Saturday, July 27, 2013

The day everything started to change, part 3

You may want to read part 1 and part 2 first.

Saturday, January 26, 2013, continued

Gery was admitted to UPMC Hamot in Erie and moved to a regular room.  At this point, he seemed pretty normal, except that he kept asking me the same questions over and over again.  He wanted to know which hospital we were in, and why we were in Erie.  Where Sarah was and who she was with.  He wanted to know what happened, and when I told him, he wanted to know if the car was fine. He wanted to know if I'd called his parents, and if I'd canceled the hotel room and dinner reservations.  Then he'd watch tv for a little bit, and start the cycle of questions over again. 

A neurosurgeon came in and pretty excitedly explained that Gery had "a mass" on his brain.  He specifically said "on," and not "in," and I didn't realize then that I was being snowed in order to get us out of Erie and back to Pittsburgh.  He showed us digital MRI images and said that with contrast, the mass "lit up like a Christmas tree," and that preliminarily, he thought it was either a meningioma (most likely benign) or a hemangipericytoma (most likely malignant).  He gave me a name and number for a neurosurgeon at UPMC Presby to call on Monday.  He talked about Gery's tumor being "interesting" and maybe that there could be research about it since it was pretty rare, especially in a 34 year old man. 

A neurologist came in and talked about Gery's seizure history (febrile seizures as a toddler and nothing until now) and about the medication he would be taking.  They put me in charge, basically.  I felt pretty confident that I had everything under control.  When they said I'd be driving him home on Sunday, I thought that things could not be that bad.  If it were terrible, they'd put him in an ambulance, right?  Not send him in the car with me with a referral to make a phone call.

Through all of this, Gery was making inappropriate jokes and comments.  He told a nurse in the ER that she had "nice tits, but her roots needed done," which was true but out of character for him.  He told me that I looked like hell and I should go wash my face and fix my makeup (thanks, honey!).  In retrospect, he'd been heading this way for a few years and it wasn't until this day that it became obvious that he wasn't just being a jackass.  My socially awkward, nerdy, pinball machine and train set loving, electrical engineer of a husband had become the kind of guy that makes everyone cringe because he's so far over the line. 

I took a picture of the MRI image and sent it to Gery's mom.  I wanted her to see it so that she could tell me everything was going to be okay.  She did not tell me that.  She said she loved us and keep her updated. 

Several friends stopped by the hospital to take care of me, and I will be FOREVER grateful.  I forgot to eat, to drink, to do anything but try to get the information from the doctors and send it to Gery's mom to be my backup memory, and keep Gery from being agitated.  My brothers still had Sarah, and people brought me dinner, brought me coffee, brought me snacks and magazines, and made sure that I paid a little attention to keeping myself under control.  You guys are the best. 

About 4am, it all hit me.  I was pretty sure he was asleep, and I was in the chair next to his bed, and I just absolutely lost it.  We were in Erie, two and a half hours from home, on a last-ditch effort family vacation to save our marriage and our family, and I just knew he was going to die young.  That I had chosen the very best dad for my very special little girl, and she wasn't going to have him dance with her at her wedding.  That we were never going to get the chance to fix what was wrong with us because even if he lived, I would be his caretaker.  I was absolutely terrified and shaking and sobbing, and he said, "Hey, come here. Don't cry like that."  I reached over and held his hand, and he asked me to get in bed with him.  I didn't want to because of all of the lines and monitors, but somehow we made it work, and I cried myself to sleep in bed with him. 

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