The Day That It All Went Horribly Wrong

John Parks-Coleman

The Day That It All Went Horribly Wrong

John Parks-Coleman
Right now, there is a chat going on and, I can't participate due to my computer wanting to wait until RIGHT NOW to perform all of it's software update. Denise has the patience of a Saint, and is working out all the glitches.  So, for now, I will tell you about some of what my Wife is experiencing; and, how I actually became her Caregiver.




emergency_room_591So, one evening, in the fall of 2010, Yvonne and I were out walking Bonz around our neighborhood.  At this time, Yvonne was able to walk, run, ride a bicycle, etc. so, things were pretty normal.  We knew that she has Avascular Necrosis, Bi-Laterally through her hips and knees.  We also knew that there were a couple herniated discs in her back.  In addition to that, we were well aware of PTSD-related issues that we were handling through counseling and medication.

We walked for about a mile and a half.  After we came home, I fixed us all a snack and, we relaxed for the evening.  It was around 2200hrs that we retired to the bedroom.  We were reading to each other from one of Robin Cook's novels and, discussing the craziness in the medical field.  At some point, I dozed off...

The following morning, when I awoke, Yvonne's side of the bed was empty.  The sheets where she lay upon were cold, so I knew she had been out of bed for more than a few minutes.  As I was considering where she had gone to, I heard a faint "Baby!" coming from down the stairs.  Bolting out of bed, I raced down the stairs.

There, between the kitchen island and the stove, Yvonne was bent over.  She was holding herself up with the island on her right, and the stove on her left.  "Sweety, what's going on?" I asked.  She explained that she had been stuck there for about an hour, and had been calling my name; however, she couldn't call loud enough for me to hear all the way up the stairs and in the bedroom.  I went to assist her to an upright position; however, that seemed to cause a huge amount of pain.  I immediately thought of her back, and the herniated discs.

In the past, I had been stuck, bent over at the waist, when I ruptured L-5/S-1, so I reasonably assumed that something similar was going on with Yvonne.  I guided her to the sofa, and gently set her down.  Lifting the back of her night shirt, I looked at her back and the outline of her spine as it protrudes through her skin.  I was horrified to see that her spine; which, the night before was relatively straight, and had all of the bends that come with the human spine, was now curved like a parenthesis (.  It had not been that way, previously.

I did my best to get her dressed into some comfortable traveling clothes and, I brought her to the Emergency Room at Metroplex Hospital.  One X-Ray and MRI later and a doctor was telling me, "Her spine is perfectly fine".  I gathered up my Wife, and brought her to the CRDAMC Hospital on Fort Hood, TX.  Into another ER we go for another opinion.  Second verse, same as the first, the doctor says her spine is completely fine; however, he would initiate a referral to a neurologist.

Flash forward to today and, her spine is still crooked.  In addition to this, she has micro-seizures that present as if someone were pushing her between the shoulder blades with a great force.  Some medications keep the impulses at bay, for the most part.  Bonz is self-trained to pick up the scent of an oncoming bout of micro-seizures since he gets up from his bed and starts frantically sniffing Yvonne's face about two minutes before they begin.  This gives me time to lay her down in order to prevent falls, and to protect her head.

We are operating under the assumption that most of this is caused by a Traumatic Brain Injury that she sustained in Iraq.  If you think of all the news footage of the initial phases of OIF 1 and when the giant statue of Saddam came down, Yvonne was right there in the circle assisting with crowd control.  It was later that day that an IED took out her vehicle while they were on their way back to the FOB.

The Army didn't start testing for TBI until about five years later.  We didn't know that she had that until her memory started slipping, when she began to forget things...important things.  After our pain management doctor ordered a CT Scan of her brain, we found that both her Right and Left frontal lobes are heavily affected.

There's another part of this story as well.  Through her multiple deployments, she was exposed to burn pits.  In addition to that, she was also in the initial Desert Storm and, with that Syndrome working its way through our Veteran population, it weighs heavily on me that it may be only a matter of time before more conditions begin popping up.

Until then, though, I keep plugging away at making sure she is safe, secure, comfortable, looking as pretty as ever; and, fed the best meals I have learned to cook.  Tomorrow, I am perming her hair and painting her nails.  She's going to be having baked chops and potatoes with collard greens.  If you're in the area, drop by, there'll be plenty!

Good night, and thank you ALL for everything you do for your Carees.

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Linda

Wow. What a story. What love you have for Yvonne. Thank you.

chaya

John, following your story, and very moved by all of you--including Bonz, with his seizure-detecting smarts. You're an incredible husband, caregiver and dog-trainer! Please thank Yvonne for me for her courage as a soldier. How frustrating to make it through her deployment, and live with TBI and everything else.

jan

I continue to be amazed at your capacity for tender care of Yvonne. It seems so different from a stereotype of \"soldiers\". But it also reinforces how you are trained for action and that is what you do without getting hung up by the emotion of the moment. \r\nWishing you and Yvonne a peaceful holiday season and many simple joys and pleasures.

Doxiedad (Rick)

John, Thank you for sharing. Your words bring a sense reality to me, that I am no alone. While my wife suffers from many of the same symptoms hers are completely different in origin. I am glad to be part of this wonderful community of fantastic people.

Denise

Hi John--I appreciate the kind words. :) I actually am so grateful that all of you have so much patience with me. ! Sometimes, I feel like my middle name is \"Glitch.\" I'm still working through the chatroom glitch. :(\r\n\r\nI can only imagine how frightening this has been for both of you--these sudden changes can really be like earthquakes. I love how you scoop up Yvonne and take her to another ER when you know that the doctor isn't correct. You are an amazing advocate--no drama, just demanding results. I love that. \r\n\r\nI hope you're both enjoying the at-home spa treatment. Sounds glorious!!