Monday, June 26, 2017

Ending on a Low Note

I want to write a nice long brag post about our lovely beach vacation and how relaxing it was (actually, I give it a 5 out of 10 for relaxation, but only because we had to share beds with children) and how beautiful it was (10 out of 10) and how nice it was to meet my little niece (she's also a 10). But right now I'm mostly thinking about how the trip ended. Which was NOT with a bang, but instead with a terrible sound that I will never be able to get out of my head--the sickening sound of an unconscious man falling flat on his face on the hotel floor.

On Saturday morning, we got up and left Holden Beach, NC for Atlanta. It was not exactly on the way home, but David had put in a lot of hours in a mini-van with my parents and seeing a game at the new Braves stadium was his only request, so I was willing to oblige. We checked into a hotel near the stadium, and David and I walked over to watch the game.

It was warm, but our seats were in the shade. After a few innings we decided to get up and walk around, and then we were ready to head out a bit early and meet my parents and the girls for dinner at a restaurant just outside the ballpark.

David and my dad had beer samplers with dinner. I had a sangria that I sort of shared with my mom and fish tacos. After dinner, we walked back to the hotel and got ready for bed early. I hadn't slept well the night before and was exhausted. As we got ready for bed, I realized I also wasn't feeling well. My stomach was killing me. And it straight up revolted right around 9pm, when I barfed up fish tacos, felt incredibly sorry for myself, then brushed my teeth and collapsed into bed.

Not the most fun way to end vacation, but I did feel better after puking and was just hoping that when I woke up I'd be back to normal. I figured that this would be the worst of it.

I had no idea.

I woke up at midnight, when I felt David getting up out of bed. Both girls had fallen asleep in the king sized bed in our room, so he lifted up Coco and put her down in the crib next to the bed. I heard him open the door to the bathroom, and I heard the bathroom door handle again. Then, I heard a sound I couldn't quite place. That sickening sound that made me wonder for a moment if David had walked smack into a wall or door. The room was really dark, so I called David's name, but I couldn't see him.

No response.

I flipped on the lamp and blinked in the light, trying to figure out what David was up to.

It took me a second to locate him, because he was LYING ON THE FLOOR in the hallway by the bedroom.

Just lying there. Motionless.

I leaped out of bed and knelt down to see that he was super pale but breathing. He was lying on his stomach, and I started rubbing his back and patting his cheek and saying his name over and over again in a voice of strangled hysteria. It was only a few seconds, but I was thisclose to dialing 911 when he started blinking and saying, "I'm ok, I'm ok."

On the outside, I was basically holding it together. I felt like I needed to take care of him, and that I didn't want to get completely hysterical in case the kids woke up.

On the inside, I was in a complete and raging panic. I'd already pictured the entire rest of my life as a widow. I had been sure that David was dead. It was all I could do to keep breathing and not pass out myself.

He sat up on the floor and I asked him questions (What were you doing? Did you pee? What happened? Where are we? Who is the president? What's today's date? When is my birthday? What are our children's names?). He was able to answer all my questions, and said he felt dizzy while peeing, headed back to bed to lie down, and just blacked out on the way back to bed from the bathroom.

I helped him get up and get over to the bed, where I took his temperature, felt for his pulse (I mean, he was talking to me, but STILL), and then once I was sure he was actually still alive, I started sobbing.

I thought we should probably wake up my parents and go to the ER, but he kept insisting he was ok. I texted my friend who is a nurse (a NICU nurse, but still...) and finally I agreed to let David go to sleep, but I woke him up an hour later to check on him. I didn't really think he had a concussion, though if he'd fallen just a few inches further to the left, he would have conked his head on the hotel safe. But I wasn't taking any chances.

David dozed off pretty quickly, but it took me hours to settle down enough so that I could go to sleep. My adrenaline rush was through the roof. I watched episodes of Rosemary and Thyme on PBS while clutching his wrist so I could feel his pulse under my thumb until 3:30am when I was finally exhausted enough to doze off for a couple of hours.

We drove all the way home from Atlanta on Sunday--my poor dad drove the whole way because David had a headache and my mom and I weren't technically supposed to drive the rental car. David still wasn't feeling great Sunday night (although, really, who does feel good after a 9-hour car ride and a terrible night of sleep?--not this girl!), but when he mentioned that his chest hurt, I told him we needed to go to Urgent Care. He didn't want to go and said he'd call his doctor the next morning.

I said, "So, if I passed out in the middle of the night, still had a headache all day the next day, and then had CHEST PAINS, you'd tell me it was fine for me to wait until the next day to go see my doctor?"

