photo by Sheri Dixon

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spare Me the Drama, Mama- I Crave Some Mundane

I vividly remember our most recent family hug.

It was Sunday night, four days ago now.

Much like any other of a million family hugs- Ward, standing tall and strong, myself wrapped in his left arm, his son wrapped in his right- the three of us twined into a human pretzel held together with comfort, love, and familiarity.

We were only slightly inconvenienced by the IV's and drains attached to Ward, and the IV stand didn't get in our way at all.

It was a good hug. Nay, a great hug- filled with relief and exhaustion and joy all mingled together. Ward was absolutely and completely light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel into healing after a very rocky week following what was supposed to be a pretty routine, albeit extensive surgery.

Alec and I left the hospital feeling good, Ward went to bed feeling good- we all anticipated Ward's release from the hospital by Wednesday at the latest.

Wednesday. Yesterday.

I'd fallen asleep fitfully- I'd caught a bug in hospital after a week of worry and sleeplessness and eating sparsely and horribly- and was just then feeling the full effects- dizziness, nausea- when the phone brought me suddenly, adrenalin-ly, sickeningly awake at 1am.

Ward needed emergency surgery immediately. In the middle of the night. But they assured me it would be a quick fix and he'd be back in his room by lunchtime Monday.

It didn't work that way and he's now lying in ICU attached to a ventilator and in congestive heart failure.

And I wonder whatever happened to "normal".

I asked my son yesterday if he could even, in his ten year existence, remember a time when our family life didn't consist of hospitals, operations, recovery, repeat. And though he made light of thinking it over, he was serious when he said "No. Not really".

I'm trying to come to terms with our new reality- not our beloved old knock-around house at the edge of Brownsboro TX (pop. 756)- chickens in the yard, turkeys on the porch, drifting off to sleep to the chorus of millions of spring peepers down by the pond, but this hotel room in the middle of Houston (4th largest city in the US of A)- the non-stop cacophony of helicopters and ambulances rushing to the hospital district glowing just a few blocks away.

And as crushing as living here with no set ending, no date we can circle on the calendar, is- we refuse to leave without Ward. He's here. We're here. They tell us it's going to be a "very very long haul" but that's fine as long as we're all here and all together.

I've known Ward for 16 years and we've been a couple almost 15. This is not my first go-around on the relationship/marriage train, but this is the only time I can honestly say there's never been one minute- one second- that I've ever thought "Hmmmm- this just isn't working out".

Ward's the best friend I've ever had, the best father I could ever imagine for Alec, and truly the Love of My Life. And even though I'm surly, argumentative and difficult, for some reason he feels the same way about me.

But while other couples- even those who still love each other deeply- stagnate and flounder a bit under the day to day child raising and working and bill paying, wishing for some excitement to knock the dust off of their routines, we crave the opposite-

Quiet. Normal. Boring. Stay-at-home Life.

I know, from tuning into every morsel of his being wrapped up, trussed up, invaded and hooked to machines that surround him carnivorously, that he can hear me. I hold his hand, and talk to him, and at sensible times there are signs- the twitch of his hand in mine, the raising of an eyebrow, the flicker of an eyelid, the rising or lowering of his blood pressure all tell me he's fighting as hard as he can- that no one wants to go home more than he does.

So we wait. And I keep him company, holding his hand and reading aloud to him in an almost insane caricature of normalcy. I pretend not to notice the nurses and others coming in and going about their medical business- the business of keeping my husband alive till his body is strong enough to once again keep itself alive.

And outside the hospital walls, I meet other people who complain petulantly about the irritating habits of spouses, or the boredom of their jobs, or the tiring mind-numbing chores inherent in the raising and training of children and they look at me like we're all in the same secret club and ask "Yanno what I mean?"

I think of what I wouldn't give right now to find beard hairs in the bathroom sink, or a collection of half empty soda cans abandoned around the house, or even to simply be at home in our own bed- together.

And I can't even feign thinking about it before answering, "No. Not really".

No comments:

Post a Comment