Code Purple, Davis House

 

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I have seen a lot of things as a psychiatric nurse.  Six of my ten year nursing career was spent at a prominent hospital in Dallas.  This means that we were one of the hospitals that the police brought you to when you were picked up naked and obstructing traffic. Perhaps someone called the police reporting that he had six hostages, some of which he had already killed, in his basement, only for the police to show up to a man with a gun talking to people that weren’t there. And bless his heart, the poor guy didn’t even have a basement. He earned himself a VIP trip to our psychiatric emergency room. Hearing things in change of shift report with sentences like, “Pt ‘Bob’ (HIPAA and all) castrated himself on a camping trip” or “Don’t give ‘Suzy’ anything that can fit in her rectum” seemed totally normal. I guess that really is a relative term.  But we had a system in place at this particular hospital called a code purple. This meant anyone and everyone run to that location because somebody has lost their itshay and things are about to get real. You never knew what exactly you were running to but you knew it wasn’t going to be boring. It was honestly exciting and terrifying at the same time. It was also wonderful knowing that if I ever found myself on the wrong end of someone else’s wrath, help would be coming soon.

We are in serious need of a code purple at the Davis house. I may or may not be the one that is losing my religion because of the stress but it is definitely taking a toll on the whole family.  Let me explain. After 20 years of suffering from Ulcerative Colitis, my husband has decided to take out the beast that has tried to kill him and make his life a living hell.  He had his colon completely taken out. No biggie. I mean it’s just a colon, right? Apparently it’s kind of a big deal.  I felt the need to get the surgeon to take pictures of his colon to show me. I guess I wanted to confront this tormentor. We also found out that he has an abnormally large set of intestines. Of course he loves to tell the joke, “You know what they say about guys with big colons.” (insert eye roll) His friend, Nick gave the epic answer of, “they have big poops.”

Ok,  I’ll try to start at the beginning. I have been with my husband for 16 years. I have never known him without Ulcerative Colitis.  In the beginning, we were able to have periods of remission. For the last couple of years, there has been no relief. Every drug and natural remedy and diet known to man has been tried to no avail. The problem with this horrendous disease is that it affects everything, not just your colon. UC is an autoimmune disease so his body decided that his colon was the devil and it needed to go back to the pits of hell where it came from. Unfortunately, it brings lots of other body systems down with it.  As scary as it was, I was beyond ready to get the offending culprit out, ASAP.  But it’s not my body. Apparently I don’t get to decide. I had to watch him suffer until he decided the surgery was, in fact, worth it.

Although he should have been discharged a week ago, he has endured one complication after the next, LIKE A BOSS. I would rather give birth 10 more times with no anesthesia, while getting my toenails ripped off and simultaneously have acupuncture be performed on my eyeball than have to go through what he has gone through. He has not eaten or drank anything in over a week….except for the popsicle he manipulated some poor nurse into bringing him. The problem is he has a nasogastric tube from his nose into his stomach, set to suction to let his intestines rest until they decide to stop being assholes and work again…..see what I did there? He got his colon out?? Ahhhh I’m hilarious. But I digress.  The RED popsicle sits in the tube and makes the container look like he is bleeding out but he will still deny his rebellion. Even despite his red lips. I guess with all the man has gone through, he deserves a popsicle.

That army man I married has always been stoic. But the irony that his father went through this exact surgery at this exact age is not lost on any of us. He lost his dad to colon cancer 3 years later. This has been an emotional ride for his entire family.  Seriously, get your colons checked.

As we speak, his blood cultures have grown boogeymen, meaning he has an infection somewhere that has gone to his blood.  With all the tubes and hoses and instruments that have poked holes in his body, there is no telling where it originated from.

As you know, my oldest doesn’t do well with change. Having their superman in the hospital this long is hard to take. Homeschool has been disrupted, any type of normalcy is gone, and momma has to go see daddy and can’t figure out why he can’t go.  With all things considered, I am very proud of both of my kids. Our last therapist told us, “Never put a limit on progress.” I know this could have been so much worse.

