It was Super Bowl weekend and I was in the beginning of some of the most painful days, weeks, months, years of my life. It was about a week and a half after my husband of many years had informed me he was leaving. He had said, simply, “I have to go.” He denied that there was anyone else, stating merely that he was not happy and was never going to be happy.
And, like Forrest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that.
He had decided to leave, but I had begged him to stay, regardless of his decision. I guess I was buying time. I was still in Stage One of trying to get him to change his mind, not accepting that the marriage was in Stage Four: non-operable, treatment resistant and terminal.
A few days before Super Bowl Sunday my husband went on a pre-planned, pre-paid SCUBA trip which had been booked about six weeks before he broke up with me — really that’s what it felt like — but I digress . . . The trip itself was not completely out of character because he belongs to a club and went on trips a couple of times a year. What was odd was that he had scheduled the trip during Super Bowl weekend. What was completely crazy was that he was still going on vacation after telling me he was leaving me and while I was a sobbing heap on the floor.
What’s worse, my kids, who are unusually healthy, freakishly healthy — I mean I have five kids and I only remember dealing with two ear infections — ever — had come down with the flu, high fevers and all.
All five children had the flu. All five. Flu. They were too sick to even take to the store. I had to get my Dad to come over while I went grocery shopping.
I was housebound with five sick children. My husband had gone to the Bahamas.
Huh. Signs of things to come.
Although I was crying all the time (I told the kids I was sick, too) having him out of the house for a few days gave me random moments of clarity which tapped into my common sense.
Long story short: It was during Super Bowl weekend that I uncovered uncontroverted evidentiary support leading me to the conclusion that my husband was not in fact on a trip with his SCUBA Club. To the contrary, he was on a romantic island vacation with another woman.
Like how I lawyered that up? It’s a defense mechanism of mine to deal with painful topics. But in straight talk, I found out that my husband, who had simply announced after double digits of marriage, “I have to go” was on a beach getaway with another woman, a jaunt he had booked a month before he informed me he was leaving me. He was frolicking in the sand and surf with someone new, while I was heartbroken and housebound with five children suffering from the flu. (Rhyme unintended but I kinda like it so I’m keeping it.)
Stupid Super Bowl weekend. That was a long weekend. A long game. And the daggone Super Bowl happens every year and I get a little reminder of some of my worst days.
Just Me With . . . ghosts from Super Bowl’s past.
This happened some time ago. It’s all back story, the abridged version. I have a memory too good for my own good, see The Twilight Zone — Again? Seriously?, when I reflected on the date my divorce became final and damn near wrecked the car. When I’ve gone through something difficult, especially something which coincides with a holiday or special event, it is hard to ignore, try as I might. See A Sad and Disturbing True Halloween Story.
I’m better now. I’m not crying about it, at least not about him leaving me. It took years and thousands of dollars, but my divorce is final and he has remarried. He did not marry the Bahamas woman, in case you were wondering, that relationship didn’t work out — and that’s all I have to say about that.
The pain has decreased over time, but that does not negate the fact that it was a super-duper crappy Super Bowl weekend back then, by anyone’s standards, and I still remember it — like women remember (but don’t feel) labor, like people acknowledge (but don’t celebrate) the anniversary of a death. It’s just there. And it’s okay to acknowledge it — so that I’m not so hard on myself for being where I am now, and also so that I can celebrate how far I have come. Plus, one day I might even write a book.
I know I’m better off without him. But it’s like having a huge life sucking tumor removed — in the end it’s all for the best, but would it have killed somebody to give me a little anesthesia? That mess hurt.
I’m just sayin’ . . .
A couple of weeks after that Super Bowl, one of the kids announced, My Daddy Moved Out.
I hadn’t been well. I hadn’t been taking care of me. I admit. I was depressed. I was underweight. I hadn’t been sleeping, I hadn’t been eating. This was mid-separation but before divorce proceedings had begun. It was also before we had a visitation order and my then husband did not take the kids out much, instead he would visit our marital home. I don’t remember why the kids weren’t there. It may well have been the first time he did take them. I honestly have no recollection of why the kids were not home — that never happened — so I had a visitor. Our relationship is not relevant to this story, but he is a good guy and he spent the night. It may have been the first time I’d had a visitor since my separation. It had been a while.
We didn’t get much sleep.
I was in actual pain the next day. Afraid I had contracted a horrible disease I called my best friend, who happens to be a gynecologist. She said it was probably just irritation. Did I mention it had been a while?
It got worse. I started spotting. Damn, this can’t be good, I thought. When I described the latest symptoms to my doctor friend, she said, I needed to be seen immediately. (She’s never been my personal gynecologist, that would just be too weird).
