photo by Sheri Dixon

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Missing In Action

Where have I been for a week?

Well, kids. I've been missing.

Missing work, missing home, missing the birth of most of the baby goats this year, missing whatever passes for normal in this life of mine.

We've been in Houston.

Ward had surgery- not cancer surgery or heart surgery although the damage done to his teeth and gums is a direct product of the radiation they gave him for cancer and his heart issues made this the 2nd attempt for this surgery in a month after over 6 months of planning for it.

It was the first time that they wheeled him away from us (and kept him there- last month they aborted the surgery while anesthetizing him) since the first week of April 2010.

That was a routine yet frustrating three-peat of the same graft replacement surgery he'd had twice before right there at MD Anderson. The other two were a week in the hospital and home.

The third time turned into a 6 week long nightmare that he almost didn't wake up from.

So we were all a little twitchy, yes.

I've been twitchy it seems for probably that entire 6 months leading up to this- from the first, "Yes, we'll need to do some oral surgery to fix this"

to the many mishaps with reading his records,

to organizing surgery for when the multiple doctors were all in attendance,

to the aborted attempt last month because of heart issues

to the perky little anesthesiologist coming into the pre-op ward and saying she was intending on giving him the exact same drug that almost killed him last time at that exact same hospital

till the surgeon came out telling us he was fine. He IS fine.

I had a little exhaustion attack the day after surgery, before we drove home.

Today I woke up with a migraine the likes of which I haven't seen in over a decade. Almost sixteen hours later and it's still there, sitting on my eyeballs, pushing down on my brain. But at least I'm not throwing up anymore.

And I finally verbalized to Ward what I haven't before.

I was terrified. For the last 6 months I've been terrified. Oh, once you become a Cancer Family, a Cancer Couple, there's always an awareness of just how precious every moment is- even when I'm lashing out from frustration or exhaustion or fear...always from fear- there's no one I'd rather be married to, be spending life with, than Ward.

There's a strange sort of pushing/pulling mentality that goes with being the organizer for a critical care person.

Everything in me is focused on getting him the help and treatment that he needs as quickly as possible.

Everything in me is fighting putting him through any more pain, which comes with the above.

And for his part, I know he goes through the same sort of conflict. Knowing what he needs to do, dreading the pain and recovery, hating what he sees it doing to his wife and son.

So we snap at each other. We snipe and glower.

He thinks I'm angry at him when I'm angry at myself for not being able to fix everything, make everything better and right. Angry that I push my way through life till I collapse and my patient (in both ways) husband cares for ME instead of the other way around.

I think he's angry at me when he goes silent and out of reach when he's angry at himself for being sick, for requiring vast amounts of our time and our money be thrown at the doctors and hospitals.

But it never lasts.

Chronic illness kills many relationships. And I can see why. It's a grinding, gnawing, worry that never ever goes away.

But our anger never lasts.

Ward's my hero, my knight in shining armor. Alec is his dad's son- his humor and brilliance and stork legs.

We're a family.

Ward's pain is tolerable and his mouth is healing where they dug out 5 teeth and roots, 'smoothed the bone' and stitched them up.

My head is slowly becoming part of me again instead of something I'd rather yank off of my neck for the pain.

In just a little bit we'll go to bed- both on our pain meds, Smidgeon the schnoodle up against Ward's legs after being evicted from the pillow between our heads and Fizzgig the miniature wild-haired terrier curled firmly against my tummy.

Just a normal night.

And I cherish each and every one.

1 comment:

  1. normal...such a rare and blessed event, enjoy every second of it.