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Irons in the Fire

December 26th, 2011

“I’m sorry I ruined your Christmas,” he said to me.

It was nearly midnight on Christmas Eve, and he had caught me just as I was preparing to go to bed. He was sprawled out on the couch, as usual, since he can’t sit up or move around for very long.

The statement shocked me. “You didn’t ruin Christmas. I don’t care about that. Don’t worry about it.”

“I heard you sniffling a lot today, and I was just wondering if you’re…”
When he didn’t finish the sentence I did it for him. “Depressed? Of course I’m a little depressed. But we’ll get through all right.”

He didn’t look convinced by my assurances, but to tell the truth I didn’t really want to talk about it. So I kissed him and went to bed, leaving him on the couch to finish his old movie.

Try dropping off to sleep after that, though. I tossed and turned for a few minutes before getting up and going back into the family room. He didn’t look surprised to see me.

“I’ll tell you the truth,” I said. “I don’t like it when you keep things from me so I won’t keep anything from you. I didn’t want to have this conversation because I’m on the verge of tears all the time and it embarrasses me to cry in front of you. It makes it seem that I’m much unhappier than I am and I don’t want to upset you. It’s just the stress of this whole situation gets me down sometimes. I miss you and get lonely. I don’t know what to do for you any more.”

He seemed relieved. He probably imagined that I was full of resentment. How must it be to feel bad for months on end and know you’re affecting your family?

“This has been going on too long, but I don’t expect it will go on much longer,” he told me. “I’ll make a decision on Tuesday and we’ll get this resolved one way or another.”

We had a preliminary visit with a surgeon last Thursday. He explained what surgery would entail for Don, and I was sorry to hear that it likely would not be a quick laparoscopic snip.

“I would start out with a laparoscopy,” the surgeon told us, “but you have a lot of scar tissue from the previous operation, and I expect I would have to do standard abdominal surgery to get out the diseased intestine and rejoin the sections. We’re looking at six weeks recovery time.” (He said it as if that’s an eternity. Don and I shot each other an ironic glance. Six measly weeks.)

I got the impression that he wasn’t eager to cut until Don has tried the alternatives. “We’ve had a lot of success with the immunosuppressants,” he said.

Aside from a course of immunosuppressants, Don has two irons left in the fire. On Tuesday morning, we have an appointment with an acupuncturist to see if she can help with the pain. I had a very good experience with acupuncture a few years ago, so I have hopes. However, I really expected Chinese traditional medicine to help him, but no such luck on that front.

The second iron is that on Tuesday afternoon Don will do a telephone consult with a doctor in Oklahoma who helped him so much the last time he had a flare-up that not only was an operation cancelled but the Crohn’s disappeared for nearly thirty years. We’ll see if he has any advice.

I have no idea what will happen, but I can tell that Don’s had just about all the fooling around he can take.

p.s. Christmas day turned out to be nice. He felt a little better, we drove around and got a little air, ate a bit of Christmas dinner, and had a lovely visit from our friend Nan.

4 Responses to “Irons in the Fire”

  1. Dani Greer

    Donis, I’m so sorry to hear about all these challenges. I headed straight over to Dr. Weil for some comments: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/QAA400137 Maybe something useful there – I can personally attest to the slippery elm benefits. Good luck and may you both find relief in the new year!

  2. Donis Casey

    Dani, thank you so much. Don has a lot of respect for Weil. I printed off the article for him.

  3. Betty Webb

    Donis & Don… Hope things get better soon. Hang in there and stay strong!

  4. Donis Casey

    WE should get together and commiserate sometime, Betty.

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