health, life

Stretched Thin

I stood frozen in my husband’s hospital room. He just had surgery on his shattered feet. My dog, Max had surgery only two weeks before to have a lump removed. It was benign and healed over … or so we thought. My pet sitter called to tell me Max’s wound had split open.

“Is it bleeding?” I asked.

“No, but it doesn’t look right. I’ll send you a picture from my phone.”

I checked out the photo when it arrived, and I couldn’t really make it out clearly, but it didn’t look too significant.

maxnmeI decided to leave the hospital a little earlier than planned in order to check on Max for myself. I sat on the floor with him and got my daily snuggle, then I inspected his wound area. Yep, it had broken open. I could see quite a ways under his skin, and it was gross.

The world spun around me.

My mind and body, my energy … my spirit were all being stretched as if on a torture rack … in one thousand different directions. How could I get Max to the vet for re-stitching, when my husband needed me at the hospital 20 miles away? We weren’t close enough for me to make in-and-out runs.

I thought my head would explode with worry. I flew into panic mode. I wailed and whined, shook and hyperventilated. This is not to feel sorry for myself, it’s just the raw truth and emotions of the moment. A better woman than I would’ve handled it with grace, but I didn’t know what to do next. I freaked out.

The following morning, I called my vet’s office and told them my dilemma. They said to bring Max in, and they’d take care of him asap. I was in and out of there in thirty minutes. Staples held Max’s wound tightly shut this time (instead of stitches). I put the t-shirt back over him and left for the hospital, praying the wound wouldn’t break open again.

Within 48 hours of the surgery, my husband was transferred to a rehab facility (TGH).

I arrived at TGH at 5pm on his first day there. I found him sharing a room with 3 other patients where only curtains separated them. Each had their own television, and one of them blared throughout the room. His bedside intercom was broken. The lack of privacy forced me and other visitors to know more about strangers than we ever wanted to know.

Gary had eaten lunch back at the hospital around noon before they transferred him. By 8pm, TGH hadn’t brought him his dinner. I complained several times. His dinner didn’t arrive until 10pm.ramp3

For the next week, I didn’t see my husband much. The rehab facility kept him busy with occupational therapy. I was kept busy with deliveries of handicapped equipment to the house. A ramp for the door, a hospital bed, cleaning supplies for his foot-fixater device, a transfer wheelchair, seats for the shower and toilet, and more.

On a Sunday, I took a ride to see him. My usual upbeat, easygoing husband withdrew into himself, his body slumped and sullen. The pain and long road ahead must’ve seemed never-ending to him. My poor guy wanted to come home, and I wanted him there, so I could take care of him myself. The rehab facility, quite frankly, sucked. The only good thing about the experience was the view from his muli-patient room.

tghskyline (800x375) wm

I drove home from that visit at dusk and decided to stop at Chick-fil-A to pick up some dinner for myself. As I climbed out of the car to go inside and order, a stranger in the parking lot called out to me, “Ma’am, you have a flat tire.”

Read what happened next here.

Have you ever felt so much pressure that you flew into a panic? If so, how did you calm down?

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28 thoughts on “Stretched Thin”

  1. I think I would have collapsed in a fit of emotions, just as you did. Your situation was just too much for one person to manage. I’m imagining how hard it must have been for you to even get a decent night’s sleep with all you had to worry about!

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    1. Thanks so much for your support, Terri. I felt so alone at the time. I had a sleep aid at night in xanax, but I saved them only for nighttime to get me some rest.

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  2. Lori,
    Those times in your life, when everything is going awry – they are just awful. And hospitals (especially big people hospitals) are not a good place for your spirit. If I had to stay in a hospital, I would want to stay in a Pediatric hospital. Not that I would ever be allowed to.
    The only good thing about having to go through situations which pull you in every direction, is once it is over, you can return to your predictable, stable way of living and you really appreciate it, even when it is a little boring and unexciting. You learn to savor the unexcitedness of it all.
    I think the last time I was in the hospital with an illness, the thing that depressed me the most, was all the healthy people going about their lives and me stuck in a bed, not knowing if I would ever get better. That was so depressing. I felt mad at the healthy people, because they didn’t seem to realize how fortunate they were for being healthy.

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    1. So true, SP, hospitals are definitely not good for the spirit. My husband was much better once we got him home, which happens in the next installment. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

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    1. Hi Kathy. Don’t you worry, this happened to us last year, and we are fine now. I’ve been telling the story about my husband’s accident in increments on the blog. Now that it’s all over, I’m reflecting and sharing it with others to show how everyone meets adversity at some point in their lives. No one is alone in it.

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  3. Your life sounds like mine several years ago–not in the specifics, but in the one-crisis-on-top-of-another way. And YES, I’ve had my fair share of panic attacks where I was reduced to a sobbing,hyperventilating mess. How did I get out of that state, I let myself get the worst of it out and then told myself that no one will want to be around me if I remained acting like a depressed or crazy person, so I pulled myself together. I swear, sometimes, I don’t know where I found the inner strength to carry on because I was all alone (except for my old pal, Scrappy). But I did. We do what we have to do, don’t we?

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    1. Hi Lorna. Yep, we do what we have to do. At the time, it feels like we will never make it through, but somehow, we do. Thanks for understanding. I didn’t always feel understood while I was dealing with those issues. I’m glad things are so much better for you now. Thanks for sharing a bit of your own experience with panic.

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  4. I learned years ago that the least amount of time you stay in the hospital, the better. After my first back surgery, I was scheduled for a two night stay. After falling in the bathroom because no one was there to help me and then my IV was put in wrong, so I had no medication the entire night, I split the next morning.

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    1. Hi Jill. If the doctors don’t release you though, how can you get out? Did they plan to release you that day? Boy, that sounded scary. I had a nightmare when I was admitted for 5 days in 2011. I may write about that experience some time in the future. Thanks for sharing your experience. Glad you got outta there.

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    1. So true, EllaDee. Better out than in. I did find someone to talk to over the phone. It helped to calm me down. Afterward, I popped a Xanax and went to bed. Thanks for your support.

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  5. Hospitals seem to be the worst place for a person to recover. The noise, the constant interruptions, the roommates. Three others in the room with him! How is a person supposed to get any sleep? Pain meds or not, that would be a stressful and sleepless situation.

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    1. It really was stressful for him, and you’re right, he didn’t sleep much. He was not happy there. I had a time in the hospital at the same place, and it was a nightmare. They tout all over in ads here, how it’s the best hospital & rehab in the state, and it really troubles me when I hear that. Thanks so much for your support, Carrie.

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  6. Oh wow, that is a lot to handle Lori. I’m so sorry this has all hit you at once. I can so relate. I’ve had panic attacks and swirling feelings of despair over too much emotional stress and all I can say is try to get a good night’s sleep so your tank doesn’t “runneth” dry. When my panic attacks happen I have to take very deep breaths from my abdomen (if I can) and that helps me calm down. Also, living in the NOW helps. I can’t do anything but what I can do NOW. It’s one of the principles meditation is founded on actually. I hope things improve soon. I can totally relate to your husband. I’ve had so many physical challenges it’d make your head swirl! Prayers for you, your hubby and that cute adorable dog.

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    1. Thank you, Laura, for your support. I responded to your comment and it didn’t show up. I hope it doesn’t post again. Anyway, I meditate every morning for a bit. When I’m in the midst of a panic such as this one, it tends to spiral to where I can’t get it under control for some time. This incident happened last year and I’m recounting the story now. I would not have had the time to write about it then. I appreciate you sharing your experiences and your coping methods. Thanks, again.

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