IMG_1225When a loved one experiences an unexpected health crisis, it’s traumatic for both the care receiver and the care giver.

Wednesday morning Alex got a spinal injection to calm the nerve pain following his back surgery. He took a nap when we got home, and I thought everything was going well. After lunch he went to the toilet. Fortunately, I was close by when he called for help.

I opened the door and saw that he was very pale and sweating profusely. I got a wet washcloth and put it on the back of his neck. I got another one, and when I put it on his forehead, he collapsed. I lifted his chin, and although his eyes were open, he appeared to be gone. I said, “Alex! Look at me. Smile at me.” His eyes closed and he slumped over.

Fortunately, we have a phone next to the stool, so I held him with one arm and called 911. I gave my name and address and told the dispatcher what was happening. She asked, “Is he having difficulty breathing?”

I said, “I don’t think he is breathing.” She asked another question or two, and after what seemed like a very long time, Alex sucked in a long, deep breath. He snored loudly three times, and opened his eyes. We cancelled the ambulance, but ended up spending eight hours in the ER to make sure he was okay.

Turns out it was a combination of too much pain and medication for too long. His chemistry was out of whack. The prescription was for him to go home and eat bananas and drink Gatorade to raise his levels of potassium and sodium.

We felt relieved until the next morning when the pain in his leg returned. He got another shot yesterday morning, and today it appears that he has finally turned the corner.

Thinking that my husband was either dead or in the process of dying was the scariest moment of my life. Experiencing unrelenting, horrific pain for weeks on end has been traumatic for Alex.

We know it’s going to take both of us a little time to relax and recover. We neither one want to dwell on the trauma, so we are trying to rest and focus on the upside of this situation. We both feel that this experience has made us even more aware of our love and appreciation for each other. We didn’t really need to be reminded of how lucky we are to have one another, but that’s the lesson we are choosing to take away from it.