Celebrating 21 Years Of Marriage (And Narrowly Averting Another Hospital Stay)

I headed into this past weekend feeling very confident that I’d be able to completely finish the mural wall in the studio, and show up this morning to show you all kinds of pictures of the finished wall. But we all know how plans go, right?

Sadly, things didn’t work out how I had planned them. I just have a couple more things to do (mostly electrical, but a little bit of painting), but it’s still not finished. *Sigh*

Matt’s M.S. has really wreaked havoc this year, and this summer has been especially difficult. Because of M.S., Matt is very sensitive to weather extremes, whether it’s extreme hot or extreme cold. Because of his sensitivities, we have to keep our thermostat on 67 degrees year round. If it gets much warmer than that, he loses all strength. If the temperature dips much below that, he gets cold and that causes his muscles to seize and tremor.

There have been times that I’ve tested to see if this is all in his mind. Without telling him, I have on occasions raised the thermostat to 69 degrees, thinking that there’s no way he would notice. But every single time, without exception, within about 90 minutes, he’s calling me into the room, asking me what the thermostat is set on, because he’s feeling hot. I’ve never been able to get away with raising the thermostat. He can always tell.

So you can imagine how this past Texas summer was for him. I lost count of the number of 100+ degree days we had in a row with no relief in sight (I think the streak was something like 45 days in a row), and so many of those days had “feels like” temperatures surpassing 110 degrees, and even up to 115 degrees. There were so many days with high temps and high humidity, which is a terrible combination for Matt. When it gets that hot, it doesn’t matter that our thermostat is set on 67 degrees because there’s no way our air conditioner can keep up. (We’ve never had a problem until this year, and no matter how many times we had it checked and worked on, it just wouldn’t keep up. But this was also the second hottest Texas summer on record.)

Needless to say, the last three-and-a-half months have been horrible for Matt. And when things are horrible for Matt, they’re no walk in the park for me, either. He has required much more help and attention from me over the last few months than he usually does. And that means that my work on the house slows and my progress seems to crawl at a snail’s pace.

I know my regular readers understand our situation, and I’m so thankful for the grace and understanding that y’all extend to me. Other DIY bloggers who have able-bodied spouses helping them with projects (or taking care of other things while they can focus on projects) can finish those projects in a fraction of the time it takes me lately, and it’s sometimes difficult for me not to feel guilty about that. But then I remind myself of my one single resolution that I made for 2023. No guilt. I became determined that I wasn’t going to heap guilt upon myself for things I can’t control.

Specifically, what I said was this: I’m just one person, and I only have so much time. I’m going to do what I can (while truly trying to use my time efficiently), not do what I can’t, and feel zero guilt about it. (You can read more about my one solitary resolution for 2023 here.) That mindset has helped me so much during this difficult year.

But back to this past weekend. Matt and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary last Thursday. Twenty-one years! That’s hard to believe. But, as has been the case for the last few months, Matt just wasn’t feeling up to leaving the house, so he let me choose a restaurant, and I went and picked up a meal for us from my favorite restaurant. (My favorite restaurant is Rosa’s Café, by the way. 😀 I’m a simple person. Give me fajitas, and I’m happy.) So we ate lunch, watched a few of our favorite shows, and had a very relaxing afternoon.

But later that evening, he started feeling really weak. That didn’t shock either of us. He’s very sensitive to food, which is why he feels his best when he eats an unusually restrictive diet (steak, butter, salt, and water). But it’s just so hard to eat such a restrictive diet! Just imagine that all you can ever ingest is steak, butter, salt, and water. How boring. So he craves some variety sometimes, but he and I always know that he’ll pay a price for it. It’s a trade off that he’s willing to make sometimes. And sure enough, on Thursday, he paid a price for eating Rosa’s with the weakness and exhaustion he felt later that evening.

Generally, when that happens, he just needs a good night’s and he wakes up the next morning feeling (his) normal again. But he didn’t sleep well at all, and he woke up Friday morning feeling exhausted, weak, and groggy. He seemed really out of it, like he had taken a muscle relaxer or something. The whole day was like that, like he couldn’t fully wake up. He slept a lot during the day, but naps during the day generally don’t help Matt. They just make him weaker and groggier. So I pretty much stuck by him all day on Friday, not wanting to get too far away (like working in my studio) in case he needed help drinking water or something like that.

