Sunday, November 18, 2007

What happened, in a nutshell

We are going so stir-crazy. We've been in the hospital for a week, have been in 4 different rooms/locations & have taken the tour of the 5th floor about a bazillion times. Chad's napping, I'm bored. And we're so ready to go home! We are planning to leave today, but we have to wait on pathology reports & the neuro evaluation. Waiting is so hard. I've been waiting all week, so what's a few more hours...

Gradually, I've been typing out the story of what has happened in the last week. I don't want to forget anything, and I know many of you are curious.
Here's my attempt at remembering every detail. After two kids, my memory is, um, not its best!

At 10:30 Monday night (November 12), right at an hour after we went to bed, Chad had his first seizure. I'll admit my mind was not operating at 100%, so it took me a minute to realize something was very wrong. I tried to elbow him, and talk to him, but there was no response. I reached for the light, but by the time I turned it on, another seizure came and he fell to the floor.
It is so surreal to write this, because I feel like it was not me, and it was not Chad, in that room. I was in shock. I panicked. I was screaming at him for some reason - I just didn't know what to do. I knew I needed to call 911, but in my naivete, I called my mom first. I don't know why - I just automatically dialed the number and wept "What do I do?" into the phone. I hung up on her I think, and called 911. They took my info and I waited. All the while, he had another seizure. My brother called & calmed me down. He was so calm, and really did help me through that terrible night. I couldn't tell him then & I get choked up now, but I am grateful that he has EMT training. He was extremely calm, and I was clearly not.

The ambulance came and I got everything ready. I called my neighbor Carla to sit with the girls while my mom came.

I've only had to call 911 one other time in my life, when Carys was a baby. I'd always hoped I would never have to call again. It was the longest & shortest ride of my life. I remember looking in the back, since I wasn't allowed to ride in the back with him, and wondering what was happening. At one time, one of the EMTs asked the driver to turn on the siren and hurry. I felt the lump in my throat growing, and I just couldn't think. My mind was blank. I was numb.
Before we left the house, I threw a few thing together for Chad - I naively thought we would be going home shortly after arriving in the ER. I had no idea that we would be staying for a week & I would learn the layout of the hospital.

We arrived at the ER and he was taken away from me while I completed paperwork. I sat in the waiting room for a shirt time, but it felt like eternity. I'm told he had a CAT scan during that time, and was given a few different medicines to stabilize him.
My neighbor, Mick, came & got me and told me I could see Chad, but he was pretty out of it. I expected that. I walked towards the curtained walls of the ER rooms, and saw that he was in a bed, and appeared to be sleeping peacefully. I held his hand and jokingly scolded him for scaring me to death, and he opened his eyes briefly & said, "Sorry." He drifted back to sleep.

I called his parents then, even though they had been called already by my mom, and just told them what was going on. They were on their way, and I was relieved that I wouldn't be by myself much longer.

I sat and waited, while they performed tests & took a chest x-ray. And then he had another seizure. And another. Even though I had witnessed them previously that night, it's not any easier to watch. It was violent. And it was scary.
I backed out of the room each time, to allow the nurses to help him. And I waited.

Finally, a wonderful doctor, Dr. Benson, pulled me to the side and told me that they had his CAT scan back and it abnormal. I remember thinking, What does that mean? Abnormal means what? She noticed my fear and told me it was a large tumor, 8cm x 5cm, and that she didn't know much else, but the neurologist on call had been notified. They would administer medicines for swelling and seizures, but other than that, we just had to wait until the neuro could get down to see us.

I called my mom and all I could say was that he had a large brain tumor. I was in complete shock.

We were moved to a more private area in the ER, since we would be there for a while. And then his parents arrived. Dr. Benson explained to them what was going on, even though I told his parents about his condition when I talked to them en route. His dad asked if we knew what was going on, and even though I didn't want to tell him it was a brain tumor, it just slipped out of my mouth. I hated telling him that on the phone.

We all hugged and waited. Chad was still pretty out of it, but there were no more seizures. At least until Saturday morning.

On Tuesday morning. Dr. Koeleveld, the neurologist & our surgeon, came down and told us what was happening. We were scheduled for an MRI on Tuesday afternoon, and they were trying to get us out of ER and into a more private room.
Dr. Koeleveld came back early Wednesday morning, and we found out that there were two tumors. They found a much smaller spot above his ear on the temporal lobe. We were shocked, once again, but desperately wanted to know our next steps. He told us he needed to get a biopsy, and he would also perform a crainiotomy to remove a part of the tumor. He was very realistic with us, and admitted that he may not be able to remove any of it.

We finally got into the Observation unit on Wednesday morning. No window, no door - but much more private than the ER holding area. The nurses there were just excellent, as they have been for our entire stay. Chad finally got to walk a bit, and take a shower.
Wednesday, Thursday & Friday nights were filled with visitors and calls from friends. The time passed quickly, as I look back, but at the time, it seemed to creep by.

