I am an open book, I always have been. I’ll tell you the good, the bad & the ugly. I have wrestled with making this post for a week because I wasn’t exactly sure how to write it or if I even should. It was actually Atom who gave me the push last night to go ahead & write it anyway.
Two weeks ago our renovations came to a screeching halt.
Three weeks ago, Atom started having AWFUL exertional pressure headaches. For those of you who don’t know Atom, he is healthy as a horse. Very physically fit and never ever gets sick. Ever. I think I can count the number of times he has had a “regular” headache in the 16 years we have been together on one hand. They started out intermittently and then got so bad he couldn’t even stand up or sit up for more than 10 minutes at a time and then had to lay completely flat to get any type of relief, 24/7. After a visit to urgent care, who sent him directly to the emergency room, they ruled out any immediate dangers (brain bleed) with a head CT scan. He got to come home but we still didn’t have any answers. His pain was excruciating. I felt absolutely helpless. Nothing I could do would take his pain away. Over the next week he had a MRI, visit to an opthomologist, spinal tap and another CT (this time with angio). I had so many people praying for him and I was scared. Terrified. Being in the medical field (I have been a Respiratory Therapist for 13 years & I was an EMT for 5 years prior to that) I have a pretty darn good amount of medical knowledge which is both a blessing and a curse. Thankfully those tests ruled out the big bad scary stuff (no active or slow bleed, mass on his brain, or ballooning aneurysm which is what they were looking for.)
Now before you ask it, because I know you’re thinking it, the thought of a possible exposure to something in the building that could be causing his headaches did cross my mind more than once. I asked the doctors about it and based on the type of exertional extreme pressure headaches Atom was having it wasn’t from anything he may have been exposed to. And none of the rest of us in the house had any symptoms at all.
Atom got to have his first appointment with our new primary doctor before I did! Who would have thought?! My appointment with him wasn’t for another week. Having debilitating headaches where his head literally felt like it was going to explode gave him a pass to the front of the line and I was totally okay with that 😉.
Being on the other side of things has definitely been an eye opener for me. In the past it has always been me being the medically fragile one. My hats are off to all single moms, single dads and military families out there who pull all of the weight. Y’all are an absolute inspiration. Taking care of a sick spouse while still working 40+ hours a week and caring for our three children is no joke. I was EXHAUSTED.
Atom is still having headaches but he is trying out a couple different prescription medications to try to curb the pressure in his head and he will more than likely see a neurologist in the near future. He’s slowly starting to get back to his regular self again.
I had my first appointment to get established with our new primary doctor (who is AWESOME btw & reads & shares this blog! 👋🏻) earlier this week. I kept thinking to myself “oh man this guy is going to be asking himself what he signed up for with these two medical train wrecks.” Hahahaha 🤣. I’ve said it in the past that finding an entirely new medical team for myself has been a huge stressor since I was so close and connected with my former team back in San Diego. They knew my heart & lungs better than anyone on the planet. This particular doctor came VERY highly recommended from both my coworkers and other patients of his. All of my fears & nerves went out the window at my first appointment. I was blown away with how kind, caring and attentive he was. I was in his office for a solid hour going over my medical history and establishing a plan. It never felt rushed and I knew I was in the right place with no need for any other opinions. Talk about a huge weight lifted!!
Since Atom was literally forced to be horizontal and still over the past few weeks and not work on the renovations, he has really spent time reevaluating his time. Not a single person on the planet will tell you he isn’t a hard worker. He’s hands down the hardest worker I have ever met and definitely not a sit still kind of guy. And believe me, there are plenty of times when I wish he would just sit still & relax! We’ve had several conversations about how we need to be sure to take more breaks from renovating and not push so hard to meet our self set (& often times unrealistic) goals and deadlines. Atom has started working on his next fiction book series that he started writing a year or so ago. Fun fact: Atom is also an author (& illustrator!) He wrote, illustrated & published a children’s book 11 years ago and published a Christian science fiction book this past spring. I’m pretty excited about the next trilogy he is working on, the story line is really amazing.
Now that Atom is starting to be up & around more he is making sure to not push himself too hard too soon. He’s taking many breaks to write and have lots of princess tea parties with our daughter while her older brothers are at school.
Once the scary stuff was ruled out I felt like I could take a deep breath for the first time in weeks (which is super ironic for me with my crappy lungs).
And I am also now trying to take it easy. Being so busy and so worried for the past few weeks has really worn me out. I could feel my body starting to shut down and that is very bad news for me health wise. Holding it all together is so hard, especially when I have a laundry list of my own medical issues. Fingers crossed I don’t crash & burn from all of this. I’m pretty sure I’ll be just fine. I’m relaxing as much as I can and our boys have been awesome and have really stepped it up & are helping around the house more, even more than they already do. They’re such great kids. One night last week I was beyond exhausted and just needed a moment to myself so after the kids (& Atom) went to bed I went down to the basement with my leftover Starbucks that had been in the fridge for hours and decided to be silly. Silly was better than crying from being so overwhelmed. So I did what anyone in my situation would have done & I rode around the basement on my big wheel for awhile (in reality it was probably only 10 min before I was so tired I couldn’t see straight) and then went to bed. I needed that moment & it felt so good. Self care is definitely necessary & I encourage everyone to take time for yourself, even if it’s only 10 minutes.
Don’t fret, the renovations will be back in full swing very soon! Just this afternoon Atom felt well enough for a bit to start measuring out the wood for the double doors that we are installing at the “entrance” to the second floor, our living space. We will be taking the renovations slow for awhile until he’s back up in tip top shape which hopefully won’t be too long. In the meantime if you wouldn’t mind, please keep Atom in your thoughts & prayers. We very much would like him to continue to feel better!