Jim and Levi both stayed for a while and visited. After they left, Stephanie came to be with me. Our time in the ER is marked by lots of waiting and lots of tests. Hubby couldn't keep anything in his short-term memory and continued to ask the same questions over and over again about where he was, why he was there, what day it was, did he work the day before, where did he work, what did we do that weekend, etc. He continually expressed concern for the kids; he wanted to know where they were, were they ok, were they scared. He also kept asking if I was ok, was he scaring me, did he do something wrong, was he in trouble, etc.
He took a lot of little naps. Every time that he woke up after dozing off, he was very disoriented and the list of questions would begin again. Sometimes he would vaguely remember that Jim and Levi had come, but he wasn't sure if he remembered seeing them or if he remembered because I had told him a million times. After she came into our room a million times, he started recognizing his nurse, Sylvia, though not by name. He would stare at her and say, "Have I seen you before? I have! Flowers?" (She was bald and had a large flower tattoo on her scalp.)
The tests they did to him included: urinalysis (including drug testing), blood tests, CT, MRI, EEG, EKG. They weren't sure if his amnesia was due to his diabetes, dehydration, stroke, seizure, concussion, or something else. They were looking at all possibilities. They noticed a scratch over one of his eyebrows so for a while our working theory was maybe he hit his head sometime after I went to bed the night before.
Eventually we were moved to the telemetry unit and checked in for the night. Stephanie relieved Cindy and took the kids to her house for a couple days. Hubby's best friend Jeff came and sat with him at the hospital for a few hours so I could go home, take a break, shower, and grab snacks. It was painful to watch Hubby be so disoriented and exhausting to answer the same questions over and over. If I tried to make a joke to cut the tension, it would just confuse him and make things worse.
And yet, through this whole ordeal I was calm, focused, and just had a "take care of business" attitude. In this moment, it was Hubby's turn to fall apart so I had to be the faithful, steady one. By the grace of God, I was able to do it. I wasn't feeling stressed out or crazy when I needed to be reassuring. Although, when I was in the car by myself, driving down the dark and quiet roads, I broke down and had a good cry.
Early the next morning, Wednesday April 5th, Hubby's phone (which I had in my possession) received two calls from the school district saying that there were substitute teaching opportunities that day. For a split second I felt frustrated that he wouldn't be able to take either of those jobs. Thankfully, the feeling quickly passed.
My brother Wes, Stephanie, all our kids, plus one of hers came to visit. That lifted his spirits and I think helped reassure the kids that Daddy was going to be alright.
**To Be Continued**