He slept better on Friday night, and did a little better on Saturday, although he still wasn’t back to (his) normal. And because I was dealing with some sciatic nerve pain that morning, I really didn’t want to cook, so Matt wanted me to go to Sonic to get us some lunch. For some very strange reason, Sonic is one of the only places where I can get food that Matt doesn’t react negatively to. I have no explanation for it, because obviously, Sonic isn’t heathy food. But about 98% of the time, he can eat it without suffering any negative consequences. Like I said, I can’t explain it.

What I didn’t realize is that Matt only ate half of a pretty small hamburger, and that’s it. And that’s all he ate all day long. He seemed to be doing better than the day before, so I after we ate, I headed to the studio to work, and he never said a thing to me the rest of the day about being hungry and wanting to eat. So I just kept on working until bedtime, not realizing that all he had eaten all day long was half of a small hamburger.

Sunday, I went to breakfast with my mom, with the plan that I’d stop and get Matt Sonic on the way home, sit with him while he ate, and then spend the rest of the day working on the studio. But when I got home from breakfast with my mom, Matt wasn’t doing well at all. I checked his temperature to see if he had a fever, but it was normal. And he didn’t seem sick. This wasn’t like a flu or COVID. It was just extreme weakness and exhaustion, so he didn’t want to (and probably would not have been able to) eat right away.

So I spend a while trying to help him in various ways — helping him drink iced water to cool down (he was complaining about being hot, but then he’d get cold, and then hot again). I gave him some electrolyte drink. That seemed to perk him up a bit. And I just kept trying to do other things that would keep him comfortable. Again, I didn’t want to stray too far in case he needed me.

After a couple of hours, he was finally ready to eat, so I put his food in a bowl and gave it to him, and we watched a show while he ate. When the show was done, he said he was finished eating. He seemed to be doing better, so I headed the studio to work. I was finally able to start working around 7:00pm.

After about an hour, I headed back to the bedroom to check on Matt, and once again, he was doing terribly. Again, he had extreme weakness, difficulty talking, etc. I tried giving him more electrolyte drink, but it wasn’t helping this time. After about 30 minutes of trying other things, and him trying to speak to me (but I couldn’t understand him), I finally understood him to say that he wanted to go to the hospital.

Well, when he gets like that, I can’t get him into his wheelchair. So even though we have a wheelchair van now, there’s no way I can get him to the hospital. When he gets that weak, it’s like trying to wrangle a 200-pound mound of Jello. So I called 911 and the EMS came. They took all of his vitals, and everything was normal except for blood pressure, which was elevated. He usually has normal blood pressure, so I’m almost 100% sure it was elevated because he was feeling anxious and scared and giving himself a little mini panic attack.

After they talked to him a while, he actually seemed to calm down a bit, and even laughed at a few of their jokes. The lighter things got in the room, the better he could speak, and the easier it was to understand him. And that’s when I realized that for the second day in a row, all he had eaten was half of a (pretty small) hamburger.

So basically, Matt had been almost fasting for two days. And if there’s anything you need to know about Matt, it’s that he can’t fast. Matt loves to fast, and if he could have his way, he’d fast for a week at a time. And while he used to be able to fast with ease and feel great doing so, he simply can’t do it anymore. Fasting makes him incredibly weak and exhausted. So while he hadn’t exactly been fasting, he had been eating so little that he may as well have been fasting.

After the EMTs were here for a while, and Matt’s anxiety seemed to lift, he finally decided that he didn’t want to to go to the hospital. But they encouraged him to eat something and to try to get a good night’s sleep. So as soon as they left, I made him a ribeye steak. But because he was so weak, I had to blend it for him (yep, I blended up a ribeye steak, along with lots of butter and MCT oil because good fats are brain food), and I stood by the bed and fed him blended steak with lots of fat. And as he ate, it was like watching him “recharge”. By the time he finished, he had more energy and looked more alert than he had in days. It was amazing.

