He said he would never do it again! Be admitted to the hospital for the DHE protocol, a series of IV medications closely monitored to break a migraine. I have asked when he was really in pain if he wanted to go to the hospital. Always the same answer, “No, I NEVER want to do that again!” It is miserable for him. IV drips that have to be changed every hour. The IV monitor beeps at the end of every drip. You’re in the hospital for a severe migraine and you have a high pitched beep in your ear. A beep that is ear piercing and gets louder every minute that someone does not come to turn it off. You need earplugs to make it tolerable. No sleep and people in and out all night. And the cost, oh the cost! It takes us a year to pay off his hospital stay each time he goes in.
Well, never say never! His week was bad! He could not concentrate on anything and could tolerate very little sound. In tears he said “I think it’s time I go back to the hospital.” His thinking had changed. He knew there was nothing that was going to change his pain any time soon. He decided that if the DHE protocol broke his headache and it returned at a lower level then it was successful. I have felt this way all along but it is not up to me. I am a spouse to the pained but really I’m just a bystander. He must make the choice; he is not a child. It is hard to watch him in agony knowing that if he would do the protocol it would provide some relief.
The doctor’s office was called and it was set up. He would go in the next morning to the office to then be admitted. He was examined and sent home to wait for a room to open. Midday a room was available, sort of. We went, checked in and waited. Why are people so loud in waiting rooms? People speak at the level you would talk to someone who is across the street from you. Construction is going on just outside the waiting room. I see him wince at every sound. Aren’t hospitals supposed to be quiet? People are there to heal and try to rest, right? That’s tough in a super NOISY environment! These signs are posted everywhere; guess it doesn’t apply to some people.
Finally, we are taken to the room. After another couple of hours, they start the medication. Vitals are taken, DHE is started, followed by a few other medications. The headache slightly dips. He wants me there but it is meet the teacher night. I feel torn but must go. It is one of the fastest meet the teacher nights I have ever been to. We run in find my son’s homeroom…meet the teacher… ask a few quick questions and move to his next class. Repeat in the next two classes and we are gone! No stopping to get school t-shirts or talk to any of the other educators I know (I used to be the PTA president so I know a lot of them). We are gone, back up to the hospital.
All the children want to see dad. They want to but they will be bored sitting there. They want him to get better! They want to see if he is better yet! We all pile in the room. Nowhere for us all to sit. I have one in my lap, one stands up and one is on the floor. They take turns sitting with me, except the teenager of course……he’s too big to sit in my lap. I take them for a quick run to the vending machine then back to dad’s room.
I need a clone! Conflicted as to where I need to be most. Alas, it is time to get them home and ready for bed BUT I WANT TO STAY…I leave, hoping he will get some rest. His current round of medication is on for 2 hours. He will be awoken at midnight to start over. He hardly sleeps! Keeping a log of his pain, it starts to really drop around 3 am. By 7 am the headache is GONE!!! YEAH!!!!! Headache free!!!!! The doctor arrives early and says he can go home. By 8:30 am I am pulling up to pick him up and we are heading home. It has been 2 years (his last DHE) since he had any time with no pain. We know it will return. 4-5 hours later it returned at a 3 to 4 range. We call this a success! Life will be a little more tolerable now for him. More tolerable for him means we all breathe a little easier, even if it’s just for a little while. We’ll take all the breaks we can get!