Monday, October 20, 2008

The Next Day

It’s a good thing we had such a wonderful time for Alex’s first birthday, because the next day, the bottom fell out! Hubby had started developing a cough the day before, but managed to keep it in check for the day of the party. By the following day, he was really feeling rough. I had to go back to work, but hubby reassured me he would be OK, with Adrian’s help. Adrian had the day off from work, too, so she agreed to help keep an eye on both my boys.

I spoke to hubby once during that day, around noontime. He sounded awful, so I told him to take some cough medicine and hit the sack. I didn’t hear from him the rest of the day, but that didn’t necessarily worry me; I just figured he was sleeping.

When I got home, I found Adrian sitting on the floor in the family room. The hallway door was shut, the heat was cranked up to hellish, the baby was in his crib in his room, screaming, and hubby was nowhere to be found. I asked Adrian where he was and she said to check our bedroom. She said she thought he was asleep, because he’d been in there since early afternoon.

I went in the bedroom and found hubby slumped on the floor, in a pool of vomit, tangled in the sheets, pulled halfway off the bed. I rushed to him, thinking he was dead. He wasn’t dead, just looked pretty close to it. His eyes were bloodshot and droopy, he was hot and sweaty, his voice was raspy. I grabbed him and started trying to pull him up. He looked up at me and in his own predictable denial, hacked to me that “everything’s all right, I’m OK”. “OK?” I shouted. “Get up”! I ordered. But he couldn’t hold himself steady enough to get up. I start trying to pull him off the floor, and he keeps repeating to me, in a foul-odored, scratchy voice, “it’s all OK, everything’s all right, I’m fine”! “Fine! How are you fine! Is this fine? You’re on the floor, covered in vomit, and you can’t stand up! What’s going on here?” He replies that he just doesn’t feel very well, but he’ll be OK in a minute.

I go into the adjoining bathroom to wet a washcloth to clean up his face. I see not only an old bottle of narcotic cough medicine, but also a bottle of OTC cough suppressant. He couldn’t answer for me, so I was left to assume that he had been tossing back doses of both, according to the small amounts that were left in each.

I go back in the bedroom and start trying to mop up his face. He begins to complain about feeling his heart racing. Well, duh! I begin searching for our blood pressure cuff, only to finally find it broken somehow. A racing heart, combined with everything else I was seeing there, was really scaring, so I ordered Adrian to pitch in and help out by watching Alex, while I drove hubby to a pharmacy, so I could use their blood pressure cuff to check his pressure. We drove to the first pharmacy. I dragged hubby out of the car and half-carried, half-shuffled him into the pharmacy. Only to find the blood pressure cuff at that pharmacy was not working. I manage, somehow, to get him back out to the car, and we head off for another pharmacy. Unload him from the car again, manage to get him into the store, and find the blood pressure machine. All the while, I’m on the phone with my Mom, a nurse, getting advice from her. I get my spittle-covered and wobbly husband seated at the machine, and hook his arm through the cuff. I hit the start button and wait for the cuff to pump up, all the while, with hubby mumbling incoherently to himself. Customers in the pharmacy, waiting for their medicine, are giving him the fish-eye, me the sympathy eye, and giving both of us a very wide berth. Mom is still on the phone, suggesting I get him some carbonated soda, since he was complaining of thirst, so I leave him at the blood pressure machine to do it’s work, and went to the front of the store to pay for a cold diet coke. I get the soda, and return to the back of the store, only to find husband has fallen asleep and has slid off the chair at the blood pressure machine, WITH HIS LEFT ARM STILL ATTACHED TO THE CUFF! So he’s basically just hanging there, dangling, by his left arm, with the rest of his body crumpled on the floor. What a sight.

I unhook the pressure cuff, and manage to drag him back up to the seat. People are continuing to look at us funny, and a couple of people by now have come over to ask if I need any help. I’m sure they think he’s my dad, drunk out of his tree. “No, thanks”, I reply, “I can manage it from here.” I manage to snark to hubby that he’s creating a spectacle, and my darling hubby, ever the one to worry what others think, attempts to straighten up somewhat after I get some diet coke into him, and after a few minutes, he decides he can walk out of the store on his own. He stood up, and with me holding his arm to help guide him, we begin to leave the store. But, just leaving the store upright is not good enough for my beloved....no....he needs to assure everyone that he is as on top of the world and living large and in charge as ever. So he begins to whistle. I don’t really know what it was he was trying to whistle, because it came out as a vomit-spittled hack. He began to hack so hard, with spittle flying everywhere, he began to stumble to the floor. We manage to make it outside, and I don’t know what happened, maybe it was the cold-night air hitting him, but he had to PEE! I said, “OK, fine, well, I’m taking you to the emergency room, so just hold it till we get there.” “No,,” he replies, “I need to pee now!” So I suggest we go back into the store and use the restroom, and start to turn him around to head back that way. Well, let’s just say he must have REALLY needed to go, because he lurched ahead of me, into the alleyway between the pharmacy and the store next door, unzipped and pulled down his pants, and WENT. Right there. At least he hit the dirty ground, and not the cement sidewalk.

Well, to make a long story a little shorter, he ended up in the ER that night being diagnosed with double pneumonia. We spent hours in the ER, with hubby finally, slightly sobering up from his earlier adventures with cough medicine. Always on the lookout to make sure people know he’s in full control and command, hubby tried valiantly to make meaningful conversations with everyone who entered his ER room during the course of the night. And every time he’d open his mouth and begin a monologue about who-knew-what, out came the vomit. Buckets and buckets of vomit. Every time, with someone standing in front of him, eagerly awaiting his words of wisdom. Every. Single. Time.

Eventually, he was admitted to the hospital to the medical floor. However, on his second night there, he suffered a mild heart attack, brought on by the lack of oxygen due to the double pneumonia. He was in the hospital for about a week. Safe and snug and far removed from the drama going on at home.

Yeah, that’s right....the lucky jerk gets to hide out in the hospital and have a heart attack AND double pneumonia, while I get stuck at home, having to sort out the drama, histrionics and egos of my mother, Adrian, and my cousin, Tabatha. The old fart! Stay tuned...........

1 comment:

Karen L. said...

Oh Jam...I know it sounds horrible but sometimes it does sound like a hospital stay may be construed as a slight vacation! That must have been a horrible night for you. It's a good thing you took him in, no telling what the outcome may have been if you had left it up to him to go!