I Thought I Knew

It’s been quiet here at thenegativespace.

The absence of new content has nothing to do

with a lack of ideas. 

Quite the contrary.


Exactly one week ago,

my husband

complained of stomach pains

began vomiting.

The pain increased.


I knew it was bad

when he agreed to go to the ER.


As we waited for our turn in the ER lobby,

he collapsed from his wheelchair,

crumpled to the floor,

a rumply pile

of the man I love,

legs tangled

in the feet of the chair.

Regaining consciousness

but not strength

he vomited on the floor.

This is one way to get moved to the top of the list.


This event led to seven days in the hospital.


Low blood pressure.

Possible sepsis.

Moment of unresponsiveness that led to a code being called.

30 doctors rushing to his room.

Tubes added to his throat.

Fast pass to the ICU.

Electrodes attached to his scalp.

Heart being monitored.

Every type of scan, image, test done.


And at the end of seven days,

we were sent home


zero explanations

for the things that occurred,

only traumatic




that will last forever.


This week I was no ordinary caregiver.

(Not that there is such a thing. Each one of us is a Superhero dressed in snarky t-shirts with unwashed hair.)

I was a

“Something’s not right,”

“Someone help NOW,”

“I’m right here with you. You are safe,”

“You’re not leaving this room until you figure this out,”

“Get him more pain meds,”

“I’m not going anywhere. I’m right here.”

“I’ll do the talking, you leave him alone,”

“Page them again,”

“You are loved. You’re going to be okay.”

Sleep in the hospital every.single.night

kind of caregiver.


Now we are home.

Exactly one week later.

And I have much to process.

Seven days ago,

I thought I knew what “caregiving” meant.

I thought I had seen and experienced trauma.

I thought I had felt fear and uncertainty.

I thought I had seen my husband in the most unbelievable medical circumstances.

Turns out,

I had only scratched the surface.

Chronological images from Emergency Room to first inpatient room, to ICU, to second inpatient room, to discharge.



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12 Responses

  1. When I grow up I want to be like you. Know that you are always wrapped in prayer by the saints in Rocklin. And when you need a vacation, there is always a place in northern CA for you.

  2. Allison,

    What an amazing woman, mother and wife you are. I don’t comment much on your posts, but know you are always in my thoughts and prayers. It breaks my heart to see you going through all of this. Thank you for sharing your journey. It has taught me to never take life or my loved ones for granted.

  3. Beautiful and heart-wrenching. They (whoever "they" are) say that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle, but I sure think that He pushes right up against the limit with some people. I am amazed by you and your family and I continue to pray for strength, peace and even more faith for each of you.

  4. Love, hugs, prayers and tears for you all. You are an amazing woman and you have an amazing family.

  5. Your words and your experience so touch the heart. . .so many prayers to the beautiful and courageous caregiver that is giving the gift of sharing her journey to each of us. Prayers for healing and strength and hope that you never give up the writing.

  6. It is unbelievably hard when there are explanations for health crises, but when there is no known cause for the chaos, this invokes fear, frustration and anger. I imagine an extra layer of warrior gear has been donned to fight the invisible beast. Praying for you and Sean that this one has been slayed. Lots of love and hugs, dear.

    1. Mary Ann,
      Yes, you get it all too well! It is terrifying to not know what caused any of it because then we have no way to know if it’s going to happen again. My caregiver warrior suit gets thicker with every crisis.

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