BeforeIt started over 12 years ago when I first met my husband. We were introduced to each other by a mutual friend, who later confessed that she knew we were perfect for each other and knew we HAD to meet.
She was right! Among other things, I was looking for someone full of energy, funny, gentle, understanding, kind and loving. I never had so much fun until I spent time with my now husband. I knew before we went on our first date ‘he was the one’. A year and five months after we met, we were standing in his parents living room exchanging vows. I knew my life was going to change, but I didn’t know how.
Life then was so fun and easy. I loved spending time with him. He was so full of life and everything had a bright, funny side to it. I loved laughing. He was always so quick with his humor, loved learning and exploring new things. Life was good. Very good.
About four years after we met, his health started to change. At first, we thought they were panic attacks, but weren’t sure. Doctors didn’t seem to care.
At first, they weren’t often, but over the next few years the ‘episodes’ became more frequent and eventually, he wasn’t able to work in a classroom anymore. He was a teacher. A damn good one too. You know the kind you never forget because their whole soul is in it? That’s the kind he was.
Gradually, as the years went by his episodes got worse, so that they weren’t every now and then, they became weekly, then multiple times a week, then daily, several times a day and now constant.
We’ve been to doctor after doctor and each time we had been written off. Often, we’d hear ‘He needs to see a psychologist’! Then we’d go to a psychologist and get told ‘There’s an organic component here, you need to see a doctor’! The circle seemed endless.
Once when he was so bad he was rushed to E.R., the on-duty doctor yelled at him: “I KNOW YOU DO DRUGS AND UNTIL YOU ADMIT IT, WE CAN’T HELP YOU!” He’s never, ever done any illegal drug. Then there was the other doctor who would refuse to show up to his appointments on time, even when we would get the very first appointment of the day. He knew my husband had bad attacks / episodes and would make him sit and wait 45 minutes, until finally, my husband was so bad he couldn’t wait anymore. This happened so many times that the doctor dropped my husband as a patient. Why? His reason was because my husband didn’t show up for his appointments! My husband showed, it was the damn doctor who repeatedly didn’t! Oh the stories I could tell about how awful most doctors are.
Last January, when my husband hit bottom, he was feeling terrible and having episode after episode. I took him to Urgent Care, not too far from our home. We’d seen the doctors there before and the one that happened to be on duty was especially unfriendly and cold. She was clearly upset that he came in on her shift and was especially snobby. She finally told him he needed to go get a presc
We started him on it immediately. When one looks up Klonopin on the internet, they give a specific example of how you should and shouldn’t start Klonopin because it’s a serious drug. It specifically says one should not start out with high doses, such as 3mg / day. It really does.
He was so bad with it that he literally couldn’t walk, talk, eat, drink or pee my himself. His speech was slurred and all he did was sleep, literally all day. He got himself together enough to call a nurse hotline. When he told her how much he’d been prescribed, she said he needed to go back to the doctor who prescribed it and tell her it’s too much and why.
You can only imagine how unhappy that doctor was when seeing my husband… yet again! I had to get a wheel chair and push him in because the Klonopin made it so he couldn't walk. Using very condescending tones, the doctor immediately went into how they can’t see him for his episodes and he needed to see his G.P.
He tried to explain what was going on with the Klonopin that she prescribed but she wouldn’t let him speak. Finally, in a huff, she snottily looked at him and said: ‘Until you calm down, I won’t speak with you!’ (she was the one yelling). I looked at her and in a very matter-of-fact voice said: ‘YOU prescribed him too much meds and he’s having a reaction to it! We called a nurse hotline and when we told her what YOU prescribed, she told us to get over her A.S.A.P. to get YOU to help us because YOU are the one responsible for this.’ She hastily went out of the room and slammed the door behind her, obviously angry.
After composing herself, she came back a few minutes later. I think she realized she could have a potential law-suit on her hands and she’d better start taking is seriously. We got him on a lower dose where he could start to function, but it changed him. He was no longer fun-loving and funny, at least not nearly like he used to be. He lost some of his mental ability to even do a simple thing like carry a conversation.
Friends who used to ignore me in conversations, now ignored him and talked to me because he couldn’t hold a conversation like he once did. It broke my heart to see this extremely intelligent person be reduced to this.
I went on a hunt to find a ‘good’ doctor and was successful! For the first time EVER, she listened to our story about his health. We went to specialist after specialist and slowly, we began to find some puzzle pieces.
One big find was this year, when we found my husbands heart would randomly start beating at 180 beats a minute! A normal adult heart beats between 60-100 beats per minute. We went in and got his heart ablated - they seared where it was misfiring! Since then we’ve been trying to get him off Klonopin.
It’s been a long, hard, tiring process. His heart is doing better, but he’s still having episodes and we don’t know why or what to do about it. All the specialists we’ve been to shake their heads and say they ‘don’t get it’.
Sometimes, I think I can’t do this, it’s too much to take care of my husband full-time and our two young children (7 & 5 ). Sometimes I dream of what it would be like to not have him be so dependent on me. We’re only in our early 40‘s, so how am I going to do this for another, say 30 years? Sometimes I imagine what it would be like to go on a hike when I want to or take the kids for a picnic or volunteer for the school. But I can’t do any of those things because I never know when he’s going to need me and he needs me more often than not. I cannot begin to tell you how many times he’s called my cell begging me to come home because he’s too scared to be alone. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve cried, all for selfish reasons too.
Some maybe not so selfish when I think of how our children may never know the happy-go-lucky man I met. How patient he once was. How fun he was to be around. He may never make them laugh the way he made me laugh once. They may never know the way he was… Before.