it was a sprained right ankle. They wrapped it up, made me prove I could drive, gave me an ice pack, and sent me on my way. I spent the ride icing my ankle. Walking once upstairs (broken elevator) for more ice when the ice pack was warm.
About five hours into the trip I pulled to the side of the road, as I couldn't drive anymore. The pain had become unbearable, along with the swelling and bruising. The summer heat and two rambunctious dogs added to the discomfort. I needed to have hubby and stepmom come get me.
Hubby took me straight to the ER, where x-rays discovered an ankle fracture. I was fitted with a boot cast and crutches and was told no weight bearing for two weeks, at which time I would need to get follow up x-rays. Depending on the future x-ray, I might be able to drive, if it was safe. It was emotionally hard to be in the same ER my Dad had died in, weeks before.
My sister, my stepsister, niece, and 7 yr. old nephew had planned to walk on the ferry that Friday. The plan was that I would pick them up, saving them about $200 in transportation costs. Hubby and I both had vehicles at Dad’s should anyone need one during their visit.
Breaking my ankle made that plan impossible. My sister was going to have to drive over, bringing the rest of them with her. Of course, being a long weekend, all the ferry reservations were full. I will be forever thankful for the person my stepmom spoke to when we called customer service, asking for an exception based on the needed change in plans due to my fall. She understood our desperation and worked with her manager, getting them space on the ferry! I will be forever grateful for her compassion and empathy.
Needless to say, because of the fall, the cast, the crutches and the weight bearing limitations, I was more of a burden than help during the long weekend. I wasn’t any help at all in prepping for the memorial service. I couldn’t run errands. I couldn't go get groceries. I was useless in cleaning the house. There was no way I could cook or bake anything. Hell, I couldn’t even carry my own drink! And I was stuck there, unable to drive or know when I would be able to return home! No one likes being housebound.
My stepbrother decided my Dad’s memorial wasn’t important enough to attend. When I tried during a phone call to him to discuss how supported his Mom felt when he was there and how hurt she was feeling with him not coming to the memorial, the little asshole blew up at me, called me some really vulgar names and said his mom just needed to “get over it.” Rather than continue the conversation, I hung up. When he called back, my husband answered and told him to grow up. Being the bully that he’s proven to be, he is not someone that will continue to be a part of my life. My Dad deserved better than that!
The worse thing of all, because of the broken ankle, I had to miss my Dad's memorial service.
When discussing Dad’s last wishes, he chose a sandy spot pretty far down a rocky beach for his urn to be placed. Traversing the rocky area on crutches proved to be too dangerous, at less than a week after the ankle break. Hubby tried piggybacking me, but his balance was thrown off and I didn’t feel safe. Fibromyalgia pain didn’t help in the whole affair.
My family tried to accommodate me by moving the location of the memorial closer to where I was. However, it was still too rocky and dangerous, and the location needed to be as far out as the tide could get, with only a short amount of time before the tide would turn.
The location I watched from was as close as I could get, but I was still so far away that I wasn’t even able to hear the songs Dad requested for his memorial. I watched as my family gathered together to bury Dad’s urn, as they played the songs that I couldn’t hear, as they made a toast to Dad’s life.
I watched from a distance so far removed that I could not see, I could not hear, I could not contribute or partake. I felt so alone, so desolate . . . I have no words besides “devastating” to describe how that day feels to me.
We had a small family and close friends gathering at the house. I’ll admit I am fuzzy on that afternoon, though I don’t drink and was stone cold sober. I don’t remember eating, who came to pay their respects, or any of the conversations. I remember lying down at one point for about an hour, mostly to have a good cry. I remember hiding in the garage when I was overwhelmed with anxiety.
My sister, stepsister, niece and nephew left the next day. The ferry had gotten them to the memorial on time, but they weren't as generous on choices for the home trip. But that’s okay . . . they got there!
My Uncle flew back to Ottawa the day after my sister headed home. It was great to see him, under some not-so-great circumstances. The last time we had seen each other was when I flew to Ottawa a couple of years before for my Grandmama’s funeral.
I had to go to the ER for my 2 weeks follow up x-rays, again spending hours in the same ER my Dad passed away in. The radiologist thought he saw a second fracture, so I had a CT scan that revealed I had also broken my heel. The doctor said, "It was a hard spot to break and be able to see on an x-ray."
The ER doctor consulted with an orthopaedic surgeon, but he advised that no surgery would be needed. I was given the OK to start walking on it, wearing the boot cast 24/7 and using the crutches as needed. I was actually told to try driving in the area for a few days to make sure I could slam on the breaks without pain. The boot cast would need to be removed to drive, according to law. I did that and it was relatively painless. I love that it wasn’t a plaster cast, making showering so much easier, but also so that I could take it on/off to drive.
Later that week I headed home, needing some alone time to help me heal both physically and emotionally. I spent a couple of weeks at home, then decided to go back to Dad’s for the last bit of Hubby’s contract, which would take us to the beginning of September.
Dissecting a Life
I spent time with my stepmom going through some of Dad’s clothing and belongings. Dad was not a sentimental or possessional person - he had what he needed and nothing more. It’s a very hard job, bagging things up to donate. His things stilled smelled like him! It’s so sad to see someone’s life fit into a few garbage bags.
Dad had a framed print that only he and I loved. I asked for it and my stepmom was happy for me to have it. Dad’s old lined denim jacket that he used to wear outside to smoke or do yard work - I now wear it now to go outside to smoke (and yes, I plan to quit). I have his zip-up warm hoodie that I always wore when I visited. My sister got the one she always wore when she was there! A hockey jersey and ref whistle dug out of storage. Things that wouldn’t be worth anything to anyone else, but to me, they are who my Dad was and now mean the world to me!