So after a good night’s sleep (which he finally got last night), Matt is finally back to his normal this morning. And he and I are both so relieved that we averted another hospital stay. I’ve given him yet another lecture (he loves my lectures, I’m sure 😀 ) about how he can’t fast, no matter how much he wants to, and I’ve given both of us a good lecture on how it just doesn’t pay to eat foods that he knows he’s going to react to. Even if he thinks the tradeoff is worth it for one yummy meal, it’s almost never worth it. The cost is way too high for him.

So that was our weekend. Maybe today I can get a good chunk of time to work on the studio. Or maybe I need a nap. We’ll see. But what I can tell you for sure is that M.S. is a real bitch. (Sorry, but not sorry. I generally keep things PG-rated around here, but after 19 years of us dealing with Matt’s M.S., that’s just what I’m feeling this morning.)

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  1. Well yeah!!!!! NO GUILT AT ALL!!! You are an amazing wife dear lady. Matt is blessed. And of course you are blessed as well. Sometimes these posts are more edifying than the DIY stuff… actually, not sometimes. All the time. Congrats on 21 years… we will be 47 years in December. Time flies by.

  2. Yes, what Kate said! Certainly no guilt for your blog content. You are beyond generous with what you share and showing us how to do things, along with how problem solving works. For me, this last month, starting in August actually, has been extremely difficult in many ways and I think I am not alone in experiencing that. So glad the solution was found to Matt’s weakness and glad the hospital stay was eliminated. Sounds also like you got some good EMT folks who helped a lot.

  3. I’m sorry for the weekend you both had—and by all means, please take a nap today! You need rest girl, traumatic episodes are hard on all of us, the caretakers as well as the person who is ill. We will all be here cheering you on and waiting for when you have more to report! 💕

  4. Happy Anniversary first of all! I’m sorry that the meal didn’t do Matt much good, but at least you have learned a bit more, and know again how some things just aren’t worth it! Sounds like Sonic is a better bet for a splurge. Meanwhile, NO guilt! We all can only do what we can sometimes…whether it is our issues, or someone we love and are responsible for…children, parents, partners, pets! They all count more than any project, and they SHOULD! As your followers, we love to hear whatever goes on…including when you share some of your personal life. We all care about Matt now too, so sharing a bit helps us to know you both better. I am sure all of us look forward to seeing your projects move forward, but only when possible. My projects get sidelined all the time. Nice to know you are human just like the rest of us. 🤣 Best wishes for great days going forward for Matt…speaking for Texas and Florida…cooler days are coming! 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

  5. Do what you need to do to feel recharged. For 19 years you have been on high alert! If finishing a project takes another year because you need to rest and regroup…DO IT!!!!!
    I read your blog because I think you do some amazing work. Most of what you do, I will never do and I don’t feel guilty. You are strong and you have to know you are capable, so be good to yourself. If you are worn down you will not be able to go forward and do the things you love and makes you, YOU. I hope Matt and you get the rest you need to live your fullest life. I know I can wait to see what you do next.

  6. my heart goes out to both of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are a true angel, such love and compassion. I love your talent and what you have accomplished! Prayers and love go out to you both! Conrats to you.

  7. Kristi, I have followed your blog from about the time you purchased your current home. Over and over I have marveled – not only at your vision and that you have taught yourself to do whatever needed to be done to bring your vision to life, but also (and especially) that you found a way to make a good living in a way that has allowed you to care for Matt at home, all the while following your passion in creating the happy-colored sanctuary you envision. Wow. This is an immense accomplishment beyond any house renovation project you might undertake and I am always touched by the grace and dignity of your words when you share bits of your life and Matt’s with your followers. You have no reason to feel guilt over anything.

  8. You are amazing and no guilt. Sorry about your lack of “progress” as planned. But, Matt and your marriage are much higher on you list. You are excellent.

  9. Never feel guilty, we follow because of your dyi but because we care about you and Matt. I am so glad he is better, now take your nap, and relax for the day you have been through the wringer with all that’s going on so relax and enjoy some extra time sitting with Matt. God Bless you both.

  10. Happy Anniversary to you and Matt!! I’m glad that things are returning back to normal today after a bad weekend. Never feel guilty about having to reprioritize, we understand and will wait for you.

  11. Matt, I love Ribeye too! Glad you are feeling better.
    Kristi, I am happy Matt met you. Many people aren’t so lucky to find partners in life that are as capable as you.
    You both make a good team.

