Yet Another Scare

I got a phone call from my sister yesterday – she was in the emergency room with my brother.  He was complaining of numbness in his neck, severe chest/back pain and was coughing up small clots of blood.

Fortunately, it’s not his heart; my brother, despite being a smoker, is in pretty good shape.  He has pneumonia in one lung, a pulmonary bleb in the other (which apparently ruptured, hence the coughing up blood – he’s lucky his lung didn’t collapse), and pleurisy in both lungs.  They gave him prescriptions for pain medication and antibiotics and sent him home; my sister is taking care of him.

Hopefully nothing else will happen between now and next Tuesday, so we can enjoy our week together when she flies up here for the Thanksgiving holiday.

On a more pleasant note, Dixie is recovering very well and has returned to her former rambunctious self.  She’s also wagging her tail freely, so the vet says it’s healing properly.  Thank goodness something is going well.

On an even more interesting note, my husband booked the cruise for next February even though I hadn’t given him an answer as to whether I wanted to go.  I did make him buy insurance so we’d get the money back in case something happened and we couldn’t go.

2016…the year that seems like it will NEVER end.

An Interesting Twist

I don’t have much time, but here’s something amusing:  My husband is trying to talk me into a luxury cruise to the Caribbean next February.

I have to admit, it is tempting.  He’s been on his best behavior lately, which is always nice.  Wonderful, even.  (And yes, I know it won’t last.)

What’s even more amusing is that he keeps telling me (in a teasing manner), “You have to stay married to me to do this, you know!”

*sigh*  Life can never be simple, can it?

It Never Rains But It Pours

This year has been nothing short of horrible.  No sooner than we’d heard my sister was going to live and recover as much as someone with half her innards missing can, we faced yet another crisis.

Last Wednesday began like any other day.  I got up and immediately went to let Dixie outside.  I blearily drudged my way through my morning routine, but when I poured her food in her dish, she didn’t come back inside (she usually comes running).  I went to the back door and called for her, but she didn’t come.

I figured she’d wandered around to the front of the house and was about to go to the front door, when I heard my husband say, “What the hell is that??” while he opened the door.  Dixie came running into the house and collapsed, shivering, in the front hall.  I knelt down and the minute I touched her she gave a loud yelp and bolted to her kennel.

“What happened?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” he replied, “I heard her yelping and when I opened the door, well, you saw.”

It took me forever to calm poor Dixie down enough to let me examine her, and even then I had to practically climb into the kennel with her.  All I could see was a shallow, but bloody, cut on the back of her left leg, but I knew what had happened – she’d wandered into the street.  It was still dark out, and she’s a solid black dog; she was hit by a car.

My husband had to go to work (of course), but I immediately called the vet and told them what I thought happened.  They couldn’t see her right away and suggested a nearby animal hospital, so I bundled her up in a blanket and carried her to the car as quickly (and gently) as I could.

They were able to see her as soon as we got there and x-rayed her and did some sort of other scan to check for internal injuries.  She was very, very lucky – she only suffered the cut on her leg, some other scrapes and bruising, and a very small fracture of her tailbone.  They gave us some pain medication, a stool softener (the fractured tailbone is making any elimination painful) and we were on our way home just a little over an hour later.

I was out of my mind with worry about her for the first few days – she refused to leave her kennel at all the first day, except when she came out to pee and poop on the floor (which I willingly – gladly, even – cleaned up).  The next couple of days weren’t much better, although she started to come out to eat and drink, instead of waiting for me to bring her food and water dish to the kennel.  She still wouldn’t leave it otherwise, though, and cried incessantly unless one of us sat next to her, petting her and speaking softly.

I had visions of her becoming a timid, frightful dog and the thought made me cry – I love my sweet, wild girl who, when she wagged her tail, managed to wag her whole body and tired out much larger dogs with her play and running at our nearly daily visits to the dog park.  I knew she’d heal physically, but I was worried she’d never recover from the psychological trauma.

By Saturday, though, she started coming out of the kennel for brief periods, acting more like her old self, and finally went outside to do her doggy business.  By yesterday she was MUCH improved, going outside with my husband while he continued the job of cleaning out the garden beds, and even went to go visit the neighbors behind us, who adore her.  We ended the day with a nice, leisurely walk around the block.

She still isn’t jumping on the sofa – it hurts too much, getting up and down – so we’ve made her a bed in the sunny patch by the sliding glass doors that lead to the deck out back.  And while there’s no full-body wag (yet), she’s wagging her tail again, if somewhat gingerly, and feeling well enough to beg for bacon and dog treats whenever I’m in the kitchen.

