Sunday, November 15, 2009

The 12 Year Sick

Rophone is often sick. He hasn't really felt well for about the last 12 years-- sometimes worse than others. Believe it or not, although he's a typical male, he's even been to the doctor. Many times. But, they've never been able to tell him what is wrong.

Yep. Rophone hasn't felt well for the majority of our almost 15 year marriage. Not many people really knew-- I mean, a lot of the symptoms he suffers from aren't the kind you want to shout from the rooftops or have dinnertime conversation about. So, not knowing he's sick a lot, perhaps people may have made assumptions about him because of the length of our lawn, or the fact that I was out shoveling the snow instead of him.  

Honestly, a lot of the past 12 years, especially the last few, have not been fun for Rophone. To put it simply-- they've sucked for him. And, by association, they've sucked a little for me too. 

A few days before we celebrated Ulnar Nerve Un-Entrapment Day, Rophone started feeling less than stellar. I asked him if he wanted me to re-schedule my surgery, but he insisted I go ahead, saying he would be fine. Well, the first week he was fine. He was able to push through feeling gross and do my job pretty well. He was even keeping up with the laundry! The next week... well.....

The next week, it truly became evident that all was not well in Rophone-land. He became less and less able to do things, so I stepped in and took up the slack. (It's amazing how many things I could actually do one-handed, but I was even more amazed over the things that hadn't even occurred to me that I wouldn't be able to do-- like opening a stubborn ziploc, or pull the trash bag out of the can... frustrating!). By Friday, Rophone ended up in the hospital, truly miserable. He stayed there for the weekend. 

People in the neighborhood knew I had surgery, but they also knew that Rophone was taking 2 weeks off to care for me and the kids. So, I'm sure they thought things were going swimmingly. We most certainly hadn't told them otherwise. 

But, it's amazing what showing up to church with your arm in a sling and 4 kids in tow will do to cause people to throw themselves into action. It most certainly didn't hurt, either, that both the lesson in our women's meeting and one of the talks in the main meeting were on service and looking for opportunities to serve. 

By the time the second message came around, and I'm sure word of our plight had gotten around, I could feel peoples' eyes boring into me. There I sat, struggling one-handed with an ornery two-year-old, husband absent, clearly the poster child for service opportunities. I had a target on my back. And a blinking neon sign over my head. And, quite likely, a panicked look in my eyes (it just so happens that my red-headed daughter's pre-teen hormones decided to come a ragin' that same weekend.... Woah!)

I really was doing fine. I told people. Really. I was managing. Rophone came home that night, and could at least reprimand the kids from the couch. We didn't really need help. I told people that a person can really do a lot one handed. You'd be amazed. It wasn't until I heard myself explaining to someone my plan to push the full laundry basket with my feet to the laundry room, where I would load and unload one-handed, and then kick the basket of clean laundry over to Rophone on the couch where he could fold it with his two hands, that I realized just how pitiful our situation sounded. 

Okay. We'll take some dinners, thanks.

It was so nice at the end of the day, with my arm aching, not to have to worry about making a meal. Even once my sling and bandages disappeared earlier in the week, it was still nice. One less thing to have to manage. Thanks neighbors.

Oh, and you're probably wondering about Rophone. Well, the doctors he encountered at the hospital can't believe he's never been diagnosed. We're still waiting on the definitive results from this week's  colonoscopy, but they are 99.9% sure he has Crohn's. He's got classic symptoms, I guess. Even a surgery he had 10 years ago was for a classic symptom of the disease. Who knows why no one ever put 2 and 22 together, but now we've got a diagnosis. 

It's funny how people react. As though this is some new and shocking development in our lives. As though it will disrupt our existence and make things hard. What people forget, is that we've already been dealing with it for a loooong time. It has already been disruptive and difficult.

We are excited, actually. Optimistic for the future. Crohn's isn't curable, but it is treatable. Now that he's been diagnosed, Rophone has the chance to be better off than he has been in years. 

We can't wait.


carmar76 said...

Eek! I'm glad he finally got a diagnosis. I have 2 friends & a co-worker who all have Crohn's, and it is definitely not fun. At least a diagnosis helps to feel not all alone, knowing other ppl go thru a similar situation & all that.

Hopefully that'll help anyway!

LisaFisa said...

WOW. Are we married to men from the same mold?

Mark's been sick our entire 12 year marriage, too. He finally visited with a GI doctor to see if it's just IBS or Chrone's, or something else. He's done the bloodwork and urine work, but is just too busy at work to do the oh so lovely barium enema.

It's so weird, b/c if it were me, I usually freak out over the littlest thing and go see a doctor. Mark throws up and has diarrhea constantly, that it's just normal for him. Um. . . not normal. That said, he has been to at least 3-4 doctors in the past year who were clueless. Arrrrggghhhhh! Seriously, folks? What are you trained for?

I'm SOOOOOOO glad that Mike's finally getting some answers! At least when you've got the answers, you know what to do. The not knowing is the worst. The muddling through is the worst. I'm so sorry, too, for your struggle this long. It is not fun. Ugh.

I was surprised when Mike said at first the ward hadn't scheduled meals. That's one of the best things about being Mormon - the free meals for babies and scheduled sick stuff. I'm SO glad they finally are walking the talk and helping you guys out. Whew.

And here's to hoping the pre-teen hormones are manageable.

You're a great mom, and a great wife and I hope many many better days ahead of you.

The Laundry Queen said...

Thanks, Carrie Marie! Really, my husband's doc says that if he stays up on his meds and goes for adjustments of the dosages when needed, that he shouldn't really suffer too much at all. We're hopeful.

Thanks for the words of encouragement, Lisa. I honestly think the hormones might be harder than the illness. Holy Cow! I needed someone to tell me I'm a good wife and mother-- really needed it, thanks.

janeannechovy said...

I need a like button for this post. Figuring things out and fixing them is one of my favorite things in the whole wide world. Hope everyone is fully up to snuff soon!

And just tell that redhead she should be glad she lives in your house and not mine. :)

Rolf and Bonnie said...

Sorry to hear about all your stress. Hope you are on the mend after surgery. And hope Mike feels better too. I can totally relate to Mike being ill. I've had GI troubles since I was 13 and had 3 surgical procedures to no avail. GI docs are all stumped! I have a new GI doc now and hope to get the right diagnosis this time (fingers crossed). I'm thinking it could be celiac in my case, but hoping not b/c I think it would be really hard for me to follow a gluten-free diet. Good luck in your recovery & Mike's treatment. I'm sure it is GREAT to finally know what has been going on for so many years!

P.S. The kids are growing up way too fast! It seems like just yesterday I was teaching them in nursery, and now the pre-teen hormones have already kicked in?! WOW!!!

P.S.S Oh, I love reading your blog. I think you have so many talents. You are a GREAT photographer and a GREAT writer!

The Laundry Queen said...

Gol, Bonnie! Thanks.

I hope you can get your issues figured out, too. Yeah, Celiac's would be tough, but knowing you have a chance to feel better if you do certain things is priceless, don't you think?

jwise said...

Wow, so sorry to hear it! But thank heaven (literally!) for Relief Society and for doctors. Hope something can be done.