  12. We just celebrated—by having a normal day with no big deal—48 years. We have tried over the years to force celebrating our anniversary, but after this many years, it kind of seems silly. We’re happy we made another year, but no need to make a big deal out of it. Now when #50 hits, I hope we can have a big (to us) celebration. But since we really only see family and a couple of close friends, it won’t be huge. My point is, if the way you live day to day is enough, you don’t need a change just because it’s the day you married. If you’re still married and happy together, THAT is with you every day, no matter the day. I would say to you, since Matt cannot change his diet, that you enjoy a favorite meal with a friend or family member the day before or after, and dine with Matt as usual on that day. His health is so much more important than fajitas on your anniversary! Congrats for getting through a difficult year for both of you!!! And for me, I don’t care what you write about, as long as you don’t disappear!

  13. I can’t imagine how hard this summer has been on Matt. It has been brutal for all of us who live in Texas and central Texas has been hit especially hard. I live close to the coast and our summer has been brutal, but not nearly as bad as the central part of the state. Matt’s health and yours are far more important than you getting content out for us to read. We can wait. Taking care of Matt and yourself is priority one. Twenty-one years is a great accomplishment these days and you are blessed to have each other. You and Matt are in my prayers. I’m so thankful that he is feeling better. I can’t imagine how scary it is for you both when he has issues.

  14. I totally know what your going through. My husband of 54 years has had MS for 29 of those years. He doesn’t do the fasting and can eat pretty well anything. But when it comes to heat, he was a big body of jello. We had a hot tub when we had a home (we are in an apartment now) and he loved it. A little trying getting him out, until I couldn’t anymore. He also loved to sit out on the deck in the sun for a while watching the birds and feeding the chipmunk. When he came inside, he would stay in his chair until he cooled down. His chair reclined to almost flat so if he was tired , he would nap there until he was cooled. Now he has been bedridden for the last 3-4 years. I also has to have the “no guilt” talk to myself as well.
    So my dear, you take care of yourself and Matt and do what you can when you can—no guilt.❤️❤️

  15. My husband and I are both chronically ill. He works from home, while I’m disabled and can’t even hold down an online job because I have no idea how sick I’ll be each day (which is annoying, because I’m as driven as you!) We’re each other’s caretakers, and keep each other limping along through life.

    We’ve had a similarly hard year with the weather cycle, and illnesses flying around. This last week was a humdinger for us, too, with an urgent care visit for my husband, a POTS type blackout for me, and a nighttime episode of him huddled on the floor in agony and me petting his hair and playing hymns on my phone until we could determine whether or not it was going to be an ambulance night. (Thank God, it was not!)

    Life with chronic illness is a special kind of trial. God’s grace is sufficient for each day, and each difficulty does a purpose, but that doesn’t mean it’s not all still a huge challenge. I’m a long time reader, and I know you guys are doing a good job at life amid your circumstances. I often pray for you both and cheer you on from afar, both in your home progress, Matt’s challenges (I still tear up when I think about his leaving the house breakthrough!!!), and the unique time and energy requirements you have. And just staying married is a huge accomplishment since that’s an extra challenge in the disability world! So ***congratulations*** and praise God on that hard-earned anniversary!!!

    You’re both doing a great job staying alive and filling your life with love and color. <3

  16. Congratulations on 21 years and happy that Matt is doing better. Cooler days are coming
    No guilt days are days we should all learn to accept when needed.

  17. How I empathize with you. My husband has advanced Parkinson’s Disease. While it is sometimes challenging to take care of him, I would not have it any other way. It is a blessing to be able to care for him. I admire your care of Matt. He is fortunate to have you there with him. I believe God has given you and me an incredible gift of walking a hard journey with a loved one.

  18. An idea to help Matt?? When you build your bedroom addition you could add a single head mini split to allow that room to be cooler or warmer ,when needed, than the whole house hvac provides. If heat stress is the main issue, it would be more economical to just add a room ac that could provide supplemental cooling. Since the addition will be well insulated, the operating costs should be reasonable as long as you use a newer unit that has a high seer rating. This would also make it easier to regulate the temperature as Matt’s needs change during the day. Just open the bedroom door and allow warmer air in. Of course, you could add a supplemental cool source to another area but
    it would probably not be as easy to regulate or as effective because of the open flow between rooms.

