The Time I got Married in the Neuro-ICU

Not exactly the wedding I expected, but for our relationship it is completely perfect. We were together for about 13 years. We talked about marriage many times. We had several reasons for not being married. This was not our first time around. We each had two children before we knew one another. We each had our own sets of baggage.

We had a pretty good relationship as far as things go. We rarely fought, we both shared a nutty sense of humor and we enjoyed each others company. These are the things that actually made our relationship work. Some of the baggage we had stayed with us, especially in the first couple of years. Then I got pregnant with my youngest daughter, our daughter together. By this time we truly were a family. He stepped very easily into the stepfather roll of my kids. He truly became their Dad, they always knew their father exists and my oldest has her memories. He choose to stay away from us, I guess for him that was his coping mechanism. We had contact with some of his family so it was not totally out of their lives, just not active or around.  Recently he has tried to fix it. Kids feel too little too late. But they are at least nice to one another. They had their Dad he may not had been their biological but he loved them and did what he could for them.

When our youngest was born she had many medical problems. Her health to this day is still uncertain and we overcame a lot of obstacles as people, adjusting to the way our lives changed. As the time past and continues to pass this child has been a true blessing. She has changed the way I see things. She has taught me what strength really means, she has taught me what unconditional love actually looks like. I knew what it felt like but spending a good majority of your life in a hospital, you actually witness true love. Not in the lovey dovey way but in the you can puke in front of me way and I can hold your wound sites and not puke on you kind of way. The bonds that our family gained through raising a family and a child with special needs and being surrounded by other families sharing similar type journeys is a gigantic eye opener. Will make you re-think getting behind the wheel drunk, will make you think twice about doing something totally reckless. When you experience your child fighting for their life and you look out of her room door just to look at something other than what is in front of you and you see a family saying goodbye to their family member. It is something that medical professionals and hospital employees witness regularly. They live it but they are helping and they are professionals, they have learned to push as much emotion away as they can.

Years started passing, the subject of marriage came up many times. Most people thought we were married. Most people did not know that he was not the father of all three kids. I guess if you would really look you could tell, but when you see people together for so many years they are family, so they look like family. We always put it off and we had decided that when my son turned 18 we would marry. That way I always had their last time until they were older and our youngest would understand as we all lived together. It made sense at the time.

About three years ago my husband started acting a bit strange. He started working out, which was good. He started going out more often, which was weird but good. He then started doing weird things. He loved his homing pigeons- a story for another day. One day I come home I see him in the back with some guys, I had met them before but did not know them well. I thought it was weird  but I did not interfere. I just went about my business and when they left I asked why they were there. He said Oh I sold them a couple of birds. I thought Oh thats weird we must need money, I don’t know about. I told my oldest daughter don’t you think Dad is acting weird. She said yeah I saw him drinking beer. I said maybe a midlife crisis or something. Then he started helping out the neighbors down the street. They were a freeloading family. Mother a druggie, Father a drunk. They have like 5-6 kids, they seem to love them but not more than they loved their habits. He allowed these people in our home all the time. Showering(they  had no water) eating, watching tv, playing with our kids and so on. This was really weird but well he was a nice guy so him helping people was not weird, it was just going on too much.

Our lease was up and after 9 years we were ready to live in a better house, a better neighborhood and well we were looking forward to getting older, the kids growing up and living our lives a bit more. So we got this great house, clear across town. I was working, he was working even my oldest daughter started driving and working. Things were looking up until one night the last night in the old house, he mentioned I am having a hard time seeing. I thought perhaps it was from the operations he had when he was a little boy. I did not know what it was. I made a doctor’s appointment for him. We moved and the vision was getting worse, his behavior was getting weirder and his ability to do things was clearly affected. Instead of him moving things like always he was bossing everyone around and doing nothing but cracking jokes. Him, but not him. So finally one morning he is acting really weird and I tell him I want to bring him to the emergency room. He resists and uses every excuse, he banged his head, it’s just a headache and well everything he could come up with.

So now he is in the shower and he starts screaming, he does not know where he is. I told him enough you are going to the ER. Truth is he tried no I am going to take a nap. Boy was he stubborn. Finally I get him to the hospital. The nurses in the waiting area don’t take him serious. He is having me push him in a wheelchair in and out of the place, he is on the phone and talking to people and outside smoking( a habit he had given up years before) . Finally it was his turn. The doctors checked him out and whatever they saw they knew I was not kidding about his symptoms and they did a CT Scan. This proved his brain to be very swollen and bleeding. They called for transport and rushed him to another hospital. The next three days were crazy. Test upon test and doctor upon doctor, We switched hospitals- another long story.

Now it is the day before he is to have a brain biopsy. He was very scared, as I and the whole family. He asked me, Please can we get married today. I explained to him this is not to easy to do. You have to both be present to get a marriage license and then they have the three day rule in our state. He started telling everyone that he really just wanted me to be his wife (legally) before he did this, they were cutting into his brain and well If I was not his wife before, I don’t know what I was so if it gave him comfort I was in. I was in it for the long haul with him with or without marriage. Well finally someone explained to him, if the doctor and the hospital write a letter to the court I can go to the courthouse and get all the paperwork for marriage with only one party. There were certain things that had to be proven to make it happen. Well If that man did not love me, and not want to marry me I could not tell. He called my sister at work and told her that I was going to get the license and we were going to get the social worker to marry us as she is a notary and my sister said no way. I am a notary and I am going to marry you. We will bring all everything just you relax and get ready to be married and obviously get your surgery.

So that day, I had to go back and forth to the courthouse like 3 times then rush home to do my daughters medical stuff and then back to the hospital. See not only was it going to be our wedding night, it was going to be the night before his brain surgery and two nights before our daughter’s spinal surgery- also another long story. So finally as my kids joked, Dad can’t get out of this cause he is in the ICU and they won’t let him out of his room and of course Mom you are late to your own wedding. Well I was late and if you ask my oldest daughter we had quite a lot of adventures getting all of that accomplished but we did. We got married in the hospital’s Neuro Intensive care unit. The nurses told us that my husband was the liveliest patient they ever had in that department.It was sweet  our kids and my nephew and my sister and some friends of ours were there and then his mother and sister were there also, they just came to visit before surgery and got to go to a wedding. It is not that we did not invite anyone but well we did not it was not at all planned we figured one day we could have a party or something to celebrate. He just felt like if something happened I would never know just how much he loved me. Of course he was wrong I knew for a really long time but I let him marry me anyway. Sadly his diagnosis was terminal and I lost him only 9 months later it is going on two years now. It is weird to be a widow when we only just got married. We used to joke that we did not have an anniversary we went by the amount of miles on the car. We met two days after I bought my car, which I am still driving and I just hit 179000 miles. We shared most of those together.

So now I have told you the time, I got married in the ICU.

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