This is either week 3 or week 4 of the viral meningitis attack on my husband, I really can't keep it all straight anymore. I think we are entering week 4. Chad is doing much better this week. His pain has diminished and he is able to sleep, eat and be up for most of the day. He's currently trying to finish his school semester projects and take his final exams. I'm so proud of Chad and the way he has fought through this illness. My husband is no baby. He gets work done. I think that has been one of the more challenging parts about this experience. I know Chad would rather be helping me around the house or doing his school work than lying in bed resting. Laziness is just not part of his nature. He is doing better, but this is an extremely slow process.
Many friends and family members have been asking for updates, sending sweet messages, bringing meals and offering to help. I confess, I have become very overwhelmed by this process of caring for Chad, tending to the children and finishing up my fall semester of school. I know I have been horrible about responding to emails, texts, calls etc. To those of you who have reached out to us: WE THANK YOU, WE APPRECIATE YOU, WE LOVE YOU. I thought our blog would be the best way for us to thank and update everyone inquiring about Chad. While we would love to rehash the story over and over again (insert sarcasm), I'm sure that would not be helpful in getting Chad the rest he so desperately needs. I wanted to put a little bit of this experience down on paper so that I don't forget the degree of difficulty we have been faced with while living here in Charleston. Also, I never want to forget the friends we have made and how grateful and truly, truly blessed we are. Thank you to everyone who has helped deliver a meal to us. We haven't had to worry about dinner for two weeks y'all! What wonderful people Chad has been blessed to work with in his OT program at MUSC. This experience has rocked my world in so many ways.
4 weeks ago, my husband woke up in the middle of the night with the worst headache of his life, vomiting and many other flu like symptoms. We were up the whole night considering an ER visit but decided to ride it out at least until the morning. The headache never left and no amount of OTC meds seemed to dull his pain. I knew in my gut (I've got a very intuitive gut) that something was just not right. The next evening, Chad got tingling throughout the left side of his body. It first traveled up through his fingers, up his arm, through his face and back down his side, down his entire leg and left through his toes. Concerned about a stroke, given the tingling, weakness and terrible headache, I took him to the ER where he was diagnosed with nothing more than a migraine headache and given a prescription for pain. (side note- I hope everyone knows the warning signs for a stroke. It is imperative that stroke victims receive immediate attention for the best possible care. If you don't know them, look it up!) Back to Chad…They sent us home, the meds didn't help, the pain and vomiting didn't stop and he spent the next 2 days in bed like a vegetable. By the 3rd day, his primary care doc sent Chad to Neurology to get to the source of the so-called migraine.
(a big big thank you here to Danielle and Rebecca for watching my children endlessly during hospital and doctor visits. I cry just thinking about the two of you and your selflessness during what was probably the busiest and most stressful week of your own lives.)
Once Chad was referred to Neurology, things started happening. We needed to rule out anything serious or potentially fatal, and quickly. We were sent immediately from the appointment for a STAT MRI/MRA brain scan (this was deemed unnecessary during the initial ER visit). I sat in that imaging waiting room with my sweet husband and thought of what I would do if I lost him. I tried to be positive, I tried thinking of pleasant things- but my mind was preparing for the worst. How would I go on without my husband? How could I get out of bed and take care of our two little boys all by myself? How could I provide for our family on the measly salary I would make without an advanced degree? I thought all of these things and kept them inside my head, so as not to worry Chad even more. Until that evening, I had no idea how worried and stressed I had become.
On the drive home from the MRI, the doctor called. She had good news! The brain scan was clear, there were no abnormalities, no tumors, no bleeding, no stroke. So then…what in the world was going on with my husband?! We still didn't know. He was to be at the hospital the very next morning for more testing. That night while laying in bed, I couldn't sleep. I was so relieved that this thing wasn't cancer. I was so relieved, but so worried about the days ahead and how we would all deal.
To Be Continued…