This is what I have learned. I love my husband more than I ever even thought that I could.  Not just because he laid on a table for over 6 hours having a major surgery, or realizing how much I miss him when every single day is uncertain, or seeing what an impact he has on our beautiful boys, but because I have never been so proud of him in 16 years.  Trust me, he has done some pretty amazing things. But as I watch him as he has given his all in every aspect of this recovery even when he has nothing left to give,  it makes my heart both hurt and swell with pride.  He has never wanted anyone to feel sorry for him or think that his situation is serious. I’m pretty sure he told his job he’d be back this week. Lord Jesus, I hope they know what a total colectomy entailed and that he was full of poop…well not anymore….OMG I’m hilarious! All I know is that I want him home, by my side, every day for the rest of my life. Not that I didn’t know that before, but it is more vital and urgent now than ever before. God put me on this earth to love that man.  It is only secondary that I hate taking out the trash and cleaning the turtle aquarium. I swear those things are secondary.

I have also learned that my oldest little can pull through for you sometimes at the exact right time. Nevermind that it is probably because momma’s mood swings lately are terrifying…hey whatever works. The boy that wouldn’t allow me to leave the room has been left with my mom every single day during this poop storm that is my life right now. God is good.

I covet your prayers. Some people say they will ‘send good vibes’ but I don’t even know what that means.  Family has come from over a thousand miles away just to take a shift in the hospital or watch the boys just so I can.  That’s what real family does and I will never take that for granted.  We fight, but we love hard and we always stick together.  My friends have offered countless times just to bring me coffee or sit with me. Then there’s the friend who brought me food at 2 pm because she figured I hadn’t had a chance to eat that day (she was right). Love, love her. God has put wonderful people in my life since we have moved to Virginia and I am beyond grateful.

Emotions are running high and we are all about one catastrophe away from a code purple. I’m sorry if I am not returning texts or answering calls. I literally forgot the entire week last week that my 4 year old goes to school.  I went an entire day with silly putty stuck to my butt and knew it but didn’t care. My son just informed me last night that he hadn’t bathed in awhile. That assessment is probably accurate. Thanks again for the ones that have checked on us and please extend a little grace if I am extra grouchy or cry because I ran out of my favorite coffee creamer.  But do know that my husband is a rockstar and that he is the toughest man I know.  Thanks again for your prayers.

Day 2: What Would Love Do?

This question almost seems to be rhetorical. Mostly because it comes with such a loaded response, it can’t possibly be able to be answered. Not fully. My short answer would be that LOVE WOULD CHANGE EVERYTHING. Yes, I mean everything. The bible says that christians will be set apart by the way they love. Unfortunately, that simply isn’t the case. Hypocrisy and judgment and exclusion are not loving nor are they biblical. But I digress. this post is not about the actions of the misguided…or is it?

My oldest son has autism. One of the most heartbreaking realizations was that, while you can teach someone what to do in a given situation in order to be socially acceptable, you can’t teach emotions. Once when I told him I loved him, he responded with, “I love you too…I think…I mean I think I love you. It’s hard! How am I supposed to know what love is? What does that even mean? What does it feel like?” Heartbroken, I didn’t really have an answer, other than tears. My son doesn’t even know whether or not he loves me.  After a lot of thought and prayer and acceptance and mommy tantrums, I think I have made sense of his questions. Love is not an emotion at all. It evokes emotions that are wonderful and euphoric. But loving someone also unleashes a passion which means that person can also hurt you the most, even cause anger or rage. Someone that means nothing to you can not cause such responses, not on the same level.  Anyone that has been married for any length of time can surely attest to this.

Love is a verb. Love is an action, a continuous and conscious effort that doesn’t always come easy. It takes maturity, self awareness, and most importantly, it takes selflessness. To imagine a world filled with love would be to imagine a Utopia. Something that surely won’t be seen this side of heaven. But what if love started with me, with you? Can we change our world for the better with love? Would it even make a difference? The bible says that without love, you are nothing, it’s all in vain.  “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (1Corinthians 13:2-3)

So I get it, love is important. But what does that mean? How do you show love, exude love, emanate  love in our daily life. Apart from His love, our love will never be perfect. But how do we strive for this magical potion that changes the world? In 1 Corinthians it goes on to say that love is patient, kind, humble, selfless, honorable, is not easily angered and does not hold grudges (emphasis mine because I may or may not have…ummm…issues with the latter two…uh, let’s move on).

If love embodied every person on this earth, truly filling their heart to the brim, overflowing to their actions, wouldn’t that change every single wrong doing?  But what if we showed ourselves these same mercies. What if we were patient and kind to ourselves? I can only imagine that it would put us in a different headspace. A space that could repel and forgive the negativity even if it came from our own thoughts. A space that could love the unloveable and allow past transgressions to melt away, including our own. This isn’t something that can fully be achieved, but the journey can be encouraging, empowering, rejuvenating, and all together lovely.