Friday night, both of our families came by to see us. The girls were with Shannon, Todd & Landon. They had a great time and we were all at peace knowing they were well cared for. I didn't have to worry about them, and could focus all of my attention on Chad.

We finally got to sleep Friday night around midnight, and slept until 3am-ish. Chad had another seizure, and the nurse came to administer medication after it was over. We were sharing a bed at this time, and he had rolled into me, with his head on my shoulder. I couldn't do anything but call for help and I just laid there, hoping it would be over soon. He stared at me & all I could say was that I loved him and it would be okay. It was over soon, and he had some medicine to help him relax.
We slept peacefully until 6:15 or so, and then we spent time with family before he was wheeled into pre-op.

The surgery started a little later than planned, but no my much. We had planned on 4 hours, and were a bit concerned when Dr. Koeleveld came out after 2.5 hours. He pulled me aside & let me know that Chad was fine, but that he wasn't able to remove the tumor. I took a moment, then pulled in Chad's parents. We all expected these results, I think, but it doesn't make it any easier to hear it.

We were able to see Chad around 1:15pm. He was very alert; talking & wanting to move around. He was doing great.
He actually got kicked out of NICU well before the 24-hour minimum we had anticipated. We were so excited that he was doing so well.

He was moved to the NeuroScience floor, 5B, on Sunday. We have a door here. And a window. He got to get up & walk around a bit. I wheeled him outside briefly on Sunday evening, and it was so nice to get some fresh air.

The girls came up on Monday. And Carys decorated his bandages with jewels. The nurses thought that was cute. Carys was so proud that she helped make Daddy's boo-boo look pretty. It took me a while to realize why people were staring at us & smiling later that day. I guess a 29-year-old man in a bedazzled turban will provoke a few smiles. It made us smile, so that's all that matters.

On Tuesday, Chad had his headwrap removed. The incision looks a lot better than I thought it would. It's horse-shoe shaped, with 24 staples. He opted to shave his entire head, too. I have some pictures, but I'll post them another time.

We've been walking and taking a few trips downstairs when we get too stir-crazy.
We're waiting on Dr. Koeleveld to share his biopsy results with us sometime today.

So, we're still waiting. I've been doing a lot of that lately.

But it's a lot easier to wait when we know we're going home today.
To our own bed. And our kids. And to a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal tomorrow.
We have so much to be thankful for.

Many, many thanks to my wonderful friends, Jessica, Heather & Becky. They are cooking our meal for us tomorrow. And even though I told them repeatedly they didn't have to, they wouldn't take no for an answer. I love you girls. Thank you!!!

I hope you understand that we will probably wait a day or two to share the findings with everyone. We're not sure what we'll be finding out, so we want to take some time to process it all. But we will let you know, I promise, on Friday.

Times like these are not easy, but they make you remember what is important in life.
If you love someone, tell them. Kiss & hug them whenever you get the chance. Be thankful for every single day.
I just sounded a little cliche, which I detest. But it's just so true.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving. I know we will.


Nikki said...

You can tell that you, Chad and the girls are loved...and you have a great support network! I'm praying for Chad...and you...and the girls. Enjoy your turkey day!

Anonymous said...

We are so glad Chad will be home for Thanksgiving. We hope you all have a wonderful holiday and know you all are loved and thought about constantly.
Aunt Carmen & Uncle Robby

Kate said...


I am so glad to see an updated post from you. I am hoping and praying that you will get to come home today and enjoy your Thanksgiving together as a family. Know that you, Chad and the girls are 100% in my thoughts and prayers.

Ave said...

Thank you for sharing that Skye, you are so great at putting your thoughts down. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and know that there are a whole bunch of ladies out there praying for your family and thinking of you constantly.


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to let you know that your family is in my prayers. I'm glad you will be able to be home for Thanksgiving.


Amanda said...

I wanted to let you know that you and Chad and your girls are constantly in our thoughts and prayers. I pray that you can feel God walking beside you during your times of need. Have a Happy Turkey Day.

Mary said...

I am so glad you had the time to update Skye...I am sorry but I was crying through this. What you are going through brought back alot of memories when I had to rush Jon to the E.R. and I also thought that we would be coming right home...And the whole 911 thing---I did the same thing...I was yelling at him before I started yelling at myself to dial 911!!!!!!!!! It was INSANE! But you NEVER imagine that YOUNG MEN would have dangerous medical conditions pop up out of NOWHERE!!!! :( I am so sorry!!!

Christine said...

Skye thanks for that. I am sure it was hard to get it all down. I am praying that you and Chad are indeed home in your own bed with your sweet girls tonight. You have awesome friends that are taking care of you guys!! Know that our thoughts and prayers are with you all! Love, Christine