How Do I Feel? I Don’t Know

On July 16, G and I went out for a Mexican dinner at a local place that is close to the house and (normally) has good food.  We went early because the place is usually pretty crowded (side note–when 0bama was campaigning in Pueblo, he ate there with Michelle and the kids).  That night, however, the food was awful.  My tacos were dry as dust, the chips were burnt and the salsa tasted more like bad marinara sauce than anything Mexican.  We didn’t stay long.

Later that night, G had major revenge of the food, being up most of the night heaving long after the food was actually gone.  See,when she got injured in the Army, she didn’t just get a fractured spine.  She had a major crush injury from her chin to her pelvis.  This resulted in lots of involuntary “reorganization” of her innards.  Since then she’s had numerous abdominal surgeries (all before we met).  She has a hiatal hernia and GERD–bad.  If something gets it going, it’s nearly impossible for her to stop throwing up and it gets set off very easily…laughing too hard, a cough, bending over too soon after eating, you name it.

Since that night, she has been unable to keep much food on her stomach at all.  I managed to coax her back with clear broth and crackers or plain ramen noodles cooked in broth.  We haven’t been out to eat until Tuesday when she managed a salad bar and said it actually tasted good.  I’ve been working on the Ayurvedic stuff for her type as she is Pitta (fire) and things that aggravate that should be kept to a minimum, cooking veggies with different spices, trying teas, etc.  All her stress goes right to her gut.  If she even THINKS about oh, say trouble with one of the kids, her acid will start flowing, so a lot of times it doesn’t matter what she eats it’s more about what she THINKS.

Of course, the VA has been less than responsive.  One thing she realized was that the acid “reducer” she’s been prescribed for years (0meprazole) actually made the acid worse.  So, DUH! she quit taking it 2 weeks ago. That actually helped.  She called the VA to tell them and to try to get an appointment either down here or in Denver.  All she got was a nasty note from her FNP here, “Take the 0meprazole 2 in the morning 2 at night and if you still have acid call back.”  They simply don’t listen or can’t hear.  She says, “The medicine makes me worse.” They hear, “You’re not taking the medicine ‘right’.” It’s completely maddening.

She went to have some blood drawn on Monday and to cancel an appointment she had with her PCP the next day because she said she was just too mad to talk to them.  It’s so bizarre.  She tells them over and over–“ACID flows UP my esophagus and into my mouth.  That’s why I vomit.” What do they give her? Compazine for nausea.  She’s not nauseated.  She has ACID flowing.  If you swallowed hydrocholoric acid (stomach acid), would they treat you for nausea?  No, they would treat you for acid ingestion.  Good GOD, what does it take to get them to understand?

Anyway.  For the last few days things have been better, less throwing up, less acid, etc.  Tuesday we went for a bike ride, had lunch out and went to a movie (no popcorn, etc.).  She had a good night’s sleep in bed, all night.  We got up yesterday, picked the veggies, actually went out to breakfast where she opted for a big bowl of fruit (bananas, berries, apples) and held that all down with no trouble.  We ran some errands.  We got back and unloaded the car, then she decided she “needed” to work in the yard (this was maybe 2:30.  She would have been watching General Hospital, but the DirecTV had some technical glitch, so no reception for a while.

Please note that the heat of the day in Pueblo this time of year is between 3 and 7 p.m. All the heat coming down and also reflecting back from buildings, pavement, etc.  This week, we’ve moved towards the 100s.  So, this is the time that G decided to go out and work in the yard.  And not just a little watering, oh, NO. She has to dig up a huge vine in the back, right in direct sunlight, then replant a grape vine, then put up some shade cloth to give a little privacy to the back garden, then dig and weed and pull and bend and lift, and bend some more.  Bending is the worst.  It always brings on the acid.  And this is after not eating anything but a bowl of fruit at 10 a.m.

So, I’m in the kitchen, trying to make a veggie dinner that will sit on her stomach from everything that we picked in the morning and suddenly she comes rushing in and sits down in the chair opposite the couch where I’m sorting the mail. I tell her she got a quilting magazine, then look up.  She is gasping, saying, “I was going to pass out, I was going to pass out!”.  Then she gets on the floor and asks for the ice pack, which she puts on her head.  I ask her if she was drinking, she said yes she had 2 bottles of water.  Then she went to lie down in bed.  Then she jumped up and took a cool shower, then she lay down in bed again.  Then after about 15 mins, she jumps up and runs into her office and starts heaving in to the waste can.

By this time I am FED UP.  Fuck the VA, we are going to the hospital that is 7 blocks from our house, I don’t care if it’s not “approved”.  I grab the card with the “nurse triage” line that I”m supposed to call and get her into the car, still retching and clutching the trash can.  The upshot was that they gave her fluids and some other kind of PPI and anti-nausea medication and got her a CT scan and sent her home.  They couldn’t get any decent vitals on her at first for some reason so they don’t know if she had heat stroke or exhaustion or what.  We were back home in about 3 hours.

But I was PISSED.  First I was pissed at the all the VA doctors and “providers” that can’t get their heads out of their asses and the wax out of their ears long enough to LISTEN to what a patient is telling them.  She has been telling them for MONTHS that the ACID in her stomach is making her sick and that the ANTI-ACID medication makes it WORSE.  So what do they do?? Give her anti-nausea medication.  Oh, it is enough to make you want to slap someone.

