Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On Health Issues

It’s 2:30 AM and I’m wide awake.  Even though my 2-year-old has slept all night in her bed for at least 4 nights now, thanks to the pregnancy, I am WIDE AWAKE.  Well, that, and work.  Pregnancy woke me up and thinking about work is keeping me from falling back to sleep.  I can’t decide whether I’m still tired or not, so until I determine whether I should go back to bed after having laid there for an hour already or whether I should just head to work and finish out my week around 1 PM, I’m going to blog.

About a year ago… maybe October 2010?… Adam was suffering abdominal pain and I took him to the ER in Pella.  After having had my gall bladder removed just one year prior, my first thought was that he was having a gall bladder attack.  Apparently, though, when doctors in an ER are presented with a  possible reason for pain by a wife who suffered similar pain not-so-long ago, their first instinct is to assume it is something else.

And so, after about four hours, we headed home with heartburn medication.

This is where I need to say that as long as I have known Adam, he’s not had much in the way of heartburn or indigestion.  He eats a lot of different food and drinks a lot of beer and yet, he’s never seemed to suffer from these symptoms.  However, we were on the cusp of some very big decisions in our lives and he was presented with the idea that stress can cause anxiety and indigestion and heartburn and anxiety and all sorts of other things and most likely it was a new way for his body to deal with stress.

Here I will also say that I never bought that line.  I’ve never met someone in my life who has been able to deal with stress as well as he does.  My hub is a mix of obstinate and laid back, and he has always been good at working through stressful situations, at least, to the point where he knows he needs to take a step back and work through them instead of plowing headlong into them like I do.  But I digress.

This happened again about a month later, and it happened while we were surrounded by a lot of people, and automatically we assumed that the indigestion/heartburn was anxiety related, especially after we hopped into the car to head to the ER again only for Adam to calm down about 15 minutes later and be complete fine an hour later.

Then Adam moved off to Chicago, and while he wasn’t suffering much in the way of heartburn/indigestion/anxiety attacks while he was gone, he managed to exhibit a long-suffering case of hives along with other illnesses… stress, stress, stress.

This summer, when Adam joined us in Colorado, he was in a new state, he was without a job, and he didn’t know anybody.  Sounds pretty stressful to me.  However, he wanted to lose a few pounds so started eating pretty well and exercising regularly.  Curiously the symptoms – all of them, even down to the hives, went away for a few months. 

But, then we bought a house and he exercised less and worked more and did house things and okay, let’s be honest, with my work schedule, I am less than the most fantastic cook on the planet right now and some nights struggle to feed my family, period, let alone plan healthy meals.  The heartburn/indigestion/anxiety didn’t come back, but in the last month, the hives did… and oh, yeah, Adam had been eating over-the-counter heartburn medication like it was candy.

Enter about two weeks ago… our family – mainly me and the girls – were finally coming out of a six week stretch of constant sickness… ear infection (me), horrible colds (girls), flu-like symptoms (girls), fevers, etc., etc., etc.  But Adam stayed strong… and then, one day he was knocked completely down… and then, with his immune system shot and hardly eating or doing a think, he had a major terrible “attack” and at 4:30 in the morning on a Saturday, instead of waking me up, he drove himself to the hospital.  After about five hours in the ER, he came home and had been severely dehydrated, low on potassium, etc., etc., etc.  He spent most of the week suffering from a fever and a bad cold, and by the end of the week he felt well enough to go back to work, and then on Thursday afternoon, an “attack” came again.

I have to tell you that I was really worried about him.  Every. Single. Time. he had one of these stinking “attacks”, his symptoms he described didn’t sound like indigestion or heartburn.  Dudes, I am pregnant for the third time – I KNOW indigestion and heartburn.  And anxiety attacks?  WHEN did Adam Draeger EVER start experiencing anxiety attacks?  I mean, REALLY?  So now I am starting to think heart problems or something else because if it’s not gall bladder then what the heck else is it?  (Never mind that the gall bladder is on the exact opposite side of the body as the heart… ha!)

So when this Thursday attack came on, he called me from the ER parking lot and asked me to find him an urgent care or something.  After some discussion, and him starting to feel better, we settled on me finding him a doctor and that afternoon he met Dr. Brian.

Dr. Brian is a home brewer and all around good guy from the way it sounds, and Dr. Brian immediately told Adam this his reaction to Adam’s symptoms was gall bladder.  HA!  As in, DOUBLE HA!  My first reaction, admittedly, was HA, as in, I KNEW IT!  Even though the tests hadn’t come back yet, I felt justified in my earlier “diagnosis” of his problem.  Am I doctor?  Absolutely not.  But sometimes you know certain pains and you know certain people.  So when the tests came back last Friday saying it WAS gall bladder, well, we rejoiced.  We FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY knew what was wrong!  And it wasn’t in Adam’s head and it wasn’t heartburn and oh, my goodness he could finally stop eating heartburn pills like they were candy and whew…

Gall bladders, though, unless something bad has happened with them, aren’t an emergency, so while he needs surgery, he will have a wait a week or two here before it happens.  I’m glad for him that he knows what is wrong now and I’m glad for him that that pain will be gone.  I remember it all too well… first with my pregnancy with Julia and then again with Raven… I tell you what, that pain was worse than labor… and now my only hope is that that darn gall bladder comes out before we head home for Christmas in a few weeks so that we can all enjoy the holidays and family without wondering if another “attack” is going to come along.

So, suffice to say that now I am wide awake… methinks I will take a shower and head to work.


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