Monday, September 27, 2010

The Day I Passed Out On The Sidewalk

My husband and I have been going through one of those "not on the same page" phases marriage knows so well. You know, when you tell him the sky is blue and he says no its gray and within 2 minutes you are either screaming at each other or not speaking? Our communication is just off. We got married Catholic, which means we attended a mandatory premarital seminar that turned out to be really quite interesting. One of the topics they touched on was our different "family of origin" methods of communicating and how that would play into our way of relating to each other, and man 'o man has it ever! My husband is from a hot-headed ethnic family that yell as their fundamental way of corresponding the slightest discord. My WASPish clan was more prone to pouting and the silent treatment. So over the course of our nearly 11 year relationship there has been LOTS of miss-communication. We have it pretty ironed out at this point but it still rears its ugly head 'a plenty! I am most certainly NOT the easiest person to get along with these days. Beside the Prednisone manic (which is calming a bit as I dose down), my immune system is under attack, I constantly feel I am getting sick, Fibromyalgia pain is sneaking back up on me with a vengeance and I am just super busy trying to sort out my life, my purpose, my meaning, post-strokes. He is still working 12 hours a day at a job he would rather tell to take a flyin' leap while trying to balance the rest of his life around it and stay somehow sane. He is also still more than a little bewildered, depressed and unhappy with what life has done to us the last 5 years, understandably so. As the intensity of the strokes fade further into the background of our lives and we resume the normal it is easy to get lost in the mundane struggles of everyday life. It is easy to forget the "miracle" of my complete survival and revert back to stressing and fussing over unsatisfactory situations, people or realities.

So as I was sitting in church yesterday a memory came flooding back to me from the deep recesses of my cognizance, something I had not thought about in a very long time. The details are fuzzy and unclear but the emotion I have attached to it is quite sharp. When I was still VERY sick with CFS & Fibromyalgia our lives sucked, as you all know only too well. One Sunday afternoon we decided to try out a new restaurant, Spanish & Peruvian I believe, and I found myself sitting in a hot little crowded restaurant across the table from a very angry man. He was spouting and spewing his fear all over me in the form of infuriation. I could not take it, was trying to have a rational PUBLIC argument and at one point realized I could not keep going. So I did what any business woman has been trained to do when faced with an excesses of emotion. I firmly slipped that "professional" mask on my face, swallowed my feelings deep down inside and plastered a small smile across my lips, signaling the white flag, truce. Suddenly the room started spinning and little spots danced in front of my eyes and I knew I was seconds away from passing out. But there was nowhere to pass out! The place was jam-packed so I raced to the door fainting and collapsed on the sidewalk right outside the restaurant. I came too a few moments later with my very concerned husband hoovering over me and a few waiters and street passers crowded around. I was fine, nothing came of it, I believe we even went back in and ordered and ate our food.

Why this particular memory at this exact time? I believe what it served to remind me is that this poor man has been dragging behind me while I held a vice-grip on his hand as I whipped and snapped through the hell of chronic illness. Although it has not happened to him, it has. But I am the one that has been given the time to process, heal, restore. I am the one that has taken time off work and been to a therapist and talked and bitched and moaned about every ache, pain and ailment. He's had to go out and bring home the bacon and keep our family afloat, always running, always playing second fiddle emotionally. He has had to hold himself together and stuff his feelings inside and figure out a way to get through each day while pretending he is not internally dying. We are in very different places in life right now. I am so pumped up about the success of my blog (still can't believe y'all are interested in what I have to say!) and my future as a writer and the massive awareness the Fibromyalgia Crusade is going to bring. I am living in such a faith based place, knowing I am sailing down the path I was created to fulfill. But he is not quite there with me. He is still processing, mourning, reflecting. My enthusiasm and conviction must be quite annoying! But I believe the best thing I can do for him is let him feel, be the best wife I know how and keep myself strong, healthy and focused. As my mother said to me today (once again a Mother's wisdom!), "Men are much smarter than women. They figure out on the second day they are not going to change us. Sometimes the best way to help your husband is to get out of God's way."

Thanks for joining,


  1. Like so many, I have been enjoying your Blogs, relating to many of the feelings, emotions, ups and downs, etc. This blog struck a chord with me.
    My husband and I have a disabled daughter. She was a twin, but our son passed away. Shortly after his death, our daughter began having seizures. Lots of them. She is now ten, continues to have uncontrolled seizures, is dependent on someone for all her care, including bathing, dressing, feeding, and diaper changes.
    I am her primary caretaker, and the toll it takes on my body is enormous.
    I have had three back surgeries, fusing my entire lower spine with rods and plates. I have two tears in my shoulder, neck pain from whiplash, and this wonderful syndrome called Fibromyalgia.
    My husband has to witness both of us on any given day, suffer. He feels completely helpless. Like most men, he wants to 'fix' us, but can't. He heads off to work each day, not knowing what he will walk into when he comes home at the end of the day, from a job that brings him total misery.
    You were right to say, that we are not the only ones who go through this. Our families do, too. Our children, mothers, fathers, brothers, friends. They have to endure, perhaps not the physical pain, but the emotional pain. They suffer too. In a different way. They are angry too. They feel powerless too.
    Sometimes I think we need to acknowledge them. Thank them. Hug them. We need to let them know that they aren't alone either.....

  2. Bless your heart Kimberly! You remain so giving despite having to give so much. Thank you for your story and stay strong!

  3. I was blacking out and very orthostatic (BP dropping dramatically with standing) and fell down the steps March 31, 2010, mangling my right leg...still don't know if it's the fibro or my mangled leg, but I get more pain in the Right leg and numbness/tingling. My blood pressure apparently runs very low and I am supposed to drink water constantly. My BP was 70/50 @ the nurse practitioner's. Thank God my psychiatirst recommended the Family Care Clinic and I've FINALLY found a Dr. that treats me. I think my social worker has a lot to do with it. She comes with me into the exam room and vouches for me big time. Ohterwise, I don't know if I'd be getting treated properly as I am currently without any health insurance as of Jan. 1, 2010. My SSDI came through and I then didin't qualify for Medicaid. Hard to find doctors that will take Medicaid/Medicare even.
    But, Leah I understand how this disease/condition affects relationships. It can break it, no problem. Glad you stuck to your guns, so to speak.
    I feel that if not for the CFS/FM, C5-C6 bulging disc and chronic LBP from 2 back injuries as an RN on an orthopedic unit in July of 2006, dx with bursitis (arthritis of both hips and knees), degenerative disc and joint disease, plus bipolar; if not for these struggles, I would not be the strong person I have actually turned out to be. I lost my dad about a month ago to Parkinson's after a 19 year horrific battle he fought bravely. He raised me from age 3 and watching him decline was grief in itself. Being with him and not breaking down was hard, but I did it.
    Just wanted to add a few things I can relate to and add my own hardships. I went homeless about 8 months. Mother passed in March of 2006 & I had a nervous break down in Feb. 2007, although it was appearntly coming for a few months before that.
    I am here on this earth for my purpose. I am proud to say I was a good nurse for aobut 19 years and even though my doctors have told me I'll never be capable of working again, after the 3 months of "OMG"....I now feel purpose.
    Getting a car soon and really involved in support groups. Doing my damndest to make my life count, as it has and is and will.
    Godspeed to all of you. My FM story is under "Notes" tab on my FB page.

  4. KamilahLynn thank you for your story and your attitude of perseverance! Oh you have been hit hard by physical ailments and are exactly the reason why The Fibromyalgia Crusade is so important. Homeless...oh my dear I feel for you but am glad to see your inner strength has found a way to shine as you pick your life up again! God bless you!