A Step Towards Healing

The last year has been really hard on Hubs. I have seen him slowly spiral downhill into a place I can’t always reach him. I have watched him change from the man I married into someone else. Someone who was a shadow of the person he used to be.

Over the last year, Hubs has seen no shortage of health care professionals. While we were still in NB, and he was still in the military, he was seeing a Nurse Practitioner. He had been seeing the same NP for years. She was also noticing the change in him. She acknowledged she thought he may be depressed about a year before he was released (which was about the time the release process started) She did not send him to see anyone at this time. It wasn’t until about 2 months before his release that she decided to send him to anyone. Well. He needed to see a psychologist or a psychiatrist. But those have waiting times. So she sent him to a counselor. The counselor acknowledged he had depression and anxiety ‘tendencies’ and gave him breathing techniques. They didn’t help him.

Through all this, I knew that something was off. He needed more help. But the military isn’t really open to spouses advocating for the health care of their serving members. I tried. But there wasn’t anyone listening to me. I was just the spouse.

Around the time he was being released we started meeting with Veterans Affairs Canada. VAC disappointed me over and over and over when it came to Hubs. Hubs should have all his medications and treatments covered in relation to his ankle injuries. His right ankle was injured as a direct result of the military and we have documented proof of his left ankle being injured due to his right ankle. We have documented proof that he grinds his teeth due to the pain and the stress surrounding everything. We had 2 medical professionals stating that Hubs was, on some level, depressed and needed help. VAC acknowledged that his right ankle was the military’s fault and is covering all his treatments. They acknowledge that his left ankle injury was caused from compensating for his right ankle, but they are refusing to cover treatment for it. We can’t find anyone willing to treat the right ankle and not the left ankle. As soon as the right ankle is treated, the fear is the left will get worse if it’s not receiving some care too.  And if the left gets worse, the right will to, because Hubs will likely compensate for the added pain in his left ankle by over using the right ankle. But I am kind of digressing here.

Every time VAC denies something, I can see  Hubs getting more and more discouraged that he isn’t being listened to. (this problem isn’t unique to us, a lot of people have this issue with VAC) No one was helping him with those emotions. Finally we were assigned a VAC caseworker here in Winnipeg. Finally we had someone we could sit down with and talk to. Someone who’s job was to oversee Hubs file. He can’t make the decisions on our claims, but we had someone who was going to advocate for us. Someone who wanted to see Hubs get the help he needed. Someone who was going to educate us on what our entitlements are. Someone who would tell us how to appeal the decisions we felt were unfair. Someone who could HEAR us.

We met with the caseworker for the first time in late August. He came to our home and observed. Finally I had someone ask me about Hubs mental health and how I felt he was coping. What I felt he might need. Imagine that. Someone asking me, his wife, his spouse, his support, the only one who sees him on a day to day basis. I felt heard. I told our caseworker about our day to day lives. I told him about how some days Hubs isn’t here. He’s here in body. But that’s about it. I told him that I KNOW my husband needs to talk to someone. I can see him going downhill. He told me about a clinic that sees veterans that Hubs qualified for that would enable him to see a psychiatrist for an evaluation and see someone on a regular basis if he needed it. And it wouldn’t cost us anything. I could have hugged him.

That was August. Hubs FINALLY had his evaluation yesterday. He was diagnosed with depression and chronic pain. The psychiatrist is sending in a referral to a psychologist, a referral to a pain management clinic and a referral to our family Dr to have Hubs put on anti depressants. Finally. I feel like a weight has been lifted off me. I feel like we are finally, finally moving in a direction towards something positive for him. I feel like maybe, just maybe, he’ll be able to struggle a little less and feel a little more like himself. I hope he can finally feel like he is being listened to and heard. That someone out there is taking him seriously and wants to see him heal. I want so desperately to have my husband back. I want so much for him to find a way to cope and not stress and obsess so much about everything going on. I know it might take awhile but I am still holding that hope that there is a better tomorrow out there for us.

Love, hugs and more to come later
Lynn

What I wish someone had told us….

First off, I want you to know this is about Hubs vasectomy yesterday. Things I wish SOMEONE would have said. Things I think should have at least been included in the post op papers he brought home. Things that would have saved me from calling 911. Nothing too graphic, but maybe more information that some people might want.

So, as we know, Hubs went for his vasectomy yesterday afternoon. As far as I know, it was mostly uneventful. Some freezing, some snipping, some stitching and he was ready to come home. He got home at about 3:40 pm. This is where things start getting interesting.

Before he got home, I was the good wife. I made him juice, made up the couch for him, made sure the ice packs were frozen and started supper. When he got home I went through his post op bag, got him his pain killers and helped him get comfy. Well, wouldn’t you know it, he needed to pee.

On his way to the washroom he asked me if I could run upstairs and grab him some pj pants, no problem. He goes into the washroom and I go upstairs. As I am coming down the stairs (I might have been at the bottom of the stairs, I don’t remember) I hear three loud bangs coming from the direction of the bathroom. As you can imagine, I panicked. I ran to the bathroom and opened the door to my husband passed out on the bathroom floor shaking. Before my brain could process what I was seeing he came too and asked me where he was… Um What?… If I thought I was panicked before this kicked it up a couple notches. After talking to him for a couple seconds, he knew where he was, although he wasn’t sure what had happened.

Our bathroom is really tiny. From the way he was lying on the floor, I assumed he likely hit his head on the sink on his way down (although he was lucky and his head landed on the new bag of toilet paper I hadn’t put away yet) While talking to him trying to determine if he needed an ambulance or not, he started complaining about his back hurting and his arms being tingly. Well that sealed it for me. I went and took my phone from Alex who was playing games on it and called 911.

At some point through all this I put Zoey in her highchair to get her out of the way and Alex at the table to play a game… I’m not sure when I did this, but Mommy instincts were there and I didn’t want them getting in the way. Nick was still napping at this point. I had been planning on waking him up after I got Hubs settled.

So about 5 minutes after I call 911 (it seemed faster, and slower at the same time, but my call log says it was about 5 minutes) 6 huge guys come barreling into my house to see Hubs. The kids were pretty indifferent to the whole thing, although Alex thought it was neat there was a firetruck and ambulance right outside the house!

Thankfully, Hubs was fine. They didn’t make him go into the hospital. Just talked to him for awhile, helped him up and onto the couch and gave us some information that I think should have been included somewhere by his Dr.

So what happened? It turns out, that after a vasectomy, it’s going to hurt a bit when you pee. Something with the tubes, and how it all works. You are supposed to sit while you are peeing. Not stand. Well, Hubs wasn’t told this. He didn’t think anything of it. When he had to go he went the way he normally would. When he started, it hurt so he tried to stop it. Which put more pressure on everything. Which caused him to get dizzy and faint.

For all the people I talked to about a vasectomy, NO ONE mentioned this. Not one single person. After it happened, I talked to a couple people… thinking this is weird, how come this happened to him and no one else? Turns out, a few of the same people I had talked to before, their husbands had complained about being light headed and dizzy when peeing for the first couple days afterwards and had made the decision on their own to sit when using the washroom.

WHY DIDN’T ANYONE SHARE THIS INFORMATION?!?!?

I am glad that Hubs is okay. Everything is fine. And my anxiety and stress levels have gone down. I don’t know if this information is going to help anyone but I feel like it needs to be out there.

*** Update: I called the Urologist who did the procedure on hubs, and I was told that this is a common complaint and they are in the process of updating the post op papers that are sent home with patients. I’m not even sure what to make of that right now. ***

Love, hugs and more to come later!
Lynn