He said, "... Y-yes?..." and then protested that he was tired and he just wanted to lie on the couch and watch the cardinals game.

I stomped upstairs.

Fortunately, he came to his senses, came upstairs, and said we could go to Urgent Care if I really thought it was important to go tonight.

Ten minutes later, we were at Urgent Care (showing up 30 minutes before closing time--nice!), they called us back right away, and the doctor came in to examine him, then ordered a CT scan and an EKG as well as blood work and IV fluids. David's eyebrows went up when the doctor said that she wanted all those tests and he said, "Really?" and she said, "Yes. I want to be able to sleep tonight."

It was SUCH a huge relief for me to know they were running all of the tests. I just wanted answers beyond what I could google. And David was agreeable since they turned on the ballgame. (Don't tell him I posted this photo.)

Of course, it was even more of a relief when everything came back clear. They told us to follow up with primary care doctor, so we did that today. She ordered a couple more tests--a stress test and an ultrasound of his carotid arteries.

Both doctors seem to think that it was probably a vasovagal nerve thing. Evidently fainting after you pee in the middle of the night is a thing? David felt light headed after he lowered Coco into the crib and leaned his chest/stomach down on the side of the crib, which could have put pressure on this nerve as well. It could also have been some dehydration (definitely less water consumption when we're trying to drive long distances).

Basically, we're hoping it was just a one-off thing that will never happen again (I mean, really, I better not have to peel his unconscious ass off a hotel room floor again EVER), but we are doing all the tests to confirm that it wasn't caused by something else.

In the meantime, he's taking a few days off work to recover from the muscle soreness you get when you face plant unconscious onto a hotel room floor, and I'm trying to reel in all the worst case scenario flipping the eff out to remind myself that bloodwork and scans came back clear.

More on the beach--and a million other updates--to come!


  1. Glad he is ok and the tests so far have come back clear! I am glad I am not the only one who imagines the worst when something slightly scary/bad happens. Too bad my site has a vascular lab and doesn't do carotids or I could have done David's scan. I am sure the tech who gets to scan him will be happy, we don't get to scan healthy normal sized people very often!

    1. I wish you could do David's scans! He's set up to go to Barnes, though. And I'm definitely right there with you on imagining worst case scenarios first.

  2. How scary! I'm glad he is okay. I have done my fair share of fainting in the middle of the night, usually when I'm nauseous from illness or medication. I've gotten much better at recognizing the signs and sitting down before it happens. Here's hoping that you guys don't get any more practice at this!

    1. I'm trying to convince him to sit down to pee from now on. He's skeptical... :)

  3. Terrifying! Glad to read things have calmed down. In my opinion (yeah I said that) you are 100% right in going through with follow ups.

  4. I have so been there with the unconscious husband and the small children and the panic. I thought my man was going into anaphylactic shock bc of what was going on and his history, so I called an ambulance. He came to before they got there, was annoyed, let them check him over, but wouldn't go with them. It seemed to be a combination of dehydration and his (always) unusually low blood pressure. Turns out he breaks out in hives whenever he gets sick, not just in relation to his allergies. Didn't know that when I married him!

    Sorry you had to go through the terror... It's so real. And so glad David is ok and you're all home safe.

    1. I wondered if I should have called an ambulance, but I'm glad that my kids were able to sleep through it and didn't have to wake up to him being checked by EMTs. Still, better safe than sorry, I think! Anaphylactic shock is no joke.

  5. oh gosh that sounded really scary! Glad to read he's ok now!

  6. Glad David is OK and that you loved your time in MY state. Everyday I contemplated driving those 3.5 hours and scouring Holden Beach to meet you in person! One day maybe ;)

  7. How scary for him, but mostly for you to find him that way! Ugh. So glad everything is so far so good.

  8. Holy cow!! Not the way you want to end a vacation. :( (Or anything else.) I'm with you; the more tests the better -- happy to be able to confirm that nothing's wrong (or if there is -- best to be informed). Fingers crossed the additional tests confirm that it was just (just?) the vasovagal nerve (who knew, right??).

  9. How scary! My father had that happen some years back. It happened several times, and scared the crap out of my step mother. He was all good after. Sending positive thoughts your way. ~Missy

  10. I'm so sorry you both experienced that! My co-worker came upstairs from going to the bathroom a few months ago. Walked in, pale as I've ever seen a human, said, "You guys, I think I'm going to faint" and promptly made good on her promise. It was scary as hell! Doctor consensus: vasovagal nerve issue too. It happens. Wish it didn't.