I brought home some of Dad’s shirts and ties to make memorial pillows. I will get to those when I am ready and have done a few test pieces. I’m a “know- nothing” sewer, but I’m eager to finally have a great reason to learn (been procrastinating for years).
Hubby’s contract was up at the end of August, so he and I headed home. Almost immediately he interviewed for a great job located less than 1 km from our house. He got the position and he loves it! It’s a nice change from the job he had pre-summer, and it keeps him busy!
I spent 10-11 weeks in my boot cast, thankfully, able to walk. Daily life was still definitely a challenge. I will heal enough to begin physiotherapy in January.
It was a wet, cold October day when my stepdaughter got married in an outdoor mountain wedding, on Vancouver Island, not far from Dad's house! A surprise snowfall the night before - on a ski mountain in October - added to the romanticism of the event.
The sky opened up and it started to pour just as the brides arrived and stepped out of their cars. All of the girls - brides and the wedding parties - looked amazing in sleeveless dresses and open toed shoes, even though they were wet and cold.
Once the outside ceremony was over, everyone moved inside to dry off and get warm. Pictures were taken outside, so the girls were jumping in and out of the building in order to get warm between some beautiful shots.
Guests shared combs, hair ties, a hairdryer and flat iron to try to keep from looking like drowned rats.
The reception was beautifully decorated in rustic and fall colours with a lot of homemade touches throughout. The food was tasty; the toasts were funny and emotional. A theme of "Memories" had not been planned ahead of time, but seemed entwined throughout the day’s festivities. My husband and his daughter danced to a recording of my father-in-law singing. He had passed away too many years ago but was able to be with us in the spirit of his song. Unfortunately, Hubby forgot to warn anyone, so my in-law's side of the family was totally unprepared and reacted with surprise and lots of emotional tears!
What can I say? I don’t know what I expected at a lesbian wedding and reception. Knowing my stepdaughter and new daughter-in-law the day would be fun and emotional, and we definitely got that! They hired a DJ that played decent dance songs. Unfortunately, since I was still in my cast, there was minimal dancing for me.
Thanks to a closed bar, there weren’t many stupid “hold my beer” drunks to contend with, but there were wedding crashers, one tore my stepdaughter's dress! No one lost their heads and they were escorted to the parking lot. I didn’t know wedding crashing was a real thing! I thought that happened only in the movies.
November was just hard. I couldn’t get into the Christmas Spirit. My fibromyalgia was so unmanageable that I didn't even want to get out of bed. I was so miserable that I wanted nothing to do with Christmas. No tree. No decorations. No outside lights, although that was hubby’s call. No traditional Christmas dinner. No obligatory visits. No stress.
Normally, as a former retail worker/manager, I always tried to finish “all things Christmas” by the middle-to-end of November. Most years I succeed. This year… nothing! At least I didn’t have hubby to worry about shopping for. We had already decided new tattoos in January would be our gifts to each other.
In December, with my head a mess and my body screaming in pain, I stupidly asked my doctor to try adjusting some medications, knowing that it always makes me physically sick. For five days I endured the new dose, but I just couldn’t handle the side effects so I went back to my original dose. After suffering through for over a week, unable to keep food down, I finally spoke with my doctor on the phone - I was in no shape to go to him. He told me how to adjust my meds for a couple of days, which should have stopped the nausea and vomiting. I followed his instructions, reintroducing my medications back to original normal dosages after two days.
Unfortunately, I messed up the dosage of the Lyrica when I did the reintroductions and made myself even sicker.
A week later, I collapsed. I could not walk, and constantly vomited or had the dry heaves. I couldn’t urinate after I became extremely dehydrated. Hubby called 911, resulting in an ambulance ride to the hospital ER. My vitals were low.
An injection of Gravol, commonly used for motion sickness, did not help me.
The doctor in the emergency room ordered another type of injection for nausea and vomiting. An hour later the doctor saw my husband in the hall and asked how I was doing. Hubby explained that we were still waiting for the second needle. The doctor immediately walked over to the nurse’s desk to verify that the shot had been ordered, and it arrived soon after. Once the vomiting was under control, I was sent home armed with a few anti-nausea pills that were traditionally used by Chemo patients. The ER doctor just thought it was an extreme case of the flu.
It was the flu, as the next day proved when I woke up with an uncontrollable fever, aches, pain, nausea and vomiting, headache . . . the works. Hubby called our family doctor who was able to schedule an appointment for me the next day. After examining me, my doctor also determined it was the flu virus. He prescribed me more anti-nausea medication to get through the holidays.
I spent the entire month of December sicker than I have ever been in my 40 years. No exaggeration. I was so sick that I didn’t step into a store the entire month. I couldn’t. Hubby bought gift cards and a few gifts for the few people we gave gifts to.
The only thing I wanted for Christmas, was to spend a couple of hours visiting my sister, mom and niece and open gifts. Not wanting to spread the flu to my family, I didn’t even get to do that. Instead, I spent a quiet Christmas at home with Hubby, except for the few hours while he went to visit his mother, leaving me with Netflix and a puke bowl as company while I lay on the couch. Perfectly content in my own company. I am not a good sick person!
I lost my best friend, my Dad. Broke my ankle & heel, Hubby had a job loss, my stepdaughter got married and I skipped Christmas and had the worst flu ever. New Year's Eve was spent with TV and homemade pizza, and hubby and I were asleep before midnight.
So . . . goodbye to a shitty 2016 with high hopes for normalcy in the New Year!
After I get rid of this head cold I woke up with on January 2, 2017.
RIP DAD, miss and love you always!
It's time to retire your Jersey, you have skated your last shift!