When you go to bed at night,
you just never know how it's gonna be the next day.
I'm always happy each day when I wake up breathing.
Here's what happened to us after we went to bed late Saturday night... On Sunday morning, I was sound asleep, when I heard my hubby fumbling around, grabbing our Medi-Rub massager, (which he keeps plugged in & by the side of his bed) & trying to run it on his shoulder.
I noticed he was kind of struggling with it, so I got up on my knees in the bed & grabbed it & ran it on his shoulder for him for maybe ten or fifteen minutes. I was super groggy, since I had been completely asleep, so I had no idea of the time for certain... When I turned off the massager & was lying next him, just snuggled up, like normal for a few minutes with my eyes closed, everything seemed fine... Pretty soon, he said he had to pee, but he sounded a bit "off". I moved away from him & could tell he was struggling to get up, so I asked if he needed help & he said yes.... Keep in mind, my hubby is a big tall man, weighing in at 285lbs, but I am ALWAYS willing to help him with anything that I can AND I am used to helping him often. I remembered he had a plastic hospital urinal from his stay there 5 years ago & I quickly ran & got it from the back of our bathroom cabinet. I ran back to the bed & did my best to maneuver him around on the bed, so he could pee. This was NOT an easy task. I had to pull & shift & shimmy him around. At one point, I had my back pressed against the back of him, holding his weight up with mine. Once he was kind of lying sideways in a semi sitting position, I held the urinal for him to go in & he did... After I dumped it & washed my hands, I took a moment for myself & I crawled up next to my love on the bed & snuggled around him for a brief minute. I knew there was clearly something wrong... I took that moment to pray silently & stayed calm, as I lovingly asked him if he wanted me to call 911. He opened his eyes, nodded & said yes, out of the side of his mouth. I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was scared, as tears welled up in them... I jumped up & ran in the other room, let our dog out of her crate & took her out the front door in my night shirt & hooked her onto her cable, which I always keep draped over the front railing, so I can easily hook her up, even if I'm in my jammies & she can go out to pee... I ran back to the bedroom & crawled back up to my hubby lying on the bed. He said, "Did you call?", in a kind of slurred voice & put his hand in the air & drew an H, for hospital. I said, "No, but I am. Would you like your sweats on first?" & he turned his head to me & nodded & slurred, "& Clean underwear!". Of course! Didn't our mom's always tell us to wear clean underwear?... SOooo, with me still in my nightshirt, I ran over & stripped off his underwear & redressed him with clean underwear, sweat pants & socks. He said he had a headache, so I asked if he wanted Ibuprofen & he nodded yes, so off I ran to get some quickly. I shoved it in his mouth when he opened it & I held a bottle of water up to his mouth, to help get them down. It took a bit of effort, but we are a good team & he got them down.
I ran to find the cell phone & then ran back to our bedroom & threw on some clothes... As I dialed 911, I ran to the front porch where our dog was waiting at the door. I unhooked her & brought her in, as I was talking to the 911 operator, "911 what is your emergency", "My husband needs medical attention, I think he may be having a stroke...". She went through their series of questions & I put our dog back in the crate, so she would already be in when the aid cars came.
They got to our house in about 3 minutes & they were so awesome. They assessed him & figured he was having a stroke, just like I thought. They couldn't get their gurney into our room, so they had to carry him out on a cool net type thingy with strap handles, to the gurney in the front room. Then they wheeled him out to the aid car at the street & hauled him off to the hospital.
This whole series of events had taken maybe 20 to 30 minutes from the time we woke up, until he left in the aid car... Once they took off, I went online & alerted friends & family & asked everyone to pray. Then I took care of our dog's morning routine & tried to figure out anything else I may need to do before I followed along to the hospital.
When I got to the emergency room, I answered all of their questions & gave out the insurance info & signed all of the consent forms... They told me they were prepping him to be transported down to Harborview in Seattle. I was pretty bummed, BUT I also knew it was probably the best place for him. Harborview is the only place where they can do a type of surgery for stroke patients who need it sometimes, so getting him down there was important... The ambulance for the transport got there in about 20 minutes. They told me I was welcome to ride along, so right away, I knew in my gut that's what I "had to" do. My hubby was super scared & I had no desire to leave him in such a scary time for him. Neither one of us knew what to expect or what would happen in the days to come. The least I could do for my love was to hold his hand along the way... I asked how long before they took off, since I had our dog in the truck. They said, "About ten minutes", so I told them I would run out & walk the dog before we took off... I went out to walk our sweet Gypsy-girl & called my sister to plead with her to come pick me up later, since nobody really wants to have to drive down to Harborview on a Sunday night... When I got back inside the emergency room, the ambulance crew was ready to head on down the road. There were two of them & they were VERY kind. I rode in the very back, next to my hubby & we held hands the entire ride. The driver said our ETA was 57 minutes to Harborview, but he would try to shave that down by ten or fifteen minutes. We rode in the left lane, siren blaring the entire way. I now have a whole new way of thinking about ambulances on the road, with sirens. I also have a new appreciation for the EMT's who drive down in Seattle. The guy driving let the gal in back know when he was turning onto a street with a steep hill & she literally squatted down behind the gurney my hubby was on & held on as we made our way up that hill, to keep the gurney from bashing against the back doors of the ambulance, for fear of the gurney slipping between those doors & rolling on down the hill behind us as we drive on up. Imagine that!