I’m confident that she is going to recover fully from this awful accident, which is such a relief.  Now our challenge is how we’re going to handle the next few weeks – per the vet, she’s not supposed to run until the fracture is fully healed, which will take six to eight weeks.  That means no running, and no visits to the dog park, and if there’s anything my girl Dixie likes to do, it’s run and go to the dog park.

I’ll keep you updated.

We May Be Okay Here

Well, I have good news when I did not expect to.

I found out that after nearly losing my sister on the operating table a week ago today, the doctors did NOT close the surgical incision – they put her on life support, sedated her heavily, restrained her and sent her to the ICU.  They forced fluids in her to keep her blood pressure up and waited.  Thursday morning, they felt she had stabilized enough that they could risk another attempt at removing the blockage.  They did so successfully, along with nearly half of her intestines and a portion of her colon, all of which had been damaged beyond repair due to lack of blood.

The nerve-wracking part of all this is it took her until this morning to regain consciousness.  We’ve all been on pins and needles, asking why it was taking so long – the only explanation the doctors could give is that everyone is different, and they had her so heavily sedated, then she went back under anesthesia for the second surgery, that it just took longer than anyone expected for the drugs to work their way out of her system.

Scary, scary shit.

When I asked if she was going to be able to function normally with so much of her gut gone, I was told the doctors said she will have to take medications and adhere to a special diet for the rest of her life, and she’ll still probably suffer from chronic diarrhea.  If, for some reason, the drugs and diet don’t work (or she doesn’t follow the diet which, knowing my headstrong sister, is more likely), she’ll be looking at a colostomy bag.

All better than being dead, if you ask me.

While my youngest sister is facing a challenging recovery, my other sister went home to find her husband in the hospital.  When he’d arrived at his dialysis appointment that morning, he was complaining of chest and back pain, and his blood pressure was on the low side, so they shipped him off to the hospital for tests.  Turns out it was pancreatitis which, while painful, is not life-threatening (at this point, anyway – it’s always hard to tell with end-stage alcoholics).

Since I didn’t have to go to Oklahoma or Texas and have been here to play hostess to the visiting clients this week attending our bi-annual business conference, my husband is in a good mood – something I’ll take any day of the week.  If history repeats itself, this will last until somewhere around mid-January, when he’ll do a complete 180 and make everyone miserable until late summer/early fall of next year.

I don’t plan to be here for that, if I can help it.  There is, of course, more family drama associated with my husband’s alcoholism that I simply cannot ignore and does nothing but make me more determined to get out by my self-imposed deadline of next March.

More on that later.

Another Tragedy

I’ve been thinking all year that I’d be heading back to Texas for another funeral, but I always thought it would be my end-stage alcoholic brother-in-law’s.  As it turns out, it will likely be for my youngest sister, who just turned 44 in August.

I got a phone call yesterday at lunchtime from my other sister, saying she’d just gotten off the phone with our brother.  My youngest sister’s significant other had taken her to the hospital; she’d left work early because she was weak and disoriented and suffering from severe abdominal pains.  When he got her there, they discovered that her blood pressure was dangerously low.  The ER staff could find no reason for this, nor could they stabilize her, so they sent her to another, larger, hospital via ambulance.

After a series of blood tests and a high-contrast CAT scan, they discovered a blockage in the part of the aorta that sends blood to her intestines.  She went into surgery immediately, but before they could do much more than assess that she had suffered damage to her intestines from the lack of blood, her vitals waned to such a point that they closed the incision before removing the blockage, and put her on life support.  It is extremely unlikely she will recover.

My brother and other sister are on their way from Dallas to Oklahoma and I’ll know more then.  I won’t join them until we know one way or another; there’s not really anything I can do, and we don’t know what she wanted done in case of her death. She might want to be interred in Dallas, next to our mother (who died 20 years ago this December of something very similar), or she may want to remain in Oklahoma, in the country.  I’ll go when I know where to go to.

My sister and I have never really been close – I am 10 years older and left home when she was just 8 – and have barely spoken in the last 12 years.  We are very different people, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love her and am not devastated by this turn of events.

After I received the initial call, but before my sister’s surgery (I didn’t discover the outcome of that until 9 p.m. last night), my husband decided to chime in and talk about how awful she’d acted when we went to Dallas in January for my sister-in-law’s funeral.  After a few minutes of this, I said quietly, “She’s still my sister.”  He apologized and shut up – until I got the next update, when he started up again until I said quietly, “She’s still my sister.”

This went on periodically until he went to bed – I slept very little last night – and began again this morning, until I quietly said, as we pulled into the parking lot of our office, “She’s still my sister.”

He has also informed me that unless she hangs on until Thursday of next week that he can’t come with me to wherever it is I’ll be going – he has work commitments he cannot possibly postpone or rearrange.  Of course.  Once again, work comes before his wife.