  19. Happy Anniversary! So glad you could avert the hospital stay. My best friend is wife to a long-time MS patient, so I’ve seen up close some of what you deal with daily. God bless you and Matt.

  20. This is why I love your blog and never skip reading it. It’s DIY, with real life coming at you hard. The fact that you both lived to tell is no small wonder! Glad to be part of the peanut gallery to cheer you on! Blessings to you both for the 21 years! There aren’t a lot of spouses who would stick by the “ in sickness and in health “ these days. You are an inspiration on many levels!

  21. Congrats on your 21 years! May you be blessed with many more! I appreciate you telling us like it is. That is the real world. I hope y’all have a great week.

  22. Congratulation for 21 years! That is really quite an accomplishment and something definitely worth celebrating. I am so happy to know things are back to normal and the stress is down. Happy belated anniversary!

  23. Just sending you two a hug! We’ve been without A/C since Thursday….no units available in this area :^(, so I can understand how miserable that could make Matt.
    Blessings to you, J

  24. You truly are amazing, Kristi, moreso than most of your readers really know. Unless one has first-hand experience, one truly doesn’t know all that it takes to be a caregiver for someone with MS. It’s hard, physical work, and takes a lot of time. You do that without complaint, in addition to building – by yourself – a beautiful home! Thank you for sharing your life with us. Congratulations on 21 years of marriage!!

  25. Girl. Just, girl. I really don’t know how you do it. You are a rockstar on so many levels. I find it amazing that I have never once heard you complain about Matt’s M.S. Thank you for sharing intimate details of your life. I knew nothing about M.S., and now I do. I am sorry for the struggle you have to go through. Interestingly, right before I clicked on your email, there was another email that said, “Guilt is a choice.” I have never heard that before. That is why I knew I needed to comment here! Much love to you and relax knowing that all of your projects will be right there waiting for you. Take care of yourself. It’s the only way. 😘

  26. I’m going to simply wish you two a Happy Anniversary, blessings for many more years of love and devotion, Linauer adventures.J

  27. I’m glad he’s feeling better and you get a chance to relax. As far as the blog, I always read blogs or IG posts as they come. I figure the author is working on their own schedule and sharing when it makes sense. It would NEVER occur to me to expect a post at a certain time. Please don’t feel guilty that a bunch of Internet people haven’t heard about your studio today. Take care of your family and we can read about your projects whenever you have something new to tell us.

  28. Don’t ever feel guilty about your blog! Even with all your challenges, you post more faithfully that most who don’t face the difficulties you do! And, btw, I love your posts! My style is much quieter than yours, but I love seeing all you are able to accomplish! Oh, and we’ve been married almost exactly twice as long as you and Matt have. Our anniversary was about 3 weeks ago.

  29. Absolutely, definitely 0 guilt, Kristi! It’s ok if you don’t have a daily post or if you need to miss a day or days. We’ll still be here. We will continue to follow you and enjoy your blog. Taking care of yourself so that you can be really ok and take care of Matt is far more important. I’m so glad you were able to avoid a hospital stay. Hugs to the both of you.

  30. You are an amazing woman! When you share your struggles, it allows all of us out here to give ourselves some slack when things don’t go according to plan. You have your priorities in the right place which is truly an inspiration. While we love following all your renovation work we are also cheering you on through it all! It will get done when it can get done!

  31. I appreciate that you care so much for Matt that you lay things aside for him. My daughter had MS and her husband was not so compassionate as you. Ms patients need others around them to pick up for their inabilities with understanding. So you are my hero in this area.

  32. Ahhh Kristi, So much to think about for you both. I have no idea why you would feel guilty about anything to do with your blog!! You work your heart out. Being there for Matt is certainly the number one. I love watching your studio progress. So who cares when it gets done? I know you’ll push yourself way too hard to get it done. I’m sending prayers and joy

  33. Congratulations on your anniversary. I’m sorry both of you are going through some trying times. I’ve been my husband’s caregiver since his severe stroke 17 years ago and we’ve been married 49 years. Take care of your back. I’m amazed at how much you accomplish while caring for Matt. Some days caregiving consumes almost my entire day.

