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Friday, November 4, 2011

In Real Life

Some of you in Twitterland may remember a day this past May when I sent out a tweet that went something like this.  "If there's anyone out there listening, I need someone to talk to."  And you responded, you were there for me when I needed you.  For those of you who were there that day, this is an answer to your questions about how we are doing. For those of you who don't know, here's a bit about what happened on that day in May.

That morning I was awakened by the sound of my husbands frantic cries for help.  I ran from my office, into the bedroom. and found him laying on the bed.  He had lost all bowel and bladder control and was losing sensation in his legs.  I rang for an ambulance and he was taken to hospital.  It was immediately apparent to the doctors that there were no surgeons on staff qualified to perform the surgery he was going to need.  I made one phone call to family and less than an hour later, my husband was life flighted to a hospital in the States.  I could not go with him as I had the children to care for.  By the time he arrived at hospital stateside, his mother and his sister were there waiting for him. 

A team of five surgeons were assembled in the operating theatre to perform spinal surgery. The spinal cord itself was in danger of being severed or damaged permanantly.  Ten hours later I recieved a phone call telling me that my husband had come through surgery and would be able to walk.  The spinal cord was intact, but due to the nature of the initial injury that caused the compression, he has lost the ability to do most of the things we all take for granted.  He is, and always will be in constant pain.  This is why we are all stateside right now.  Because his condition is still in a state of flux, we cannot be far from his surgical team and are living in a small rural town less than an hours drive from hospital.

Since then I have taken hundreds of photos of him, trying to capture the essence of what he has endured.  The loss, the pain, the fear and the anger that he is experiencing show themselves on the face I know so well. 




Some of you in Twitterland know what he looked like before the surgery.  This photo was taken in August.  My husband is 6' 5", he used to weigh 250 pounds.  All of that was solid muscle.  His muscles were not due to working out, they were due to working.  His work days began at sunup and did not end until around 8:00 - 9:00 p.m.  This man was not made for sitting around being idle, and the life he has now is not acceptable.




This photo was taken last night.  All that beautiful hair is now gone and his weight is down to 190 pounds.  His hair began falling out in irregular patches in September.  The doctor of internal medicine that is assigned to his case said that this was due to extreme stress.  So my husband went ahead and shaved what remained of his hair.  The weight loss is due to the drastic decrease in muscle mass. 

The toll that this has taken on our family is enormous. 

 
This is our daughter.  When we have lived in the States before, it has been due to my work with univiersities.  And in a university town, she blended in. Her personality, her temperment and her way of thinking are Irish not American.  There are no Irish here and no foreigners of any kind.  She and I do not belong here.  And the people here will never accept us.  Living in the States has become almost intolerable for her and me.  (We have an adopted American son and I will do a seperate post about him at a later date).

Things are going to improve.  In June we are going to Galway where I hope to finalize the purchase of a new home.  My family is not from Galway, but are from County Cork.  But Galway has always been my hearts desire, and I intend to live out the remainder of my days there so my sisters can just bugger off about it.  I won't be changing my mind. 

A sad face is not what my family shows to the world.  Despite all of these difficulties we strive to rise above it and refuse to be defined by this hardship.  We will not be defeated by it.  We will endure, we will go on and we will be better because of it. 

At the moment I have very little time to tweet.  My family needs me to be present in the here and now. I miss all of you in Twitterland and thank you all for your support over the last couple of months There is one person in Twitterland who knows all of this, who has been consistantly there for me and who has brightened so many a dreary day.  If you're down there Steve, wake up sleepy head I miss you.  

22 comments:

  1. A terrible story that at least didn't have a terrible ending, enjoy Galway and hope the hubby gets some sort of recovery and gets a lot better my Irish cailin.

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  2. That's a horrid story, poor hubby, he doesn't look too happy in the pics and I can understand why, all the best, stay strong and I'm sure it will all work out in the end, you'll all soon be sipping pints at your new local in Galway.

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  3. Thank you so much Angry. The next move will be permanant I'll not be coming back to the States again after this one.

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  4. He's a pretty tough guy and not an easy one to keep down. It's funny, he and my daughter were just talking about finding their own local and banning me from it except on weekends. I told them that if they do that, they'd better find one that does dinner.

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  5. I've thought a long time before posting on this Anne.
    Back in 2009 I thought I was dying. I too lost a lot of body mass and was depressed to point I thought of hastening the process along...
    Then I wrote this post and things seemed to click into place.
    http://mypseudepigrapha.blogspot.com/2009/04/old-mortality.html
    I hope it-and the comments-help yer man even just a wee bit.

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  6. Thank you Conan. I read the post and the comments as well. The post and the comments were lovely. It seems as if we're about the same age and may have travelled some of the same roads. Christ, I may even have bumped into you at a pub back in the late 70's.

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  7. Thank you so much Mr. Picky. I dropped you a tweet this morning. Did you get it?

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  8. I haven't been following your blog as long as most, but I wanted to wish your family the best in these times.

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  9. I didn't even know you had a Twitter account.

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  10. That's... terrible. At least you have a plan and you plan for things to be better. As long as you will be alright.

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  11. Anne, my dear friend, although we've only known each other for a short time, know that you and your family are in my heart. I know what it's like not to belong, so I hope you and your daughter are able to hang in there. Love from me and Topaz.

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  12. Yeah I do My2. This blog is connected to my twitter account and I began blogging just so I could communicate with my friends in the UK while we were on different time zones. I'm @wickedwitch_ You can follow me there if you want. My friends are a great bunch of people

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  13. Thank you D4. Things will improve. They always do, we just have to hang in there until then.

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  14. We have so much in common Michelle. You've become like a sister to me. When we go home and get settled, I'd like to fly you over to Ireland to spend time with my family. There is so much I'd like to talk to you about. Toki and I love you to.

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  15. That's a terribly difficult situation, Anne. A life-changing emergency with immediate family is something I've gone through too with my mother, and I know how hard it is some days. It isn't much, but I wish you and yours all the best thoughts I have to give. I hope your time stateside gets on an upswing and you guys are able to return home soon. Be well!

    -brandon

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  16. also, at mention of Twitter, I wasn't able to locate you. If you'd care to hook up with us @ABeer4TheShower whenever you have time to tweet again :)

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  17. Thank you so much B. I'll follow you on twitter. I'm known as wickedwtch_ down there. I'll make sure I introduce myself so you know it's me.

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  18. I was going to say "poor hubby", but he sounds to me like the sort of man who won't allow himself to be "poor" anything, no matter what life hurls at him. And that takes something that illnesses won't take away from him. <3 I'm glad you all got through the initial scariness in May ok!

    I know how you and daughter feel. Mostly the only times I feel like I belong here are when I'm off hiking in the deep woods, alone. Although I must say, when I went to Maine it felt like I had arrived Home. I've never loved a place so much, except obviously Achill....

    xoxoxo

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  19. I've never been to Maine, Mich. I hear it is gorgeous. I loved Ohio when I was there, it too was like home and the people were ever so nice. xxx

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