A short chronicle of a recent adventure.
Week of Thanksgiving: I’m working out extensively, feeling easily fatigued, easily stressed, and eating haphazardly. I make a 9.5 inch apple pie and eat about half of it, despite my belief that I am gluten intolerant. My husband and I attend a party, at which I consume additional gluten, during which I feel lightheaded – because of the white wine, I thought – and stressed, after which I discuss with my husband the failures of parenting.
Thanksgiving Day: I prepare a roast chicken, sweet potato casserole, and other dishes for myself, my husband, and his father. The three of us thoroughly enjoy the meal. I avoid all the carbs because I still believe I am gluten intolerant. I stress about the chicken, thinking it may not have been cooked safely and we may all end up with bird flu, but I eat it anyway. I crack open a bottle of Virginian red wine and feel especially lightheaded while we play wii sports. Father-in-law departs with leftovers, about which I continue to stress because he is older, has a cold, and may easily contract bird flu.
Black Friday: We stay home and rest in our nest. I have difficulty sleeping.
Saturday, 11/24: Andrew takes me to a gun range. I bring applesauce, a banana, and a water bottle because I’m focused on staying awake despite my fatigue. Nevertheless, I’m sick to my stomach by the time we arrive, and I spend the majority of the time at the range trying to throw up, thinking I will feel better after a decent vomit. At this point I’m thinking about some pretty weird stuff, and I’m unable to explain my thoughts to my husband. After the range, we stop into Walmart to look at guns. I’m holding my left arm like it’s in a sling because it’s numb, and I’m wearing sunglasses because my eyes are sensitive to light (my ears are also sensitive to sound). I have to use the restroom, but both the rear and front restrooms have long lines. I think about all the people who die on the toilet after eating too much on Thanksgiving. We go to Chik-fil-a for lunch, where Andrew eats and I use the toilet. We go home before bible study, when we decide that I should stay home and rest. I rest; Andrew attends bible study. We talk before bed. I mention signs of stroke. He strongly recommends NyQuil. I take some, then immediately start shivering all over. He says I have a fever and I need to sleep. I fight the medicine all night because I’m scared I might fall into a coma.
I approach the throne room of King Jesus. His face is in shadows, his hair curls as a Greek’s, his court is built of white sparkling marble. He is lounging, eating grapes, and speaks to me gently. He is dressed in bolts of linen, and his head is adorned with a golden wreath of laurels. I ask him for two things: no fear, and confidence in him. He grants these to me. He tells me that I must obey: obey him, obey my husband, obey authorities. Then the King offers me two gifts – a small gift and a great gift. I may take one of the gifts. After some thought, I decide to take the great gift; the Lord does not curse his children, this would not be a trick, I do not need to use reverse psychology when communing with the Prince of Peace. He assures me that I will be restored to full health. He also tells me that I must return each night to the Throne of Grace, or I might once again put myself in danger. I ask him to forgive me of my countless faults, and he replies to each with a surprisingly simple, “Of course.” Then I start thinking of things for which to thank him, and I notice that all throughout his courts people are dancing and singing in his name. I just watch because I’m so very tired.
Onslow Memorial, 11/25: I’m sweaty from fighting a fever all night. I’m talking in riddles. Andrew runs to the store to buy a thermometer. After checking my temperature, he takes me to the local hospital. I’m displaying outward signs of catatonia. Doctors take blood, ask questions, run an MRI and some other weird tests. Though I dislike doctors and hospitals, I remain calm in hours of consciousness because I’m supposed to obey. I tell one doc that I’m on a spaceship… Docs decide to give me a sedative. After taking the sedative, I appear to be back to my normal self. Docs say I can go home and tell me to take it easy for a few days.
Day of Rest, 11/26: I slept well because of the sedative. I’m awake for breakfast. During lunch Andrew asks me several questions that I find difficult to answer. I retire to the bedroom for the remainder of the day to rest. And I rest – no fitful sleeping – waking, restless rest. I’m thinking about the seven kingdoms, a clock, a dragon. I’m making sense of many mysteries, yet my mind is slowing down. I keep hearing the same string of notes, over and over. I’m having feverish nightmares about boulders and being buried. Finally, the sun begins to rise.
Vidant Duplin, 11/27 – 11/29: For the next few days, I forget events. I remember walking down our deck staircase as Andrew helped me into the car. I remember sitting in a waiting room at a hospital. I recall riding in a police car, being restrained, acting like an old woman, talking with fellow patients, drawing a picture (right-handed), snacks, socks, paperwork, a maze, a social worker, and a helicopter ride.
UNC Chapel Hill, 11/29 – 12/4: More needles, more tests: EEG, spinal tap, tests for bacteria, tests for viruses. Negative, negative. I stumped to doctors. The nurses restored me to health. So many people came to visit me. The food tasted good. I spent a week getting back to a normal schedule: eat during the day, sleep at night. Meanwhile, I had a bit of trouble keeping food down, especially when I moved. My head felt heavy, my limbs felt like noodles. I sang and I smiled and I talked. I talked more last week than I have my entire life. Tuesday’s news came as a surprise: the docs said I could go home! I bid farewell to the best hospital I’ve ever known and walked out of there, all on my own. My husband remained by my side throughout the quest for health.
Journey Home: We stayed a few nights with a generous relative before Andrew drove us three hours back to our home. Each day has been a blessing. I have been able to do so much, and there are still so many things to do! I am grateful to be able to share my thoughts with the world, and for my great gift, whatever it may be.