    1. Kristi I know from the comments that you have a following of people caring for their disabled partners. I’d love to see a Cooking with Kristi blog post on pureeing a steak.

  34. Oh my, you two have certainly had a rough time of it lately! But getting to 21 years of marriage through everything deserves a lot of kudos to both of you! Give yourself some grace, and take some time to just enjoy each other in the good times. As for us, we all will be giving you support from afar and will be here to read your blog whenever it works for you.

  35. Happy Anniversary!! Matt is lucky to have you and you him. There should be no guilt girl, you take care of Matt and yourself and let the rest happen when it can. Cheers for 21 years and on to 22 years!

  36. I feel for you and know how hard it is to be a caregiver. My husband had a tumor removed five years ago and the nerves they had to cut to remove it left his left leg almost completely useless. That along with other issues requires a lot of care. The change in our lifestyle was hard to adjust to.
    Do you ever go to La Fiesta? My late brother lived in Waco and we went there often as he loved Mexican food.

  37. Kristi, have you considered getting a window unit heating/air conditioner inverted U mini heat pump? Soleus Air makes a model that should work for you. The nice things about this unit is the noisy part of the unit are outside, it is energy efficient, doesn’t block much of the window and can be adjusted by WiFi. Was thinking this would be a solution for those days when it is extra hot or cold out and your home system can’t keep up. Plus a generator connected to this unit would be a lower cost alternative.

  38. Prayers for Matt and you also! My house still needs some final things, like base moldings. But, when you posted you resolution about not feeling guilty i borrowed it as mine also. I am 74 and only have myself to do the work. Well, the molding is in my gsrage and needs sanding snd painting. Who knew our temps here would be in the 100s+ all summer! I have asthma and cant be in that! I live close to Lafayette so we have the same weather as you usually. I did get up and cut grass ar daybreak all summer. It would take 3 mornings beause my yard is big and i only have a push mower. Now that the temps are falling im going to try to get the molding done. I’m so thankfull that Matt is back go his normal. I thank the powers that be that he has a woman like you to help him. You are both blessed to have 21 years!

  39. 21 years is something to celebrate! So sorry it went badly after that. I love your blog but there is never anything more important than your and Matt’s health, mental and physical. Take a break and know your followers understand fully.

  40. Kristi, I think you are an amazing woman! I find it amazing that you get so much done, being one person renovating a home and caring for Matt. It must feel overwhelming at times for you..I admire you for the caring, kind person you are.

  41. You are such a good partner for Matt. You have handled all of this for a long time. It is always hard to watch a loved one suffer and not be able to “fix” it. Can’t you hook up a bell system where he can buzz you if he needs something?

    You will get the studio finished someday. Just look how far you have come in the short time I have been reading your blog. You were still working in the bathroom when I joined in. Then the workout room and the porch and now the studio and that bathroom. You have been amazing and have done a wonderful job. Plus you have taken the time to share all your ups and downs with us readers. I say you deserve a golden crown (covered with gold leaf)!

  42. Big big hugs, I know its hard. To help the air conditioner, have you tried running a dehumidifier along with it? That might help in the extreme heat. Take care, love your work room.

    1. We did buy a little dehumidifier for our bedroom last week. I’m not sure if it’s helping yet. There’s a dehumidifier that will connect to our Trane HVAC, but I’m not sure if it would be worth the money.

  43. I started Sinimet for my Parkinson’s disease but the disease became resistant. So i started on Ayurvedic treatment from Natural Herbs Centre (naturalherbscentre. com), I had a total decline in symptoms after the 6 months treatment. This treatment is a breakthrough

  44. Hi, glad things are better! There is a book on Amazon called Spiritual Roots to Disease by Dr. WRIGHT, and I think it lists most common diseases, conditions, cancers, etc. and has biblical perspective on how to rid those from our lives once and for all. Check it out; hope it is helpful!

  45. I also was married to a man with MS, but he was nothing like Matt, who is so kind and loving to you. But it was certainly an education for me. I also had a good female friend with MS,, whose symptoms and life were different in so many ways. But no matter the situation, it can be stressful and anxiety producing to keep life on an even keel. Kristi, you are doing a bang-up job.