Eight months ago, my husband lost consciousness, fell, and fractured the base of his skull in back. He appeared to be all right when the paramedics came. He even drove home by himself. But his personality had changed in a way I’m not sure I can describe.
He insisted nothing hurt, but his face radiated pain and he wanted to sleep. After four hours of arguing with him about going to the emergency room, I panicked at the bruises that appeared between his eyes and his nose.
Some old and dear friends drove across town and helped me coerce my husband into going to Emory Johns Creek. With his examination incomplete, he pulled out his IV, tore off the EKG leads, and tried to walk out of the hospital. I refused to take him anywhere, and when the nurse opened her hand long enough to show me a phial, I nodded. A burly nurse held my husband down, and a second drugged him.
Later, when they tried to move him from ER to intensive care, he regained consciousness enough to fight his way upright. I walked into his room as two nurses were trying to stop him. It took nine of us to hold him down long enough to sedate him again. Yes, I helped restrain my husband even when he pleaded with me to let him leave.
Under sedation, he failed to maintain his airways, so they put him on a ventilator. By then, they were more certain of his injuries, but Johns Creek didn’t have round-the-clock neurological support. With my permission, they arranged to transfer him to Clifton Road as soon as a bed opened up.
I took the photo above in the Emory-Clifton Road Neuro Intensive Care Unit. The clown hat is a Styrofoam cup covering the intracranial pressure sensor they put through his skull. The bandage around his head protects the EEG sensors that monitored him for seizures. The patch on his left shoulder covers a subclavian IV line. The yellow line is a feeding tube. Another line is a blood pressure sensor they inserted into an artery(?).
I wore my husband’s wedding ring on my necklace. They had removed it from his finger before the swelling got too bad.
A number of the people who visited him in the hospital now say they didn’t think he’d make it. I never doubted. Not because my faith is strong. Yes, I prayed to a merciful father for my husband’s recovery. But a part of me rejected the reality of my husband’s situation. When people visited, I’d tell them about all the technological marvels—isn’t it cool they can drill a hole in someone’s head and insert a pressure sensor?
He spent two weeks in NICU. And yes, death hung over him for much of that time. He spent a week in ICC and another in inpatient rehab. After a month of outpatient therapy, he returned to work.
And I crashed.
Only now are the photos becoming real to me. Forever bless my Redeemer that he let me deal with it all in bits and pieces after the fact.
And let His name be praised for all those who prayed, for all those who offered a word of encouragement, who brought food, who cleaned the house. You know who you are.