On December 19th, my husband had a hemorrhagic stroke, caused by an AVM
I found him in our bathroom on the floor. Yes, I was terrified. When we got to the hospital, the doctor told me to expect the worst. That he would not make it through the night. I said, "you don't know my baby." We had only been married a short time. So, I reasoned, that he would make it, because God would not have put him in my life, only to take him away. Also, I knew my baby was a stubborn, strong man, and that even though he was in a coma, he would fight, and make it through this.
Though I hated it, we had to be separated for a few weeks, because he had been flown to Seattle, WA, and I had no place to stay, no money, nothing. A few weeks later, his social worker contacted me, and told me about a place for families of veterans. Fisher House. This place allowed me to stay, at no cost, so that I could be near my husband, and be there for him while he was in the VA Hospital.
But, nothing prepared me for what was in store. All of a sudden, I was the financial manager, the medical decision maker, the legal advisor, the nurse, and much, much more! I was definitely overwhelmed. And being new to all of this, I had no idea where to start. So, I started keeping notebooks, files, etc. Researched everything available to me. Google became my best buddy. Knowledge is power indeed. I was a research fiend!
Still, all the research in the world didn't help me when it came to the emotional and mental aspects of what my baby and I were going through. Depression is common among stroke survivors, and the possibility of that occurring was even more of a concern, because he is bipolar. Also, he was highly emotional, which I learned was also common among stroke survivors. "How do I deal with this?" I asked myself. I was emotional myself, but didn't want him to see that. I had to be the strong one now. Had to be the caregiver. It hit me, that this was our for better for worse, in sickness and in health.
It's funny, when you make that vow, you never think that will ever happen to YOU.
Now, he is in a nursing home in Sandpoint, ID...Where he makes great progress every day. Julius, that's his name, continues to amaze me. He works hard, and has a lot of strength and determination. My baby is getting some use of his left side back.
My problem is, Sandpoint is not Montana. Which is where our home is. We have no car, and Sandpoint is two hours away from Libby. So, I have been staying in hotels and camping on friend's couches. Living out of a suitcase basically. Financially, we suck. It's hard to rent an apartment, when the doctors give you no time frame as to how long he will have to be in the nursing home. We miss our families, of course, and our home.
I am learning, that one has to be their own advocate when it comes to getting anything done. And that we, as caregivers, have to stand up for ourselves, and our loved ones, or people will walk all over you. Patience, is something both Jules and I are having to learn as well. Which has been hard, because patience is not one of our strong suits.
Still, I love my husband very much. This part of a journey in our marriage that we both must go through now. But, it has strengthened our love and our bond. You don't realize how much you love someone, until you almost lose them.
And, I have some growing up to do.