Monday, November 4, 2013

Bryan and I

Well, I promised you guys four posts going over the big issues, so here is number one: the relationship between Bryan and I.

The illness that led to "the incident" (this is what we call it) was very, very serious.  Bryan had been skipping breakfast and lunch to save us money on our groceries and overall, since the EMTs he works with usually eat out for lunch.  It was working, but his health was badly failing.  He was tired all the time, his muscles hurt, and he was grumpy.  When I noticed a horseshoe shaped bruise on his lower back, I brought it up to him.  He hadn't noticed it because it didn't hurt.

A month later, that bruise was still there.  It hadn't faded or changed at was a deep red, like a blood blister, and roughly the size of my closed fist.  As long as it didn't hurt him, he was content to ignore it.  It bothered me like crazy, though.

The night he attacked me is not something I'm going to go over in great detail.  You guys know I was hurt, that Trisha was there for me, that Kyle wasn't, and that my attempts to find his support got him in hot water with Lora (who from this point forth will be referred to as "She Who Must Not Be Named" because her name still makes me irrationally upset).

I had made dinner that night, a nice steak and shrimp meal.  When he came home from his 12 hour shift, I poured him a glass of Captain Morgan Private Stock.  When the alcohol I'd poured him, which was slightly under 3 shots, hit him so badly that he was talking about seeing two of me, I teased him.  I thought he was messing with me and flat out told him that there was no way the alcohol could've hit him like that.  He disappeared into the bathroom, where I found him passed out on the floor a few hours later.  I tried to get him up, since he was laying in his own vomit, and I was growing pretty concerned.  When he snapped and attacked me, I knew something was seriously wrong.

I fought back...don't think I didn't.  I punched him so hard that I actually broke the middle finger on my right hand.  He felt that one for a week.  When the cops came and the ambulance took him to the hospital, I stayed home crying for another hour before following.  I got there and the nurse wouldn't let me in at first.  I was so afraid they'd look at me like I was another stupid victim, following her abuser like a blind puppy, but I'd done some research while I was at home and I thought I knew what was wrong.

When I was finally able to talk to the doctor and explain my concerns, it took a little bit of convincing before she ordered the appropriate tests.  They returned with results that startled the doctors, but my research was right on the money.  Bryan's starvation diet to save us money had left him severely deficient in potassium, magnesium, and sodium.  The bruise on his back wasn't a was a mark where his body was literally dissolving the muscle fibers to pull nutrients out of them.  The alcohol sensitivity was a sign that something was wrong, and the violent attack was a serious mood swing...brain scans during that time indicated that his brain activity was in "black out" mode.  He had no idea what he had done.  The doctor asked how much he had had to drink, but I dismissed that...having poured the alcohol myself (and emptied the bottle), I knew that he only had about 3 shots of it.  I've seen him drink 10 shots of the stuff without a problem.

I remember sitting beside him as he came to, not hiding the wounds.  He'd punched me in the face, which was badly swollen.  There was blood crusted on my lip, and I was cut up and shaking.  He asked what he had done to me, which I told him in graphic detail.  Later, the doctors informed me that he wouldn't remember that either.  He didn't regain awareness until an hour before we left the hospital, around 4 AM.

It has been a struggle to cope with the events of that night, but we are doing our best.  He eats regularly, quit drinking, and the "bruise" on his back disappeared within two weeks of starting his new diet.  He works out to rebuild the muscle mass he lost.  The doctors said his levels were so low that it's a miracle he didn't come in suffering from massive organ failure.  As for me, the fear faded away about a month after it happened...the nightmares stopped about a month after that.  For a few weeks afterward, it was hard to look at him and I sometimes had to force myself to talk to him.

I know a lot of people would've run the other way as soon as they could've, but I know he wasn't in control of what he did that night.  I had to see him get healthy, and so I told myself I'd make a decision once he was healthy.  Once he regained his health, there was no decision to be made.  My husband isn't perfect, but he tries so hard for me and I love him.  I also haven't exactly been a perfect wife, as you yourselves know.

Every day for us is better and better.  He is my biggest cheerleader as I navigate school (next post!) and he is working 50-70 hour weeks so I can stay home and focus exclusively on schoolwork.  I look forward to going home to him every night, and I miss him when he's not around.  We do still have fights, but he has never raised a hand to even gesture in my direction during any of them.  The fighting is growing a lot less frequent, as well.  Things are definitely looking up.

Anyway, it's almost time for choir practice, so I'll close by saying I'm so glad I'm visible again!  Keep an eye out for the post about school...I just can't promise when it'll be.  I have a chemistry lab report to write.

All my love!

4 comments: said...

I don't quite understand everything but i am trying to, I am trying to keep an open mind. (i am trying to be less judgmental over all of people/things.

What about those levels would make someone violent? that is the part i do not understand.

J said...

It was the mood swings triggered by the low levels that made him violent. He was hypokalemic (low in potassium), hyponatremic (low in sodium), and hypomagnesemic (probably the trigger that caused the hypokalemia). These metabolic disorders are very dangerous. In addition to causing fatigue, irritability, mood swings, and confusion, they are known to cause painful muscle spasms, seizures, cardiac and respiratory arrest, coma, and death.

The mood swings and irritability, combined with the severe state of confusion he found himself in when I woke him and the alcohol he'd had, made it the "perfect storm", so to speak.


mum said...

I would be the first one to say walk out and don't look back. But from what you are sharing, and I don't think you're sugar-coating or trying to make excuses, B was trying to save money by not eating which in turn took a serious toll on his health. These low levels induced some sort of chemical reaction that caused him to behave the way he did. If he had been eating properly, the reaction wouldn't haven't happened and he wouldn't have turned violent....realizing that this isn't the only way someone becomes violent.

So, as they say, no good deed goes unpunished. In trying to do good and take care of you and save money, he almost lost everything. I'm thankful that it wasn't worse, both for you and for him, and am glad to hear that you are both healing. mum

J said...


I was always the same. I was the woman who said "I'd never stay if you laid a hand on me." Unfortunately, you don't know what you'll do until it happens to you...and when it did, both my mom and I were certain something else was going on. I actually wanted to leave at first...she was the one who convinced me that he wasn't himself and I needed to look into it. When I told her about the weird bruise and the symptoms, she urged me to go to the hospital.

The low levels of essential nutrients caused all kinds of chemical imbalances. We're very lucky he didn't die. He is doing his absolute best to make it up to me, and I'm doing my best to help him stay healthy.

It was a learning I would much rather have skipped, but the old saying is true: you never realize how strong you truly are until being strong is the only option you have. Strength was my only choice here. Falling to pieces would've made me lose everything. Staying and rebuilding was a hard choice and I know some might judge me for it, but I know we're going to come out the other side a better team.