This past few months have been like nothing I have ever experienced before in my life. I have hit the lowest lows and some of the highest highs as we have dealt with a devastating diagnosis with Dave. At the start of our journey, I started journaling my thoughts, but it just became to hard to put them on paper. I am going to post the first things I wrote and then try to fill in the rest, as I think it is so important that I get these down and recorded. We have been schooled and tested and grown in ways that I felt impossible. And the journey is far from over.
It is What it is!!
I have read so many fiction and nonfiction books that start out explaining an ordinary day in very vivid detail. Most of these start out with those exact words— “It was just an ordinary day” and you know right then that something big is just about to happen. It never fails. Well for us it was just like that. For Valentine’s day, I surprised Dave with plane tickets to go and visit Jace and Krystal and little Emmie in Moscow Idaho, where they were living while Jace finished his last year of vet school . We flew up on Thursday and were going to spend Friday taking a nice little trip in to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. On Saturday, we had plans to go and watch Krystal barrel race. Sunday we were going to bless Emmie and planned on flying home on Monday. I was so thrilled for this trip because Dave had not yet seen Em in person. Jordan and I flew up when she was born in January but this would be Dave’s first in person meeting and I was so excited to see him in action as a grandpa.
We flew in Thursday and spent the day just oohing and aahing over Em and just enjoying being together. Friday morning we got up and Krystal had a wonderful breakfast for us and we all started getting ready for our trip in to Coeur d’Alene. We were going to do a little site seeing and then have a nice dinner to celebrate Dave’s birthday.
Friday morning at breakfast, I started noticing that Dave was giving me some really strange looks as if he was mad or something. I didn’t think much of it, but also noticed he became very quiet. Shortly after, he followed me downstairs and told me that he could not remember the names of the people upstairs—Jace, Krystal and Em. I did a quick assessment of him, asking him things like where we were, what year it was and who the president was. He was able to answer some, but names just would not come to him.
Thinking he was having a stroke, I told him we were going right to the ER. I expected some resistance, but he just said “I think that is a good idea”. I really thought that he was having a stroke or at least a TIA and knew that time to treatment was crucial. We went to the little hospital in Moscow. I wish I could remember the ER doctor but he was very good and had Dave down for a MRI within about 15 minutes.
I was sitting in the room alone, when the doctor came back in and told me that it was not a stroke, but a brain tumor. I almost expected him to say “Just kidding” as it came as such a shock. I remember thinking maybe that is better than a stroke, remembering Leonard’s experiences with strokes. How wrong I was.
They medicated him with some Dexamethasone and anti-seizure meds and slowly his memory came back. There was then talk of where to send him. They wanted to life flight him to the university of Utah, but after checking with insurance and hospital policies, they would not cover that since there were other hospitals much closer that would be able to treat him. They told us that if we were to pay out of pocket to get him to Salt Lake, it would be around $100,000 and not any of it would be covered. I talked to the doctor explaining that I had medical experience and could we fly him commercial. The next flight available was the next day and they did not want to wait that long, so they encouraged us to go to Spokane. I really wanted him at the U, so we finally convinced them to let us drive him there.
Jace and Krystal, Em and, I drove to their house and quickly loaded up all of our stuff along with 3 horses and 2 dogs. We got everything loaded in less than 30 minutes. We drove back picked up Dave along with any meds we may need on the trip back, and off we went. I can’t remember much of that trip other than a peace that came over me that everything was going to be okay.
It took us about 11 hours driving with only one stop to let the horses out and we pulled into Kaysville around 3am. I grabbed a few things and loaded Dave in the car and we headed to the University of Utah, where they were standing by for our arrival. Not much was done that night except to evaluate and stabilize him.
The next morning, we were told that since it was Sunday, they really did not want to do surgery to remove the tumor , but wanted to do it when they had the whole OR crew on. They finally sent us home for 2 days since he was stable. We were given instructions to return on Tuesday morning for the surgery. We saw so many different people those first few days, and were told so many very frightening things. It kind of seemed like a very bad nightmare. If only we had known that the nightmare was yet to come. It is kind of like the horror movie when the killer is dead and then the person turns his back and is grabbed by the leg by the still alive and very scary villain. We had tuned our backs!!!!
MEETING GRANDPA FOR THE FIRST TIME!!!!!
IN THE ER IN MOSCOW!