Thursday, July 17, 2008

A decade ... and a million years ago, part 2

Part one can be found here.

"Yes," answered Dr. BeatAroundtheBush. "He does."

"Is he dying?"

"Yes, he has pneumocystis pneumonia, and he's terminal."

I was stunned into silence. Oh my God. I'm going to die. I was still nursing my little girl. Not often, not much. But if I'm going to die, SHE'S going to die.

Oh my God oh my God oh my God oh my God.

The voice from the phone cut through my rising panic.

"Um. Is there someone there you trust ... someone I can talk to?"

I mentally scanned the backyard, searching for someone who was maybe more than just a neighbor.

The neighborhood doctor's wife?

I put her on the phone and watched her face as my husband's doctor talked to her.

Suddenly, I was surrounded. All the neighborhood wives were there, and they were talking and making phone calls and trying to feed me and seeking information -- not so easy to do 10 years ago on a holiday weekend.

It was not so easy to get tested on a holiday weekend either. None of us had any idea of how to go about this. Through a series of hotlines and referrals, we found a guy.

Just some guy.

Some guy who would come to ME on a holiday weekend and draw blood and tell me my future.

Just some guy.

Today, I shake my head at what I had to do to get the answer I craved and feared. It's so simple now. It was so NOT then.

Just some guy came to my house on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.

Pulled out a kit of syringes and needles and alcohol wipes and little tubes.

I gave him my arm and my hopes, and he pulled the answer to my nightmare out of my vein.

And then he went away, with the promise of results in 48 hours.

Let me repeat that.

Forty-eight hours.

Forty-eight hours while I hugged my baby and cried.

Forty-eight hours while I tried to refuse her the comfort she sought from my breast.

And could not.

Forty-eight hours while I plotted out a frightening future that had an end point, filled with pills and regimen and pain and illness and death.

And 48 hours during which Dr. BeatAroundtheBush decided I now needed frequent updates on he-who-shall-not-be-named's condition.

"We've increased his oxygen ... he's on no room air at all."

"His lung collapsed. We reinflated it."

"The morphine drip has been upped to the maximum."

Oh my God stop stop stop oh my God oh my God stop stop stop stop stop oh my God.

How did I live through those horrible 48 hours? I honestly don't know.

My usual support system was gone -- my BFF had left for an anniversary cruise with her husband the morning of the fateful barbecue. I had a tenuous relationship with my parents after my tumultuous marriage.

I had only my neighborhood acquaintances and my boss. Not today's boss, but a woman who was my friend, who shared her divorce attorney, her home, her heart and her help during the months after my separation.

I clung to Sue and her phone calls. She knew that results were due Tuesday at about 10 a.m., and she got in her car that morning and drove like a bat out of hell so she could hold my hand when it did.

She didn't get there in time, though.

At 9:30, my phone rang, and I picked it up, uncertain.

"Janet," said the deep, soothing voice of just some guy.

I couldn't breathe.

"I got your results early, and I wanted to share them as soon as possible."

I closed my eyes.

"You're fine. You're negative."

To be continued.


Wonderhubby said...

When I first met Janet I had no idea of the hell she had gone through, I had friends that new but they thought it was her position to tell me. I remember the night she told me like it was yesterday as we sat in her car I though what an amazing woman to have gone through all that and still have her sanity. It made me love her even more and every day since that day I have loved her more yes me Wonderhubby I am truly the luck one.

Melissa said...

All I can still say is "WOW". I cannot possibly fathom this.

Crazed Mom said...

Holy cow girl! Not an experience anyone wants to go through. So happy you were negative.

Rachael said...

The idea of those 48 hours and your concern for your baby girl makes me cry. Thank God you got the call you did. This is an amazing post, you convey it as if it's happening right now, which in your head I suppose it is. That can't be easy, so again, thanks for sharing with us.

ChrisB said...

I was holding my breath as I read this~ phew what relief you must have felt.

nikki said...

Wonderhubby just made me cry. I can't imagine going through what you did. You do realize what an amazing person you are, don't you?

The Laundress said...


And Wonderhubby...You are my hero.

Kaytabug said...

This is the typed equivalent of me bawling my eyes out: Bwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Oooh the way you described it all so vivid like I could ALMOST feel how you felt.

Junebug said...

Thank you Wonderhubby.

Marmarbug said...

Oh sweetie! I was on the edge of my seat during that whole story.
You are SUCH a strong woman. And thank god you were negative.Thank you for sharing a story that I am certain is not easy to tell.

Brillig said...

Oh. Mygosh. FORTY-EIGHT HOURS of that!!!! Obviously, I knew the ending (as it appears that you're alive and well, as is your daughter...) but the suspense here was still killing me! What an ORDEAL!!!

Janet said...

You are my hero, and Wonderhubby is indeed a man above the rest.

robinellablog said...

I saw wonderhubby commented and I had to read it. You are both so lucky!

What a scary ordeal and how can it be continued? What, What?

Janet said...

Such a scary you know how he got it?

LceeL said...

JFC. (Catholics know that one) WOW. Just WOW. All the women and the girls in the family (lots and lots of those) look for my 'Bear Hugs'. Feel it when I say (*HUG*) because I mean **H U G**.

Sarah said...

I can't imagine the torment of that 48 hours. You are so strong...even though I know you felt the farthest thing from it at the time.

Catwoman said...

I can't even imagine the eternity those 48 hours must have felt like.

I don't think I breathed the entire time I read this post.

Glenn Palmer said...

You are truly lucky, both for the negative result and for having escaped the relationship. My wife went through an experience of beating, rape and forced pregnancy when she was younger. Even though 30 years have passed since she got away, we still have to deal with the fall-out, over and over. In this case, love doesn't conquer all, it just shoves evil back into the corner and keeps it at bay for a while.

Karly said...

Oh my gosh, I think I turned blue from holding my breath all the way through that. Thank God you were negative!

Domestic Spaz said...

Wow. I've just been introduced to your blog through a blog roll and I'm in awe. Thank you for sharing such a personal story!

Swistle said...

Holly crap you are KILLING me with this story.

Also, I got an AIDS test back in college, and it was a TWO-WEEK wait.

lattemommy said...

I'm amazed by your strength and courage in relating this story. I'm sure that time is not one you would wish to relive, but you do so with such honesty and grace. Thank heaven those 48 hours are 10 years behind you now, and that you've gotten your happy ending.

Oh, and Wonderhubby rocks.

Burfica said...

Oh my gosh!!!!! I don't know really what to say, I just read and got all caught up. How scary and what torture you went through.

Your wonderhubby sounds alot like my Gigantor, he had to put up with a bunch when we first got married, and I tried to leave him so he could have a normal wife and family.

I love him more each day. He says the same to me.

We are lucky to have such great men.

AnGlOpHiLe FoOtBaLl FaNaTiC said...

I LOVE WONDERHUBBY. Give him all the damn juicers he wants. That comment made me sob more than the post - which made me sob.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

1. I have never been so happy to have been behind with reading you because I would have DIED waiting for this post after the last one. The two minutes it took to catch up felt like an eternity, which is nothing like the eternity you survived. You rock.

2. I love Wonderhubby.

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