And he seems hurt and confused because I do not want him to “comfort” me.

I’ll post an update when I know more.

I’m Okay and Divorce Update, Part 2

I finally checked back in here and saw a concerned comment from a reader – thank you so much!  It does me good to know someone out there is concerned for my well-being.

I’m okay, just busy.  I’ve been more than a little wrapped up in helping my sister sister deal with her husband who is end-stage and dying (albeit slowly).  I’ve invited her to Ohio for Thanksgiving; she was so unbelievably grateful that I feel a little ashamed for not doing so sooner.

I’ve spent a great deal of time being stressed and depressed, but at the advice of my sister-in-law (who dealt with a former spouse that was an addict), I’ve given myself some time and a deadline.  I’m giving myself the next six months to find a job and save some money; if, by March, I haven’t found a decent-paying job I’ll just bite the bullet and take two jobs so I can move out and continue looking for the “right” job.  That has done a LOT to alleviate the stress and depression.

I’m also gearing myself up to start attending Al-Anon meetings – surely that can only help, as well.  I’ve talked to enough people who tell me it’s a life-saver when given an opportunity, so I guess I’ll give it one.

As for the situation with my husband, we’re still distant (which is a huge relief, for me at least) and he’s ignoring my declaration that I intend to divorce.  I do know he’s talking to someone online (long story) and realized that I just don’t care.  He’s done a couple of things lately while drinking that would have been cause for a great deal of anger/frustration/depression in the past, but I’ve just been brushing it aside and moving on.  It’s what my therapist would have called “healing,” I think.

On that note, I had to drive him home from the office today; his stomach is upset and he has a pain in his side.  He keeps clutching the right side of his abdomen right about where his liver and pancreas are.  I’ve not said anything (to point that out would serve no purpose except to piss him off), although I did offer to take him to stat care, which he declined.

Thoughts of liver and pancreatic cancer, which is what my own alcoholic father died of, keep dancing through my head.  All that does is make me sad; what a waste of what could have been a good life it would be.

Divorce Update, Part 1

Yesterday, when I got to the office, there was an email from my husband titled “Physical Relationship.”

Yes, my husband sent a bombshell of a personal email to my business email that I would receive when I arrived at work.

The email was interesting if for no other reason that it began by comparing him to the dog (I am not EVEN going to go there).  It also gave a summary of his version of the Big Sex Blowup of 2016 (all my fault, of course – he was the very picture of reason) and about how he’s so afraid to approach me for sex because it’s so obvious I don’t want sex (true) and shouldn’t we just strive for a platonic relationship since that’s all he can really hope for?

Since I was at work and have enough consideration for his business and his employees, and since I knew he would browbeat me until I responded, my answer was curt and to the point:

I don’t even know how to reply to this.  Your memories of what happened when we had that blowup about sex – especially the aftermath – are so different from mine that I’m totally at a loss as to how to proceed.

What kind of cooperation can I reasonably expect in the event of a divorce?  I don’t believe you’d settle for a platonic relationship in the long run.

It took a few exchanges – he wanted to ignore the question – but he finally asked me if I was asking for a divorce.  I said, “Yes.”

It took till this morning to even get him to discuss it (if you call shouting and gaslighting a discussion), which was good since I knew for a fact he was sober.  At one point he did ask if there was anything he could do to “make it all better.”

“Make it all better?” I asked.  “No.  But if you want to know if there’s anything you can do that will at least table the subject of divorce for the time being, yes there is.  You know what it is, and you won’t do it.”

Which just took us back on the merry-go-round again.  At one point he said, “You haven’t even noticed how much less I’m drinking these days, do you?”

“Sure I have, of the alcohol that’s in the house.  You haven’t been drinking that much at all lately.  Are you telling me that you’re not drinking out of that bottle you’ve got hidden in the garage?”

He mumbled and fumbled around until he admitted that yes, he is drinking out of the bottle he has hidden in the garage.  He also admitted over the course of the morning that he has no intention of seeking any sort of professional help for his problem, nor will he attend any sort of meeting on a regular basis, even the SMART Recovery meeting, because it’s too inconvenient to “have every Wednesday evening scheduled like that.”

I told him that since he had no intention of quitting, he’s choosing to put alcohol before our marriage.  We argued over that for a minute, and by the time we’d reached the office I told him I’d had enough, and yes – I still want a divorce.

We’ll see how things go from here.  I could find myself out on the street if he decides to get ugly about it.  Since I have asked him several times what kind of reasonable cooperation I can expect and have received no answer, I don’t think being booted out of the house with nothing is an impossibility.