Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Five Years and counting

Last Friday marked the fifth anniversary of our wedding. As they say, time does fly. My mother, who was visiting, stayed home with Sylvie while Theron and I went out to celebrate with a swanky dinner. (Being a SAHM, I'm generally a jeans and tshirt gal so it was nice to have a reason to dress up a bit. And because I am a maudlin sentimentalist, I wore the same dress that I wore the night before our wedding at our rehersal dinner...yay it still fits!)

We shared a bottle of Asti Spumante while we enjoyed our seafood and chatted comfortably like the old married folk we are. At one point I heard the John Denver song "Rocky Mountain High" playing over the sound system, which seemed like a funny song to be playing at a fancy seafood joint looking out over Boston harbor. "Annie's Song" would have been much more appropriate all the way around, since, as those of you who attended the ceremony know, it is the first song we danced to.

We are very aware that have a great deal to be thankful for: A happy marriage (despite occasional squabbles), an adorable daughter (despite occasional tantrums), good health (mostly, more on that in a sec), loving family and friends that we can count on it times of crisis. This last blessing was especially brought home to us when what could have been a major life changing event occurred this past March: Theron suffered a minor stroke. For those of you just finding this out, please be assured that there is no need for alarm; Theron is COMPLETELY recovered without even having to undergo any sort of speech or physical therapy.

He was on his way to work one morning when he started to feel 'funny' and realized we was veering into the hedge lining the sidewalk. He made it to the corner where he decided to sit down and try to figure out what was wrong. his right side went entirely numb, no feeling whatsoever, and he collapsed onto the ground. Luckily, it was a high traffic area and lots of people were on their way to work so some folks came to his aid immediately and dialed 911. He said that by the time he was being lifted into the ambulance, he'd regained most if not all feeling on his right side but that he couldn't seem to communicate very well. He was rushed to the hospital where they proceeded to do a battery of tests on him. He was able to call in to his work and tell them he wouldn't be in and then called me to fill me on. Obviously I was horrified because even though they had yet to come out and say he'd had a stroke at that point, it sure sounded like he'd had one from his description. He sounded almost normal on the phone but I could tell something was off in his speech. I was somewhat relieved that Theron sounded mostly ok, but still incredibly freaked out. Do 32 year old men in good shape normally have strokes??? What exactly had happened? WHY? What did this all mean long term?

I wanted to go to him right away but he said to wait because they were still doing tests and hadn't put him in a room yet; he'd call me again when he was settled. I figured that when I did go it would be better to leave Sylvie with someone because for all I knew he could end up in an ICU where children aren't usually allowed. So I called up our close (literally and figuratively) friend Amanda. She in turn got a hold of her husband Sean and filled him in. He offered to leave work early to come take me to the hospital while Amanda stayed at our place with her baby Bryce and watched Sylvie. So once I knew Theron had a room we did exactly that.

Despite having had a stroke, being poked multiple times with needles (including 2 IVs), Theron seemed pretty good. The only obvious sign that something had happened was inability to clearly communicate all the time. His speech wasn't slurred, but he had trouble thinking of the right word, at one point substituting 'mayonnaise' for 'artery'. He was aware that he was saying the wrong word at times and was very frustrated about it. He was put in the Neurology ICU overnight in case of another stroke, but moved back to a regular room (still in the stroke unit) the next day. Though the doctors initially thought he'd require speech therapy, his speech improved rapidly and was almost completely back to normal the next day. With the continued help of Sean and Amanda, as well as our friends Joanna and Dave and my cousin Randy, (Thanks again all of you!!!) I was able to see Theron every day he was in the hospital while knowing that Sylvie was well looked after. I did bring her in to see Theron once for a short visit, but her toddler energy could only be restrained for so long before she wanted to go exploring and we had to say our goodbyes for the day.

Amazingly, Theron was released from the hospital in less than a week. He initially had to give himself injections twice a day as well as take the pills he's still on in order to get a certain level of the medication in his bloodstream. A visiting nurse would come every few days to check on him and take a blood sample to test the level of meds. In fairly short order, the home visits and self-injections ended but Theron still has to go get his blood drawn once a week for now to monitor the levels. The good people he works with showed great concern over his and even sent us a ginormous fruit basket. He was out of work for 2 weeks but has since returned with no problems.

While Theron was still in the hospital, we were told a variety of things about what had happened and why so we were a bit confused. We knew he had a stroke for sure but a lot of the details were still fuzzy to us since the doctors themselves were still assessing all of his test results. After a recent follow up visit, many things were cleared up. In a nutshell, what happened is that Theron developed a dissected carotid artery, probably from a blow to the neck. The doctors told us that it could have been received in a car accident (which he hasn't been in since he was a teenager), via playing contact sports (which he doesn't)or even simply rough housing with Sylvie. It definitely was NOT from all those times I karate-chopped him in the neck. (Yes, I'm kidding.) Basically we don't know how he got the injury in the first place and probably never will, but at least we know that it was more of a fluke occurrence and not anything to do with some undiagnosed congenital defect or disease.

Anyway, while the injury healed, it developed a clot which broke loose and went to Theron's brain, causing the stroke. The medicine he takes is an anticoagulant to prevent any further clots from forming while the injury finishes healing. The doctors will scan his carotid again in a few months to ascertain it's state of repair and hopefully Theron will be able to discontinue his medication by this fall if not sooner.

As I said, we have very many things to be grateful for. I am especially grateful for the fact that I didn't lose the love of my life and that he came through the other side of this potentially cataclysmic event 100% intact; that we were still able to do something as simple as go out for dinner on our 5th anniversary and to toast the times past and the times yet to come.

I love you very much Theron.


Anonymous said...

As the Father/Father-in-law to this couple I want to belatedly congratulate you on five years married. Damn. Tempus Fugit.

And to warn readers.

I visted the Boston area a year ago Mother's Day. I felt chest pains and was wisked away to the hospital. Yup, had a blockage which the medics plumbed and I guess I'm good for a couple of more years. The warning? Seems the Boston area isn't kind to the male members of my family.

Visit at your own risk.

Love you three! Dad

Jen Fischer said...

Congrats! Glad to hear that Theron is doing well!! Happy Anniversary. Five years goes so quick!

Take care! Jen Fischer