Christmas Day came and went with John still in bed. His fever finally broke mid-day, but he was so worn out that he lingered in bed for another 12 hours. By 6 am Friday morning he was up, changing his sheets and taking a shower.
The worst, or so we thought, had passed.
By about Noon his energy had abated and he considered traveling back to bed. He had lost almost 10 pounds in 2 days, but was still unable to eat much. His stamina was low. His parents invited us to the Uncle’s house, but John declined. I opted to go since we had missed out on other holiday fun the night before.
Hugs surrounded me all around and I was questioned about John’s health. I was made to feel welcome – everyone, it seemed, glad that the worse had passed. Everyone, once again, seemed to be in a lighter mood now that the holiday and the sickness had passed like a lone thief in the night. I ate some leftovers and caught up in the familial banter. The food, although a day old, delighted my taste buds and filled the holes left by the past two days events. I realized I hadn’t eaten much either in my attempts to please others and nurse my sick husband. Or at least – had barely tasted what I had eaten.
The comforting feeling of family and festivities soon enveloped me, but then my own throbbing head became too much for my neck to hold up.
I excused myself to the bathroom and splashed some water on my face. Perhaps it was too much all at once. But the air felt fresher somehow in the bathroom – a moment of peace after two days worth of stress. I looked at my image in the mirror. Haggard would be a good description.
I returned to the table, but soon begged my leave. It was abrupt, I could see it in everyone’s eyes – the fear of “what now?” But I could no longer see straight and just needed to get home to my own bed, my own husband… to find a comforting, peaceful place to rest my weary head.
When I arrived, John had gone out for a walk for “some fresh air.” I sought the stale, familiar air of our dark bedroom instead and filled the space he had occupied two days prior in our bed. Even with the curtains drawn and the covers pulled up – things were too bright and my eyes squinted out every drop of light that tried to invade my aching, throbbing skull.
The migraine had come. A bad one.
Soon my limbs started moving and I couldn’t stop. I was literally writhing in pain. Thrashing about in my bed, tossing covers here and there. I felt like I was having a seizure. I just couldn’t. stop. moving.
John came back and quickly set forth to help.
“What can I get you? What do you need?”
I clenched my head in my hands, and considered his request. I had no idea. I couldn’t make my legs stop moving.
“Why can’t I stop moving?” I asked.
He consulted the internet.
“Muscle spasms can come from migraines,” he reported.
I lay that way for almost 2 hours, writhing about like a fish out of water, debating if it would be worthwhile to go to the emergency room. I had taken some medication, but it didn’t seem to be helping. I waited and waited.
Then, suddenly, it worked, my legs stopped moving and I fell asleep.
It lasted twenty minutes.
The migraine returned with a vengeance. I called John back to the room and we gathered our things and set out for the ER.
Once there (after the most horrendous, torturous car ride) we realized we would be waiting awhile. Others were ill, bleeding, coughing and consulting doctors. It seemed to be a horrible Christmas all around. We were not the only victims this Christmas.
When I was finally taken in, they gave me 2 different medications. The first did nothing.
The second? Morphine.
It slightly dulled the pain – after 3 doses – and I agreed to go home. I just wanted to be in my own bed, away from prying eyes, away from the other illnesses seeping through the walls, under the door and into my bed.
I don’t remember entering the house – only sleeping again in my bed.
In the morning the headache was still there only slightly duller. And John’s parents decided to leave – two days early. I felt like a failure. My hostess skills battered and bruised. Martha Stewart would fire me and my pathetic excuse for hospitality. But I was too exhausted to fight.
I cried massive tears when they left. Great, wracking sobs of guilt brought me to my knees. John cradled me in his arms and mumbled soothing words.
It was all too much.
At the same time, I was relieved. It was over. They were going home, John and I were both on the mend and, we had two days left of vacation to heal and enjoy.
But once again… we were wrong.