Friday, September 2, 2011

A Not So Perfect Homecoming

     Nearly 5 years ago, after my husbands first deployment, I was waiting with anticipation at the parade field at Fort Hood, Texas for my husband to arrive home.  There were several hundred family members waiting together in the bleachers.  On the opposite side of the parade field, a few hundred yards away, we finally saw the buses pull up, but all we could see were the feet of the soldiers filing off and falling into formation.  I jokingly said to another wife, "Bus driver, move that bus!"  Others overheard me and immediately everyone began shouting "Move that bus!  Move that bus!"  As the buses pulled away and our soldiers appeared off in the distance, the emotion and excitement in the stadium became overwhelming with cheerful tears and shouts of a job well done because we knew they had finally made it home.
     Over the next few days, they had to be debriefed before they could be released to go back home.  On the last morning we were in our hotel, I woke up and thought, "Man, my arm really itches."  I looked down and quickly discovered that it wasn't just my arm; my entire body was covered in hives.  We went to the pharmacy and loaded up on Benadryll for a 12 hour trip home to Springfield, MO.  By the time we reached northern Arkansas, I looked like a burn victim because the hives had spread to cover every inch of my body and were extremely swollen.  In addition to itching like crazy, I was also beginning to lose my voice.  In hindsight, we probobly should have found an emergency room at that point, but I just wanted to be home.
     We made it home that night, but when I woke up the next morning my hives were still terrible and Jeremiah was insistent that we go to the hospital.  Feeling gross from traveling all day the day before, I said, "Just let me take a shower, and then we can go."  Needless to say, that was a bad idea.  I got lightheaded in the shower and as I was yelling for Jeremiah to come help, I passed out right as he caught me.  He drug me to our bed and tried to get me to come to.  When I finally regained consciousness, all I could think was I had to go to the bathroom.  I was trying to tell Jeremiah what I was needing but he simply replied with, "Um, I think it's too late."  As you can probably imagine, that wasn't exactly how I imagined what it would be like for the first 24 hours my husband was home from Iraq.  From there, Jeremiah tried to get me back into the bathroom while yelling at   Logan, my younger brother who was living with us at the time, to come downstairs and help.  Jeremiah tried to cover me up with a towel so Logan wouldn't have to see his older sister naked, but in the meantime, I passed out again, losing and regaining consciousness a number times.  I remember feeling terrible and wondering what was going on.
     We went to the emergency room, but they didn't find anything wrong.  We tried to narrow down what I might have had an allergic reaction to, but we couldn't come up with anything.  Over the course of the next few days, we discovered that anytime I came in direct contact with my husbands skin, I would break out in hives all over again; so, for the next two weeks, we both spent all of our time at home in long sleeves, pants, and socks.  Finally, the hives were gone and we could work at life getting back to normal.
     I know that anytime anytime there is a big change in one's life, that it's good to prepare for those changes.  I knew there might have been some adjustments to make after a deployment to a war zone and there were- I just never expected to be allergic to my husband.