"When my husband first began his two year drip confession I was in total shock.
A patient in medical shock can be oxygen deprived, fluid deprived and suffering from blood loss. Their heart may stop functioning correctly. Their brain may be deprived of the oxygen and blood flow it needs, and quit functioning correctly. They are confused or sometimes unconscious. Sometimes the glucose level of the blood drops and changes to the brain occur. The patient’s intestines and kidneys cease to function correctly. Shock patients are in critical condition. They need quick emergency intervention and intensive care.
I needed the same treatment as a shock victim. I was oxygen deprived as I could hardly catch my breath. I needed someone to help me calm and breathe.
My heart raced whenever the thought of my situation crossed my brain. I paced the house for hours with my heart pounding. I did not have a literal heart attack but my heart was broken in a way far deeper than the way that phrase is often tossed around.
My skin became pale. People asked me if I was sick, or what was wrong. My intestine and kidneys became unpredictable. I needed reminders to drink fluids and to eat. The first week after the first disclosure, I ate crackers and drank tea – like a post surgical patient.
My brain could not function – it could not absorbed what was happening, I couldn’t filter what was relevant and what was not, I could not process the situation and what it meant to my past and future. Simple tasks were over whelming while my brain raced to process all the changes it was being asked to accept. I did nonsensical chores for someone in the midst of a crisis like scrubbing the floor and cleaning out the attic. I became very forgetful. Things I normally had no problem remembering were too much effort on my already strained brain. My brain did not swell and stop providing signal to my organs to keep functioning. But my brain was processing that my life was not what it had belived for 35 years and was questioning who I really am. It was struggling to process and function. I didn’t become unconscious but I craved sleep as an escape. Having to get to work each day forced me out of bed. My brain cells may not have physically changed but the way my brain functioned did. My personality changed. I went from fun loving, organized, and productive to barely functioning and in a state of either crying or trying not to cry. I became reclusive and avoided family and friends – not knowing what to do with such a huge secret.
My body may not have been dying like a person in medical shock but my being was. I was entering recovery from an emergency that changed my life and who I am. I needed calming, and support. I needed the care given to a patient who is suffering a great trauma. I needed meals. I needed help remembering things. I needed security. I needed a way to escape the trauma long enough to get real sleep. I needed help identifying a person in my life I could share this with and depend on for help. I needed to talk and to say things over and over until they began to feel real. I needed security and safety. I needed intensive care – I was in shock. "