The day my husband Ed got a really bad bug. So you really are sick, what now?
Ed is a working guy and was an on-the-road serviceman for 30 years, first with Southland Corporation (7–11), then 25 years with a chemical company where he designed, installed and maintained chemical pumping systems. In his mid-forties he was laid off. This was at the end of the housing bubble as the economy was going into recession. He got his contractor’s license and became a self-employed handyman. With his wide skill set he soon had a regular clientele.
When you work for someone else, health insurance is usually available. Ed had worked for big corporations and that was part of his benefits package. Now he had to buy a policy for his family. An annual insurance policy is a necessity. What do you get for that policy that you pay for every single month?
Throughout his life Ed had a variety of minor illnesses that were annoying, but incidental, each minor illness lasting a few days or a week longer than everyone else who had it. As a child, he had more than the average earaches, and as an adult he caught most of the colds that the kids brought home. All summer long he used sunscreen on his nose to keep from getting an infection on his skin.
In his forties he had ongoing indigestion which grew slowly in intensity and proved to be a lactose intolerance. Changing to lactaid milk fixed that, although packaged foods and dining out require vigilance to spot milk as an ingredient.
All of these were nuisances with doctors treating issues as needed. Generally speaking, Ed chalked it all up to getting older.
The Health Crisis
Month Zero (July 2015)
At the age of 56 Ed, and the other three people in our household, caught an intestinal bug that ran a 48-hours course. Except Ed. His symptoms of diarrhea and fatigue continued and he began to lose weight. Fast. For Ed, diarrhea meant “all the food I ate an hour or more ago just passed through me chewed, pretty much the way I swallowed it.” Nothing was changed by passing through his digestive tract. He ate copious amounts of calories and lost weight at an alarming rate. Ed dropped from about 185 lbs. to the mid 150s — low 160s in 4 to 6 weeks, by which time I had him to a new gastroenterologist.
Status: Ed had no energy. He sat in his Lazy Boy day after day sleeping, carving wood, and eating chicken…