Wednesday night, my entire evening consisted of this:
I can't remember if I've mentioned it lately, but we've been kind of up and down lately with Daryl's health. A couple of doctor's appointments, more lab work, more lectures (from me AND the doctor) about taking his medication and eating properly...and then some more weird things going on.
For those of you who don't know the history, Daryl has diabetes. In addition, he is a BAD diabetic who does not take proper care of himself. This has been an ongoing battle for the past four years. In addition, he has wicked high cholesterol. Most specifically, high triglycerides. And when I say "wicked high", this is no slight exaggeration. Your triglycerides should be below 100. Daryl's tris are OVER 6,000. Over SIX-FREAKING-THOUSAND. (and this is not the first time.)
He has been told a couple of different times, "You can drop dead tomorrow."
And related to all of this, Daryl has had Pancreatitis twice now. First time back in 2009, when I was 9 months pregnant with Hunter. We had NO CLUE what was going on when I brought him to the ER that day. He was admitted that night, writhing in pain, blood sugar level high, white blood count low and put on pain meds and a liquid diet. SEVEN DAYS LATER, he was allowed to leave the hospital (and then less than 3 days later, we were having a baby and back in a different hospital. Heh heh.)
Cut to last October, when Daryl told me (after a couple days of familiar warning symptoms), "I need to go to the ER. I think I'm getting Pancreatitis again." BACK to the ER he went, driving himself becuz I was home with two babies. Hours later, after fluids and pain meds and meds for nausea, his friend Matt brought him back home. The ER doctor explained that becuz Daryl recognized the early symptoms and got there early, they were able to swiftly hydrate him and manage his pain (and have him get back on a liquid diet for 24 hours at least, to give his pancreas a chance to get back to "normal").
A couple of weeks ago (more specifically, the week before Labor Day), Daryl made ANOTHER trip to the ER at my insistence. It was early the Friday morning of Labor Day weekend and he was at work. We were due to leave late that afternoon for our camping trip. When I answered the phone he said, "Um, April, I can't feel the left side of my face."
I asked him what he meant, and he said the left side of his face felt paralyzed, that when he smiled into the mirror of his van, only half of his face smiled back.
"Get your ASS to the doctor, RIGHT NOW. You could be having a stroke." I ordered him. Thankfully, he wasn't having a stroke (after some tests to determine that) but he DID have something called Bell's Palsy. While I was SO relieved to realize he wasn't/didn't have a stroke (and that the Bell's Palsy seemed to be a mild version possibly related to the flu shot he had that week and his Diabetes), I remember thinking "What next?"
Tuesday night, Daryl kept talking about how his back hurt. He figured that he tweaked it while on a ladder at work that day. Wednesday morning, he started with a stomach ache but attributed it to taking his medication without eating anything (he normally at least eats a granola bar with it). His back pain seemed to worsen.
Like an idiot, I didn't even make the CONNECTION to Pancreatitis until Daryl said early that afternoon after coming home early from work and resting on the couch "Well I know it's not Pancreatitis--my stomach ache seems better." I made dinner for the family: grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.
Daryl ate his soup and only about 1/2 of his sandwich (NOT like him). I put Avery to bed, and let Hunter stay up a little later to watch Jumanji with me, on TV. Daryl ran out for a quick errand and when he came back and sat on the couch, he was rubbing his face and his cheeks were flushed and he said, "Um, I might have to go to the ER tonight. I think it is Pancreatitis." He had the tell-tale (for him) pain radiating from his back to his belly, like a knife being pushed in and twisted. He had the ebb and flow of stomach pain, with the worst of it being right after eating and/or drinking. Took his temperature...101 degrees.
NOT good. He was starting to toss and turn on the couch and moan. I called the doctor's office answering service and asked them to page the doctor. After repeated calls back and over an hour wait, we FINALLY get a call from the on-call doctor. After consulting with her, Daryl called his friend Matt who was sick and couldn't bring him. Another friend offered to come stay with the kids (who were both asleep by this point) so I could bring Daryl to the ER.
I started with a stress-belly ache of my own. Daryl's face was on fire and I gave him a cool, wet washcloth to try to cool his face.
So, at 9:30pm Wednesday night, we arrived at the local ER (it's a small clinic that is another branch of a nearby hospital. Convenience in location as it is 10 minutes away from us--as opposed to the hospital which is like 45 minutes away--and not as busy as a full-size hospital!).
After a urine test, lab work (which was a difficulty in itself becuz Daryl's blood is so fatty that it separates...a thick, gelatinous layer of yellow fat actually sits on top of the blood itself, making it VERY difficult to spin the blood. So the blood work had to be sent over to the main hospital to be spun there), repeated doses of Zofran for nausea and Morphine/Dilaudin for pain, a CT scan and numerous conversations with doctors and nurses where we said over and over it was Pancreatitis, the ER doctor said she was a bit worried about Daryl's liver. The blood work showed elevated abnormal levels in his liver--which is why she opted then for a CT scan.
Looooooong story made a tiny bit shorter, it was determined that there were fatty deposits in his liver (due to the high cholesterol, which happens often when your tris are that high) and he did have the beginning of another bout of pancreatitis. After some quick research, she said that one of the side effects of Doxycycline (the meds Daryl was put on a couple of weeks prior, due to the Bell's Palsy) is LIVER TOXICITY. So she was convinced that is what was causing his elevated abnormal levels.
So, after 6 hours and 15 minutes, at 3:45am we headed home.
What does all this mean?
It means that Big D needs to CUT THE SHIT and get with the program. If he keeps this up, his pancreas is going to eventually FAIL and he will DIE. I don't know how anyone can make this any clearer to him. There is only so much damage that one can do to an organ such as the pancreas, which can not be replaced.
I'm PRAYING this last episode at the ER was a wake-up call for him. Otherwise, I will someday be a widow and my children will grow up without a father. That is NOT an option, in my mind. If i Have to freakin' make every single one of his meals, if it means I have to get up even earlier to prepare the stuff, if it means I have to hand him every dose of medicine and if it means I have to police him, then I will do it.
If it means I have to clear the entire kitchen of any "junk" that he is not supposed to eat and change my family's entire way of eating, then that is what I will do.
I'm NOT willing to lose my stubborn Big D.
Updated Note: After re-reading what i had posted, I felt the need to add something. I may sound clinical in that last paragraph or so, or like I don't care. Contrary, I DO care. I have cried so many tears, sat through so many doctor visits and doctor's conversations about how he NEEDS to make changes. I've bawled my eyes out over and over at the thought of losing my husband and also having to explain to my 3 year old why Daddy "can't come home". This is very real and a possiblitiy if things don't change. I'm so tired. Emotionally, mentally, physically. I just need him to take better care of himself if not for me, then for his sweet babies who would miss him SO much if he wasn't here. :-(