Friday, August 15, 2014

Korea from my Husband's Perspective

Last week I shared about my IV at the airport. It struck a chord with many of y'all. I quickly realized that I am not alone in my fears. Although I will always be terrified of these two situations, I also know that if and when they are to occur again I will survive them. I refuse to live my life paralyzed by fear and will continue to spend each day proving that I am Clearly Alive.

I also want to acknowledge a very important person whose authoritative action in a crisis situation allowed this to be just a really scary story and not a full on nightmare. I have stated previously how a chronic disease affects more than just the person diagnosed. With that in mind, I would like to share my husband's account of our adventure in KLIA:

I know that the stress of travel and the difficulty with finding edible food for you played a large part in beating down your health while in Korea. I also think the emotional stress of reliving experiences was another contributing factor. As the week progressed, you were often short with me and quick to criticize, but you would realize it later and apologize.

When we returned to Seoul, we chose the wrong bus which added a couple hours onto an already long commute. Dinner with a Korean friend that night was a huge blessing because she knew how to get gluten free food. After dinner, we had another hour on a train and a few hours of sleep before an early morning flight. By the time we boarded the plane, we were both so drained.

My face is so red from sheer exhaustion.
The night before our flight.
A few hours into the flight, I knew you weren't feeling well, but it wasn't until I saw your face after you used the bathroom that I realized how bad it was. You looked miserable. Dehydration was causing your lips to crack, but you were so nauseated you couldn't drink anything. I could feel your legs shaking which is a clear sign of low cortisol. You took 10mg of HC right then. About 20 minutes later, you were still feeling horrible. You were scared to take a zofran so I told you not to worry and promised that I would get you off the plane if I had to carry you! You were on the verge of a panic attack but staved it off with deep breathing and magic I think. We agreed on asking for a wheelchair and you took the zofran and another 10 mg of HC. Your legs were still shaking and you tried to curl up into a fetal position. By this point I had already figured out where your emergency injection was and was seriously contemplating when I would need to use it. It was a scary thought.

I called the flight attendant and requested a wheelchair for when we landed. Soon after that, several flight attendants clustered around our seats. The claustrophobia caused you to almost go into another panic attack! I looked at the man who seemed to have the highest rank and calmly stated, "My wife is not feeling well and I am taking care of her. Right now she needs space. I need all of you to step away now." They scattered!

The noise and the turbulence wasn't letting the zofran knock you completely out, so you just lay there covered in blankets with your feet on my knee. Your legs stopped shaking so I was hoping you were feeling better. I snapped a picture of the 'Gluten Free' snack that the attendant had given you. It made me half angry and half laugh at the salad dressing that was clearly labeled 'Wheat.'

Stickers will magically make things not have gluten in them
Or at least that's the logic in Malaysia.
We were the last off of the plane. You were still very shaky but able to walk to the wheelchair. The wheelchair escort proceeded to check in with his supervisor and then take us to the nurse's station. On our way there, I asked you if you needed your shot. When you started to cry harder and shake more, I knew my answer. I pulled out your acto-vial and started mixing it. I calmly explained the situation at the sick bay and asked for a place for you to lay down. The nurse was wonderful! She understood the urgency and immediately showed me the back room. Once you were laying down, I finished prepping your injection and I administered your shot. At the time you thanked me because it didn't hurt hardly at all. The burning sensation came afterwards. That was the first time I had ever poked anyone and I was terrified.

I could tell that you were still extremely dehydrated. Your lips were dry and cracking and your face looked grey. I asked the nurse if she could administer IV fluids but she couldn't. I stuck around for about a half hour more and then left to go try and find some Gatorade. Nobody in the airport seemed to know what that stuff was! When I returned (sans Gatorade) there was a doctor there! I knew you needed the fluids but there was nothing I could do on my own to administer them. Thankfully, the doctor was already prepping you for the IV.

The doctor was a very nice man with such a calm demeanor. After he started the IV, he told me that you should be ready to go in about an hour. It was incredible how much better you looked after the IV drip was finished! Your face was the right color and you looked healthy. You were still weak, so we got you back into a wheelchair. I have never gone through customs so quickly! They told you not to even get out of the chair and just briefly glanced at our passports before waving us through. The tram ride to baggage claim was a little rough on you. Soon after, you vomited into a nearby trash can while waiting for our luggage. I don't think I'll ever forget your face after vomiting. You looked up slowly with this expression of pure surprise. It was the first time in your life that you had ever felt better after throwing up!

You seemed to doze a bit in the taxi home. When we got to our hotel, you went straight to bed. I got together a second emergency shot just in case something happened and then sat down on the couch. The reality of the situation didn't really hit me until then. I started shaking myself as I came down off the adrenaline. It was a terrifying situation, but I am so glad I was there to care for you.

I love you.

In conclusion: We're awesome.
Clearly Alive with this man by my side!

1 comment:

  1. Awww, this made me cry. I'm so glad that you two found each other :)