Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Drama on the Bathroom Floor

You know that scene in that movie where a spouse collapses in their partner's arms-- maybe it's a from a heart attack, or a stroke, or a stray bullet-- and the spouse cradles them in their arms and cries "Noooooooooo!  Stay with me, Flavio!!!!"  ?

That was me.

On the one full day between our wedding weekend and our honeymoon-- a valley between two major peak events in my life-- I lay on the bathroom floor, cradling my new bride's limp body in my arms and freaking the fuck out.  "Oh God, Oh God, Katherine!  Wake up!"  I yelled as she spewed vomit all over herself, her eyes rolling back in her head.  In that instant the entirety of the rest of my life flashed before me, and I saw myself as the tragic widower whose wife dies two days after the wedding, the day before the honeymoon.

For that brief terrifying moment, I was in a Lifetime Movie of the Week.

Miraculously (or not, as I would find out later), she woke up. She had no idea where she was, and said, "Tim?"  She didn't know why she was sitting on the bathroom floor and covered in goo.


Let's back up.  On the day before our honeymoon, when we had a bajillion things to do, we were just finishing up laundry when Katherine started to get an upset stomach.  She had to lie down.  Half an hour later I found her hunched over the bathroom sink, throwing up.  She had not thrown up since she was 15 years old, about 19 years ago, so it was pretty traumatic for her.

She went into the kitchen to recover and I cleaned up the mess.  Half an hour later she was feeling bad again, and went back into the bathroom.  I was all prepared to hold her hair as she "called Earl on the big white telephone", but before it happened, she told me she felt numb.  Then she went limp in my arms and fell to the floor.  I was there to catch her, but when she started vomiting while unconscious, I thought she was having a seizure or something.  I'd heard of people dying when they choked on their own vomit, so I tried to turn her on her side.    

When she regained consciousness I called an ambulance, and then called her parents and talked to her brother (who was still in town for the wedding), who is a doctor, and he asked me a bunch of diagnostic questions.  He did not think it was anything serious like a stroke or seizure.  The paramedics came, and when we told them that we were leaving for Iceland the next morning, they recommended we go to the hospital.  So we did.

After five hours of tests, IVs, observation, and anti-nausea medication, we were given the green light to return home and leave on our trip the next morning.  They hadn't found anything significantly wrong with her.  She just threw up and passed out.  It happens.

We came home at 9pm.  The laundry still needed to be put away, the bed needed to be made, and we had not yet started packing for an 8-day trip.  And we had to get up at 5:30 the next morning.  (When I was in the hospital I tried to postpone our flight for a day, but that would have cost more than the original tickets.)  Exhausted from the day's events, Katherine lay on the bed and directed me around the room to pack her stuff.

But we got everything together, left on our trip, and had a great time.  (More on that later.)  Katherine took anti-nausea medication for the first few days we were there, but otherwise she was fine.  She did, however, have to eat things that were light on her stomach the first day.

Her meal on the plane


Back to that movie scene.  As I was freaking out, cradling my wife's limp body on the bathroom floor, I wondered if this was one of those fork-in-the-road moments, when your life splits off into two very different destinies.  In one direction was the horrible horrible fate of losing the love of my life after two days of wedded bliss.  Of trying to put things back together right after I'd just started a new life. 

In the other direction was a short 5-hour detour to the emergency room.  What if, in that moment of decision, my life was paused and I was offered a choice?  Or I had to make some sort of cosmic deal?  And because of that deal or choice, I was sent back into the world with a different or alternative ending?  Katherine woke up, and I got to resume the trajectory my life had been on.

This is all very supernatural or science-fictiony, and I don't know how much I believe in it, but if you subscribe to the infinite universes theory, then somewhere there is a parallel universe where I did witness my bride's death on that bathroom floor.

In truth, she was never close to dying.  She just passed out from throwing up.  It's actually pretty common, according to the doctors.  It was just my panic and anxiety in the moment that made it feel like a much more dramatic scene that it was.  

And yay for that. 


asplenia said...

That sounds absolutely terrifying. I once rubbed my sweetie's back while he retched from a rare mussel poisoning and that was scary enough because I'd never seen him so sick. If he'd been passed out, I think I would have turned white and never recovered. I'm so glad you got to take your trip - I can't imagine how exhausted you must have been from packing so late. Did this experience make you think trip insurance would have been worth it? Really glad everything's okay. My heart was beating fast just reading it.

Tim said...

Yeah, it was pretty remarkable when we were walking around Reykjavik the next day and I said to her, "Yesterday I thought you were dying, and now here we are in Iceland!"

In truth, it didn't seem like the experience affected our vacation much at all. Aside from the queasy stomach the first day or so, we were able to enjoy the whole thing.

Thanks for your comment!

Momma Sunshine said...

Wow...so...yeah. Very similar to what happened to CBG and I just a few days ago. It's so weird that it's so dramatic in the moment that it's happening (particularly when you really don't know what's going on), only then to find out that it really wasn't anything that bad after all. Very surreal.

And I totally agree with what you said about the "fork in the road" thought. I had very similar thoughts myself on Monday night.

Glad for both of us that it all worked out in the end.