A mother takes care of her family when they are sick.
It’s just what we do.
When my husband or children are sick, I make sure to keep up on medication, to use essential oils, to turn on favorite movies while they rest on the couch, and I often make my favorite homemade chicken noodle soup.
On October 15, 2015, I had a sick husband. He had a headache, dizziness, and an extreme case of nausea. He called me on his way to work, too sick to drive. I met him on the side of the road, and drove his truck. When we got home, I helped him into our bed. He wasn’t feeling well at all, so I helped him change out of his work attire, and brought him a Zofran and some cold water. I tucked him into bed, pulled the drapes in our bedroom, and helped him get comfortable.
It was a horrible stomach bug, I thought. Or he had eaten something that had made him sick. Food Poisoning. I left him to rest, going back and forth as he would throw up, so that I could clean up and help him get comfortable again.
In the meantime, I started preparing a large pot of chicken noodle soup–for later. Because in a few hours, he would be feeling much better, and he would need something that would be easy on his stomach.
I chopped the celery and onion, and added the chicken and broth to my slow cooker. He threw up, again and again. The intensity of his pain and dizziness increased, and so did my anxiety.
Something was wrong.
I called his parents to come watch our kids.
I rushed him to the Emergency Room.
And the soup simmered on the countertop.
Later that day, we arrived home again. An inner ear calcification had been his diagnosis. Keep up on meds, and come back in a few days if his symptoms don’t improve. He was still vomiting, still too dizzy to walk, and in an incredible amount of pain. Once again, I tucked him into bed. He just needed to rest, he told me. So I sent the kids downstairs to watch a movie with his parents, and shut off the light so he could sleep.
And then I chopped carrots, and shredded chicken. The soup was almost finished cooking. RJ would need another dose of his medication soon, so I rushed to complete the meal. I needed to stop at the store to pickup some egg noodles. While I was there I would get some crackers, popsicles, and a bottle ginger ale, to help his stomach. It was a labor of love– and oh how I loved him.
I hurried out the door, after asking if he needed anything. He assured me he was fine, and thanked me for getting his medication.
I drove quickly to the pharmacy. They were having problems billing my insurance. They told me that I would have to wait. Instead of waiting there, I rushed to the grocery store that was only a block away. I didn’t want to waste any time. I picked up all of the items on my list, then returned to the pharmacy.
On the way home, I called to check to see how my husband was feeling. I was confused by the news that he had fallen, and wasn’t making any sense. I demanded to talk to him…to hear for myself what they were saying about him.
I will never forget the way my sweet husband sounded as he tried to communicate with me. Slow. Garbled. I couldn’t understand him. I called the hospital and asked to talk to the Doctor who we had seen earlier. He was unavailable, and they didn’t want to give advice over the phone. “Go home and assess the situation for yourself,” the receptionist told me.
I was almost there. Upon returning, I ran through the door. I dropped my bag of groceries on the floor when I saw him.
I knew immediately that he had suffered a stroke. All of the signs and symptoms were there. I screamed for someone to call 911. And then I sobbed as I watched my strong capable husband struggle to force even the most basic words out of his mouth.
So began the worst week of my life. Honestly the days following were complete and utter hell. I don’t curse, but there is no other word to describe what I went through. What HE went through. And what we would continue to experience after he was gone.
He never got to eat the chicken noodle soup. Neither did I. I have felt SO much guilt about the fact that I wasted even a moment doing something so trivial, when my husband was so severely ill. I truly wish now that I had laid in our bed with him and would have soaked up every last second that we had together. But how could I have known? I was doing my best to care for the man I loved.
I haven’t been able to bring myself to make it since.
About a year ago, I found the two packages of large egg noodles in my pantry. I sobbed as I struggled with what to do with them. I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away, but I didn’t want to see them. I shoved them into the back of my pantry and covered them with other food. I forgot about them eventually, and somehow, they made the move with us here to Las Vegas. I found them once again today. I felt the immediate guilt rise up within me. What kind of wife makes soup while her husband is having a brain aneurism and stroke?!? I should have never left his side to go to the pharmacy, and I should have been home instead of buying noodles at the grocery store. And then I felt ridiculous for allowing a package of noodles to have so much control over me–over how I felt about myself.
I said a silent prayer for strength and comfort.
I took a deep breath.
And then I began chopping celery, carrots, and onion. I poured broth over the chicken in my slow cooker, and smiled through tears to myself as I thought about my sweet husband. Somehow, all of the darkness and the guilt faded away, and peace filled my heart.
I am thankful that I spent my husband’s last hours at home showing him in the best way I knew how, that I loved him. I still do. And I know that HE knows that.
Never underestimate the healing power of chicken noodle soup. ❤
Recipe found via my sister in law Heather’s blog. It really is the easiest/ best recipe, and if you read her post, Ryan is the brother in law that ate a disgusting amount of rolls that day. 😉