By this time, I had frequent and painful urination, along with the bleeding. I was so uncomfortable. When I finally got to my gynecologist, I was given a diagnosis of urinary tract infection and a prescription for antibiotics. I’m a little prone to urinary tract and bladder infections. I had them while pregnant and had them as a child. I knew the drill. Since I now had my antibiotics, I’d assumed I’d get better.
I started to have flu symptoms . . . fever, chills. After a couple of days, I’d become a little disoriented, had trouble driving , and was sensitive to light. I felt like crap.
But mothers can’t get sick so I tried to play it off. Plus I was taking antibiotics, I just needed, I thought, for them to kick in.
I got progressively worse. I got more feverish and my head felt like it was splitting. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t drink. I hurt all over. I’ve taken care of the kids before with the flu, but this was debilitating.
Finally I called my mother to help me with the children because I had trouble getting out of bed. She took care of them during the day and I stayed in my room — feverish. She checked on me a bit but her attentions were with the kids. Confined to my room, I got progressively worse.
During this time in the separation process, on some days the ex would drop by to see the kids in the late afternoon. He did so, relieving my mom for a couple of hours, but I don’t think I got out of bed. He left by nighttime.
But it was Just Me With . . . my five kids. I was the only adult in the house. And I was very, very sick.
Taking Tylenol and forcing fluids did not bring down my fever and the antibiotics seemed to do nothing. I still had painful frequent urination and was barely making it to the bathroom. Laying down caused excruciating pain in my head. Sitting up was still painful but not quite as bad. So I sat, without television, reading material, or music. I just sat on my bed in a darkened room, shivering.
My first set of twins told me they had checked on me that night. They said when they peeked in my room I was sitting up with my eyes open and my arms flat and motionless at my sides, palms up. My eyes must have rolled back into my head because my children told me that though my eyes were open, they only saw the whites of my eyes, and I was not responsive. They said I had no color in my face, that I looked completely white.
“We thought you were dead, mommy.” They said.
Ugh. My poor babies. They thought they were in the house with their dead mother.
“So what did you do?‘ I asked later.
“We ran back into our room and got under our beds.”
My poor babies. I think they were maybe eight years old at the time.
Later, “Baby B” twin convinced “Baby A” twin to go back and check on me again. (“Baby B” twin is always convincing the other kids to do things . . . there was an incident with an open window . . . but I digress . . .) When “Baby A” twin looked in on me, I was on my bed, but I had slumped over, with my arms still at my sides, and eyes still open.
So I hadn’t laid down —- I had tipped over. Yeah, I must have looked dead. My poor babies.
Frightened even more, the girls reportedly stayed up all night until they saw me get up to go to the bathroom early in the morning. I do remember going to the bathroom. I remember seeing them down the hall and not being able to speak.
When my mother came again later that day I told her I had to go to the doctor. But my mother doesn’t drive. My dad had dropped her off and left. He didn’t answer his phone. So . . . I drove myself. Obviously, I wasn’t thinking clearly. I could have, should have, called a neighbor or friend, but I wasn’t thinking straight. My mother didn’t know how sick I was, since she had spent most of her time with the kids. I think she was just relieved that I agreed to go back to the doctor. Luckily, he doctor’s office was less than two miles away, though I distinctly remember considering pulling over to rest.
When I finally arrived, my doctor took one look at me and said,
“I think you need to be in the hospital. How did you get here?”
He was horrified that I had driven myself . They sat me in a wheelchair while the nurse got a hold of my dad who drove me to the hospital. I stayed for four days. I had a kidney infection. I had never been that ill in my life.
If I hadn’t gotten to the doctor, I very well could have died right there in my house, alone with my kids down the hall.
My poor kids, traumatized by spending a whole night thinking their mom had died in her bed. To this day, years later, they check on me at night. If I am sick they check on me often.
“Mommy, are you okay?”
I eventually recovered, though I was weak for quite some time. My body was run down by my depression, the physical problems that resulted from it and my complete lack of self-care. I was a mess.
In a way, it was a learning experience. I had to have the discussion with my children about where to go and what to do and who to call should they be worried that something has happened to me. They should never have to suffer through the night thinking their mom is dead. It still makes me shudder, my poor babies. The whole experience forced me to realize that I would indeed be the only adult in the house for an indefinite period of time and that the kids need to know what to do should something happen to me.
I’m all they have. It’s a little scary.
Plus, I felt guilty. My serious illness and the traumatic experience to my children were triggered by my having a “visitor” whose liveliness caused a urinary tract infection, which progressed to my kidneys, and landed me in the hospital.
I couldn’t catch a break.
So ends the tale of me almost getting f**ked to death. And you wonder why I’m a little hesitant to get out there.
Just Me With . . . . a lover, a kidney infection, and reports of my death slightly exaggerated.
I later told my visitor that he could claim bragging rights to almost f*cking a woman to death. He was not amused. He’s a good guy.