Once inside the emergency room, we were treated very well. The staff was all very kind to us. My hubby had been given a drip bag of meds to help break up clots & keep blood flowing at the first hospital, which meant he had to be checked on every 30 minutes for the first 8 to 10 hours, then every hour after that. They asked him questions about where he was, who he was & where he'd come from during this time. It didn't take him too long to get tired of the repetitive questions & the stroke was hampering some of his speech, making it hard for him to talk & it came out in a whisper, so he just started flipping off the nurses & Dr's. They completely understood. It was actually quite funny, in a not so funny situation. I think humor can be healing sometimes, so I am always grateful for it!
The emergency area of Harborview was jam packed. Full to overflowing & then some. Loud. Machines beeping, people hollering about their pains & just ALL around craziness down there. I have never been fond of hospitals. I am EXTREMELY squeamish. This was a very uneasy place. This was a VERY uneasy day. Thankfully the staff was wonderful. Very caring...
& I was ever SO grateful to get my sweetie settled in his room up in the ICU, where there was a different level of beeps & noises, but no erratic people screaming & begging for drugs & such.
I spent the rest of the entire afternoon & evening in the ICU, comforting the love of my life. He was scared. I held his hand, scratched his head & rubbed on his arms & whatever other areas I could massage to ease his day & help him to relax. I laid my head to his chest & just whispered sweet loves to him. We both cried some off & on...
Not gonna lie, it was probably one of the most emotional days we've had in all of our 36 years together. For him, it was fear. For me, it was the fact that he was scared. I wanted to take as much of the fear away for him as possible, so I did my best soothing act & tried only to cry when he wasn't looking or asleep. I cried for him. I cried for not knowing what the future would hold for him. I cried, because he cried. Sometimes, I just cried as a release.
They did a lot of tests on him. Ultrasounds, CT scans & who knows what else. The afternoon was kind of a blur, mixed in with a waiting game. We had NO idea what would go on or what our future held from here on out. It was the first day of a stroke & we were already in a state of limbo.
After my sister & her hubby came to pick me up & take me home, it was super hard to leave my love. We both sobbed. It was heart wrenching. My heart REALLY wanted to stay, BUT my head was wise enough to know that I "needed" to go home & get a good night's rest. Plus, we have our dog & she & I needed each other right now... SOooo, after we sobbed our good-bye's in the ICU & I promised my sweet hubby I'd be back the next day, I broke away from him, still in tears & headed out with my sister & her hubby to head on home. I was bone weary TIRED. Completely exhausted. Dehydrated... Plus starving hungry. All I wanted now was to get back to our truck at the other hospital & let our sweet girl out to pee after 11 hours of her waiting (she's waited longer before, so I knew she was fine), & get us both home after the LONG day we'd had.
Once I got home with Gypsy, I put my sweetie's clothes they'd taken off of him onto the bed & Gypsy immediately jumped right up on the bed & started rolling around on them. Then she went out into the other room & grabbed her dog bone & brought it in to chew on top of those clothes on the bed. It was super sweet.
I took myself in to the shower & soaked my aching bones, as I washed my hair... & I had a gut wrenching, full on body shaking, sobbing cry as I stood in there with the hot water streaming down over me. I was thoroughly wracked with exhaustion, to the core... & As I got out of the shower & dried myself off, I thanked God that everything would be OK & for His protection & provision in the days to come, as I had NO idea how it would be. All I knew was that God always has a plan & His ways are the best ways & I trusted that He would have us in His ever loving hands & meet our every need.
I took Gypsy out one last time & since I had told her on our way home from the hospital that she could sleep in her Pa's bed tonight, she made a B-line onto his side of the bed & got herself comfy cozy.
When I crawled into bed, she also crawled in under the covers on my hubby's side of the bed. She loves to be fully covered just like us, it's adorable!
She stayed covered all night, until I woke up in the morning, then she brought her upper body out, but kept her rear legs under cover. I LOVE her!!
I had decided at this point to reach out to friends & family for rides down to Seattle, to Harborview. I knew our 20 year old truck would never manage on those hills around the hospital & I really prefer not driving in the city... I also knew that this was one way that I could let others take care of me for once. In my whole life, I am "usually" the one caring for others & I would be able to use the time being driven there & back as a time to rest & renew & visit with whomever would step up & offer themselves to me that day. For now, Gypsy could stay home, safe, in her own environment. She's a super great dog & has no problems being home alone or waiting to go out all day... & She is always thrilled to see us when we get home.
I'm here to tell you, you just never know what the next day will bring... Hug your people. Hold them close.
Pay attention to warning signs. If someone has slurred speech, or troubles moving, or if their smile is all of the sudden droopy, get them help as fast as possible. Getting there quickly is huge, so don't delay. I feel extremely blessed that I woke right up when my sweetie was fumbling that morning & that when he talked, I listened & heard the sounds of slurred speech & that I could act very quickly.
Our friend create this GoFundMe account for us during this time of need & I hope y'all will share it with all of your friends. Thanks in advance for any donations! Your support means the world to us!
Here's the link you can copy & paste... https://www.gofundme.com/dean-rockwood039s-road-to-recovery?
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