The Diagnosis

The next few years were uneventful, health-wise.  We all survived the Y2K worries, with no computer mishaps to speak of, and found ourselves wondering what all the fuss had been about.   I don’t know why, when we view our lives through hindsight, we usually wind up kicking ourselves, but it’s true.  We want to jump back in time and get in the faces of our young, inexperienced selves and scream “Wake UP!!!  This will be a BIG problem later on!!!  WAKE UP!!”   Would it affect the outcome in a more positive way, perhaps given us more time between health issues, or made the quality of his life better?  In reality, we just think back and shake our heads, thinking, “If we only knew back then…”  What is the purpose of these episodes, and does it teach us to try to employ hindsight to our everyday lives?  Are we calling upon hindsight to just jump on in and take over, so we don’t have to weigh things on our own?  I don’t know why we torture ourselves.   At any rate, with the information we had at the time, we had no choice but to do what we could in the raising of our boys.  I guess life is like that.

In the Spring of 2001, my husband received orders to Randolph AFB, Texas.  So we left the beautiful state of Colorado, and moved our little family to a suburb on the outskirts of San Antonio.  The following Fall, our oldest began middle school, and our baby began kindergarten.  We began our regular routine of baseball, school, and just enjoying our family, while my husband settled into his new job, at what would be his last duty station before retirement.  The nature of my husband’s work meant that I could not know a lot about his job, or things we was working on, and I was fine with that.  I took a lot of pride in sacrificing my perceived need to know things in order to give our Country a capable, loyal Service Member who could focus on what he did for the good of this great country of ours.  I looked at it as my way of serving, too.  There will always be things that I will never know.  Or, as we like to say, I can read about it in 50 years when the information is no longer classified.

On that fateful day of September 11, 2001, our world, and that of our beloved nation, was torn apart as we watched the tragedy unfold in New York City, the Pentagon, and in that lonely field in Pennsylvania.  Of course, the events of the day meant that my husband’s schedule immediately went into overdrive at work, and little things about his health might have been ignored in the interest of national security, naturally so.  I do not remember any complaints of his that might have served as warning signs, I just remember the phone call, and that blinding feeling of panic and fear, as one of his co-workers explained to me that he had lifted a projector and promptly passed out, and was being treated at the clinic on base.

Later he would tell me that he had had episodes of not being able to concentrate that day, and his vision was not right…whacked, I think was the word he used, before he slid into oblivion.  Once again, he was sent to a neurologist at Brook Army Medical Center, and this doctor, after reviewing his records, ordered a Trans Esophageal Echocardiogram.  The results of this showed nothing abnormal, however, the doctor was intrigued by his medical history thus far, and vowed to find out what his condition was “if it’s the last thing I do!” 

Now, a new round of tests was ordered.  I’m not sure if the doctor was re-running tests for comparison, or testing for new diagnostic markers, but one day my husband received a call from the neurologist, and went in for the results.  At any rate, the doctor finally had a diagnosis for all the mysterious symptoms he had suffered over the last several years.  It was a condition called Lupus Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome.  Despite its name, the disorder is not a form of Lupus although it is an auto-immune disorder.  

This doctor then presented my husband with the first way to treat his condition.  Fortunately, aspirin therapy was acceptable in his case, and many people were doing it back then, as now, for heart health.  So he began an aspirin regimen.  In the Spring of 2003, after a distinguished career with the United States Air Force, my husband retired.

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