In October of 2009, my husband was hospitalized for 10 days. His blood oxygen level was below 90, which is why he was admitted. The doctors ran scores and scores of tests, and eventually *tentatively* diagnosed him with pneumonia - a disease to which he has always been prone.
I was unable to be there for him as much as I wanted during his hospitalization because I came down with a case of...wait for it...WHOOPING COUGH. And the last thing you want to do to someone who most likely has pneumonia is expose them to whooping cough.
We both recovered - a little worse for wear - and so ended 2009.
As 2010 began, I became increasingly frustrated with the medical community, who could find no cause for my back pain. This was back pain so severe, I often couldn't stand for more than 15 minutes at a time. Back pain so severe, even my ergonomic desk chair sent shooting pains throughout my back. Back pain so severe, all I could do upon returning home at the end of my 10-hour work days was lie flat on my back on either the couch, the floor, or the bed.
My husband stopped asking me to help cook and clean and became seriously worried. He begged me to go to doctors, but being the stubborn person that I am, I refused. I was paranoid that doctors would think I was pill-shopping or that I was making up the pain for sympathy. Worst of all, I was afraid I was actually crazy. If doctors couldn't find a diagnosis, WHERE WAS THE PAIN COMING FROM?
My marriage began to suffer. Not because my husband doubted me! My husband believed that I was in pain and tried to do everything he could to make me comfortable; however, at this point he was having to do all the housework plus work 40-60 hours per week (depending on if they allowed overtime that week). But just because he believed and supported me doesn't mean that he wasn't also exhausted, frazzled, and at times resentful. Who could blame him? I certainly couldn't.*
And then we took the Great Disastrous Road Trip of Labor Day Weekend (GDRTOLDW) 2010. We rarely visit our families, largely due to financial constraints. But my parents and his mother live in relatively the same geographical area, so we decided to spend Saturday at my parents' house and Sunday at his family's. It was disastrous for a number of reasons (which may or may not be discussed at a later time), but for the purposes of My Long Journey with Fibromyalgia, the most important part is that the complete round trip was approximately 330 miles.
The week following the GDRTOLDW, I noticed a pain near my left collarbone. I wrote it off as one of those weird pains you have when you get older...maybe some heartburn, maybe I pulled a muscle there or something. By Monday, 9/13/10, the pain would not go away. It hurt to reach out for a pen. It hurt to type. It hurt to button and unbutton my pants and shirt. I powered through the work day, but when I got home I could barely move my arm without crying (see Part I's note about the rarity of me crying).
My husband was working from home that day. I told him what was going on and said it would probably be best if we went to the Emergency Room. I remember clearly that we had to wait until his shift was over to leave. He actually got stuck on a call and ended up telling the person on the phone that he had to take his wife to the Emergency Room and needed to end the call.
He helped me down the stairs and we sped towards the local hospital. Little did I know the drama that would unfold over the next few hours.
Stay tuned for Part III.**
*I maintain - and will continue to maintain - that my husband should be
nominated for sainthood and be given every award and medal on the
**I can't guarantee that I'm listing the treatments I received in the
exact order I received them (thanks fibro fog!). I know I was going to
PT while still working at my former workplace, but I can't remember if
it was 2009 or 2010. So please excuse any inconsistencies. The big
points are accurate, I promise. :)