Aka my husband, falsetto singer, slayer of many cook and bakes, self-proclaimed creator of the Mexican lasagne, my better half, the man who completes me, and as of a couple days ago the most patient man I know.
We met a couple of summers before, serving as counsellors for a church youth conference called FSY. I tell everybody who asks us where we met, that he can’t remember the first time he met me. When I definitely did. One of the many perks of human diversity, some remember, some don’t.
A HEAVILY ABRIDGED VERSION OF OUR RELATIONSHIP
We then married on a sunny day, spent a week in Spain, and then celebrated a new sister-in-law’s wedding to her sweetheart. Slowly but surely, Michael and I embarked on our forever as husband and wife. First we needed to make our place a home.
It’s kind of funny, now that I can laugh about it. We spent our fourth week of marriage, sweltering on uncomfortable backed chairs, bent over exhaustion as we endured nine hours in A&E.
WE’VE ONLY JUST BEGUN
Okay so we had to physically tally how long we were there and I take it back. I can’t laugh about it yet. Just thinking about it makes me want to curl into my insides festering on the worst parts of those nine hours.
The unknown, the uncertainty, the wait, the fears that crept on us on the last leg of our hospital journey.
A day before, I suffered dizziness at every turn to every tilt of my head. The threat of vomming in our bedroom held zero appeal and I refused to let nausea win.
Michael tried to console me but then I started having difficulty speaking, seeing–I’ve never experienced anything like that before.
It was horrendous. I’d trade that for diarrhoea if it meant I was free to move without the threat of falling or spewing my insides on the carpet.
When I became confused and unresponsive, Michael expressed more concern. I asked if he could give me a priesthood blessing and I am grateful he did. I was able to get some rest for the night. The worst was over.
Or so we thought…
THE A&E DATE
After my CT scan, a nurse wheeled in a trolley from which she build her blood sucking paraphernalia. It was fascinating, painful as it was, to see how much intricate the human body and how people live relatively comfortable lives from advances in medicine.
Anyways, we made conversation about how Grey’s Anatomy was nothing like real life and how the prime sight of cannulisation is a real beast of pain. She revealed I would be staying in due to concerns of possible labyrinthitis and viral encephalitis.
My ears pinged on the word. Encephalitis.
I am no stranger to medicine. You could say I’m a fair-weathered friend of sorts, with mad Googling skills and a medical family background.
Encephalitis. Inflammation of, swelling of, infection of the brain.
Recently travelled. Fever, headache, confusion, speech, hearing and vision problems. I ticked the boxes…
I ticked the boxes.
I ticked THE BOXES.
When I started writing this, I could have focused on how some nurses treated their patients. How important it is to never judge someone. How arduous and heartbreaking it is to wait for doctors to give you their medical opinion.
How drugs and alcohol abuse ruin lives. How hospitals are understaffed and overworked and that the system is far from perfect (but at least you do not have to pay an arm, a tooth and a spleen for your blood tests, for your admission, for your CT scan, for professional service).
I wanted to focus on how much I valued Michael being there and how time and adversity help you learn and grow if you let it.
When Michael gave me a priesthood blessing before, I felt comfort and peace. I held onto that despite the doubt that crept in as the time went on in that hospital department.
I’ve never once believed that because I chose to live my life as a Mormon (Latter-day Saint), I had an all expense free ticket from suffering.
I had been here before.
Here in the waiting room years ago holding my mother’s hand. Here, sitting by my mother’s hospital bed. Here holding on to my mother’s things as I waited for her CT scan to finish. Here where my father gave my mother priesthood blessings.
I had enough faith for my mother to be healed, just as much as I had enough faith if God’s will meant she was not.
Whatever happened beyond those hospital doors, I knew it was not going to change me for the worse. Despite the fears that lingered–the ‘what ifs’ topped over with my overactive imagination…
I am grateful I was not alone. Grateful I had someone there to make me laugh with his slam poetry (titled My Poor Baby), that he was there with me every step of the way.
Sometime after midnight, they cleared me of encephalitis, deciding a lumbar puncture was overkill. Thankfully all they wanted from me was my blood pressure readings as I laid down and stood up, then we could go home.
I had been here before. Stuck in a difficult place, not knowing if I could get out. Like many before me, I knew difficult experiences were for but a small moment and would eventually pass. I know God works through other people, with their willing hearts and hands to bless and comfort the lives of others.
Note to self: If and when we need to make a trip to A&E, we’ll come prepared with phone chargers, snacks and more water.
Maybe download Netflix shows on our devices? This was far from an amble.