Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I'm not allowed to write about my husband on the Internet. He has asked me repeatedly not to. Usually, I mention him only in passing, maybe something funny that happened, but mostly I try to respect his privacy.

But something happened, something that wasn't funny at all. And I have to write about it, to try to purge some of the awfulness out of my brain.

Sunday night was hard for me. I was thinking about Mom and had a good cry before going to bed, where I tossed and turned for a couple of hours until I finally gave in and got up. So I was awake at 4:00 when Mikey woke up. He didn't say anything so at first I didn't realize something was wrong, but soon he was moaning and groaning a bit and, by 6:00, he was vomiting repeatedly and then he was on the floor writhing in pain.

By 7:30, we were off to the emergency room, stopping along the way so he could lean out of the car and puke some more. Before long, I was sitting in a hospital with someone I love beyond measure, again. With something very wrong with their gallbladder. Again. And he sounded just like Mom did when she cried out in pain. Believe me, I was more than a little freaked out.

Blood was drawn, an IV was started, morphine was administered, and eventually there was an ultrasound done. The doctor told us that Mikey did have some small stones in his gallbladder and was apparently passing one, but he also had a very high white blood cell count that wasn't accounted for by what he saw on the ultrasound. He suspected that it was unrelated and wanted to admit Mikey to run more tests.

Leukemia. Oh, my God, leukemia.

The doctor left to arrange a CAT scan and Mikey was worried about the payroll checks he was supposed to be writing, so he sent me home to grab the checkbook. I didn't give a crap about payroll checks, somebody else could write them, but I was glad for an excuse to get out of there for a few minutes. I sobbed all the way home and prayed hard. Please, please, please, oh, please...

At home, I googled "high white count" and the Mayo Clinic's page listed 18 reasons for an elevated count; six of those were various forms of leukemia. All I could think was that I was going to lose my husband, and if that happened -- well, you might as well dig a hole big enough to bury both of us because there's not enough left of me to survive another loss of that magnitude.

Back at the hospital, the doctor told us the CAT scan didn't turn up anything out of the ordinary -- I suspect he was looking at Mikey's lymph nodes and spleen -- and that he could keep his gallbladder for now because the stones were so small. And so, after a dose of IV antibiotic, he released Mikey with prescriptions for pain pills and something that might dissolve the stones, as well as instructions for a low-fat, low-cholesteral, high-fiber diet to follow from now on because Mikey is a "stonemaker."

Kind of anti-climactic after all that, but I didn't argue. I was sleep-deprived and emotionally drained and so ready to go home after eight hours in the ER. There is a follow-up appointment scheduled and I presume the doctor will check the white cell count again and decide if there is any further cause for concern. And so we went home and slept off and on throughout the rest of the day and night.

This morning Mikey was still in some pain but eventually went off to work, promising he wouldn't stay very long. Meanwhile, I'm scouring the Internet for advice and recipes, trying to figure out what the heck I'm going to feed him now.

Just my luck, I went grocery shopping Friday and blew two hundred bucks on all the wrong foods. Gah.


troubledcaregiver said...

I've been trying to change to a similar diet. Well, not really trying, more thinking that one of these days I really have to do that. In addition to the high cholesterol, this last summer I retained water from the knees down like you wouldn't believe. Oddly enough, I had no problem while we were in Colorado, but as soon as we got back I swole right back up.

Sandra D said...

When you're at home relaxing, try keeping your ankles propped up higher than your heart. It helps drain the fluid out of your legs.

Just got back from grocery shopping AGAIN -- spent $100 more on healthier stuff I hope he can eat/drink -- liquid/very light diet for now. He's still laid up and running a 100 degree fever. Worryworryworry...

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