And then I was PISSED at HER.  I have been frantically trying to figure out what to feed her, what to cook, what to buy, how to fix it, yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda so that she can keep some kind of nourishment on her stomach and she goes out in the hottest time of the day and does this crap.

I am not asking her to be grateful to me for what I do.  I do this because I want to.  What I want is for HER to take care of HERSELF or at least see herself as someone worthy of self care.  The world will NOT tip off its axis if the squash does not get watered today.  The sky will NOT crumble if that damn grape vine doesn’t get planted. What did I do when we got home from the hospital??  I HAD to harvest her effin’ FARMVILLE crop to keep her lying down because she had “promised” she would do it for some kind of contest.  Oh. My. God.

The whole time I stood by the gurney trying to keep a blanket over her while she heaved and heaved and heaved until I thought her guts were going to come out all I could feel was anger.  I wanted to feel bad for her and I know she didn’t do it on PURPOSE, but she KNOWS better. She’s been an EMT, she knows first aid, she knows about this shit.  She just doesn’t think and she can’t seem to get it through her head that sitting down for a few hours is OKAY.  I don’t get it.  I just do NOT.

So, I got her some broth and got her bedded down in the living room and I went to bed.  I was exhausted.  And today, I’ve been down here working all day, even though we’ve spoken and she is feeling better and she ate more stuff last night and kept it down.  It’s like watching my 2nd husband drinking.  It’s like a train wreck.  I know the situation is different and she doesn’t have control over the damage done to her, but she CAN make an effort to take better care of herself.  We joke about it from time to time, but seriously, I do think one day I’ll come home or go outside or whatever and I’ll find her dead for some stupid reason because she just COULDN’T wait or ask for help or whatever.  Fall of a ladder, cut her had off with a saw, you name it.  Drown in the hot tub.

As you can tell, I am still really wrought up about this, so I guess I better go and do some meditation, or deep breathing or something or my blood pressure’s going to suffer and I’ve been working hard on that, too.

If any of you have any insight, I am very happy to hear it.



8 thoughts on “How Do I Feel? I Don’t Know

  1. Oh, dear. So sorry to hear you and G have been having such a rough time of it here. Care-taking is a difficult and draining job, and becomes more so if you’re at odds with the behavior of the person you’re trying to take care of. Hang in there!

    Meanwhile, thanks for stopping by to check out this month’s Smackdown entries. Everyone did such a fabulous job! Have you seen the announcement of the August Smackdown? You can find it here:

    Hope you’ll be able to join in the fun!

    Take care,

  2. I’m so sorry. This sounds very painful and frustrating on so many levels. It’s so hard to watch loved ones in pain for any reason, and when we have the sense that they might be able to do even some small thing to help themselves, it makes it even harder. I’m guessing she’d prefer to be independent and she finds it hard to understand her limits. That’s not really the same thing as drinking oneself to death, but I can see how it would feel that way when you’re looking at it from the outside.

    Be good to yourself. Sending love and light to you both. May she find some answers soon…

  3. Eggy–Thanks for your comment and the info on the new smack-down. I will definitely be participating. I don’t really feel like a “care-giver” per se, but there is lots of “caring” involved. Let’s just hope she can begin to see just a few limitations.

    Chicu, I gladly accept your hugs!

    MS – you are right, it’s not the same thing as drinking one’s self to death, but still, there’s some risk taking there that makes me flash back. It’s my stuff and I have to deal with it. After all, both of us are ultimately only responsible to ourselves, right?

    She seems better, though still weak. She ate yesterday. The hospital gave her Nexium which she had never tried so I think she’s going to get some OTC. and see if that helps.

    Thank you all so much for your comments and caring. Believe me, I feel it.


  4. Oh dear. What a frustrating situation.

    I understand completely about the hiatal hernia and the GERD, because I have both. I also quit taking a prescription acid reducer since it didn’t help at all. I have, over the years, eliminated many things from my diet and that has helped the most. I take an over the counter acid controller when I need to. You are right that stress and bending over cause problems. I don’t do yoga for that reason. And stress, yeah, good luck with that…

    I think you and G need to sit down and have a completely honest conversation about this. Tell her how this triggers your feelings about your alcoholic ex. Tell her that you are trying to help her but that it feels futile when she won’t help herself. Ask her what she would like you to do to help her. Listen to what she says. Come up with a plan together.

    Keep meditating. Keep breathing. You need to take care of yourself as well.

  5. Tina–Thanks!

    e–yes, we do have to sit down and talk, when both of us are better up to it. She has an appointment with a naturopathic doctor in Co. Springs that a friend recommended to us, so that’s next week. We are both hopeful about that. She has been taking it easy, able to eat some more and resting, while doing a little bit around the yard. The 8 yo grandson heard she had been in the hospital and just called to talk to her. He is sooo sweet and he is totally HER boy. That ought to make her feel better! 😉

    Thanks again for all the support.

  6. Have been following your blog. Love reading it. Would like to get the PW to continue reading your blog. Thank you, and good luck on your essay entry.


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