Sunday, January 18, 2009

From Patient to Nurse

A lot has gone down. (Many thanks to those who've checked in on me -- my lack of posting has been due mainly to my trying just to stay afloat.)

When we last left our (dubious) heroine, she was recovering from a miscarriage gone bad and remorse over spilling her sad story to her mother. Her husband was also about to undergo knee surgery, which she didn't even mention here because it never even occurred to her (perhaps since hcg was still running rampant through her system and her reproductive organs still recovering) that it would be a big deal. Do I even need to tell you that it turned out to be a very big deal?

To make a very long, boring story a little bit shorter and more tolerable, ACL/meniscus surgery will turn an athletic, relatively tough (relatively being key, since it seems to me that all men become big crybabies when they are ill or injured) husband into an immobile, totally dependent, pain-ridden patient. And you, dear wife, will become his 24/7 nurse. You will handle everything around the house since he cannot walk on his injured leg for at least three weeks. You may frantically call the doctor the day after his surgery because he is writhing in pain and cannot get off of the couch without nearly passing out (and you, being substantially smaller than him -- at least on a good day -- are ill-equipped to pick him up). You will lug a 20-pound ice machine from the couch to the kitchen for refills at least twice a day. Upon realizing that your refrigerator's ice maker cannot keep up with the demand, you may find yourself buying bags of ice at the gas station at 6 a.m. during an ice storm. When a soda-delivery guy makes a really unfunny joke while he watches you do this, you may tell him that no, you did not miss the irony (you may also mutter something about him being an a-hole, but quietly).

I could go on, but I will spare you. What I will tell you is that I am sick of hospitals, and being either a patient or a nurse. That I am sick of having my stomach in knots, and getting no sleep and feeling like everything is turned upside down. That I have both welcomed the distraction and resented the timing of all of this, that I wanted to fully finish out my own recovery, both physical and emotional, before turning my attention to some other problem. I get that knee surgery is not the end of the world, but I was already operating at diminished capacity, and the surprise of having my husband suddenly be the needy one (and how) has been startling.

As for how I am doing. It depends on when you ask. I've been mostly overwhelmed. There are times, like when I was sitting across from my RE at our WTF appointment last Monday (more to come on that), when I feel hopeful and determined, ready to go at it again. There are times when I feel numb, like there's some robot switch someone turned on that makes me walk and talk and drive to work but without the involvement of my heart and soul. Sometimes I laugh and it feels genuine, and then I feel guilty and strange for having done it.

Overall, I guess I'm just searching for pockets of joy. For something to grab onto while I'm in this space, to sustain me while enough time passes and whatever needs to happen happens to get me to my baby. I am getting together with my amazing friends and ordering lattes and buying fun magazines and getting my hair done (color and all). I am watching mindless, kill-your-brain-cells TV (to the producers of The Bachelor and American Idol: The timing of your new seasons could not be better). I went shopping today and bought new towels -- huge, decadent, spa-worthy towels -- and it gave me the kind of thrill that only consumerism of the domestic sort can. I lugged the gigantic bag into the elevator back to my car, excited to get them home and put them in the rotation. A couple came on with their deliciously chubby-faced baby beaming in her stroller. And despite my shopping high, I couldn't help but think: They're taking home that baby. And I'm taking home a big bag of towels.


Amanda said...

Glad to hear from you again. I hope your husband recovers well from his surgery. Being a nurse takes all kinds of patience (which I do not have) so I'm glad you've (even in your diminished state) are up to the task.

Some days I'm really glad that I'm the one really going through all the IF stuff, because I don't think I could do my husband's job of sitting back and trying to be patient and supportive.

You're right, consumerism does not bring the joy of a child. IF sucks. I'm sorry.

Vikki a.k.a "V" said...

I am a nurse and when my husband had his hernia surgery two summers ago I thought, "I need to get back to the hospital." It was harder to care for him than my sick, hospital bound patients. Men...

I hope you bought the nice, thick, soft towels. You deserve them.

Michelle said...

I hope your hubby feels better soon. I hop you do too. Hang in there. ((HUGS))

bunny said...

you definitely deserve wife of the year award. i hope you and your hubby are fully mended soon.

and may you find many deep pockets filled with joy, happiness and health in the coming months.

Anonymous said...


So glad to hear from you again. I hope your hubby is on the mend soon- I agree that men are the worst possible patients.

You're right- towels aren't babies. But then towels won't spit up on you either... (in my twisted attempt to find the bright side)

Loads of hugs.

histmedphd said...

My thoughts of calm, patience, and healing are with you and R. Having had an ACL reconstruction myself, I have to say that is pain is something nearly unrivaled, testosterone or not.

Still, the timing could not have been worse. Keep well. Sleep lots. And indulge in as many lattes, television shows, and luxurious towels as you can!

JamieD said...

You deserve towels, lattes, haircuts . . . all of it!!

This is an insanely stupid emotional rollercoaster we are on. And for some equally stupid reason, we can't be dealt a miscarriage alone to handle. There has to be all kinds of crap stacked on it.

We will survive. Lattes in hand.

kirke said...

I love fluffy towels and mindless t.v. It's the little things that keep us plugging along.

I'm glad that you are back!

Anonymous said...

Pockets of joy. I love that idea. I had a brief pocket of joy today, seeing the blue sky and the sun shine through a mist of snow falling from our trees, making sparkles appear everywhere. Of course it was all of seven degrees outside, but it looked beautiful out of my window. But it only lasted for a moment. It did make my heart soar for that tiny moment. Then it sank when I realized it was going to take me forty minutes to scrape the ice off my car so I could go mail some medical bill payments at the post office.

You are right, towels are not better than a baby, but nice, fluffy, expensive, luxurious spa quality towels are wonderful. And you get to use them every day. Pamper yourself however you can. Lattes, hair color, and mindless tv all sound great to me.

I hope you and your husband are on the mend. It sounds like an exhausting and overwhelming month for you both. How are things with your mom?

Anonymous said...

I think you have once again captured it all brilliantly. And soon you will have a baby AND really nice towels. Just make sure you keep the towels away from the baby!! The baby will poop on the towels!!!

Anonymous said...

Glad that you are doing ok. I hope your hubby recovers soon! I hate it when my DH gets sick. My worries and tension peak when he is not at his best. Its more stressful than when I am sick! It sucks. Hope you get through this phase soon!