"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Thursday, May 08, 2003
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
re·cu·per·ate Function: verb
Etymology: Latin recuperatus, past participle of recuperare -- more at RECOVER
1 : to regain a former state or condition; especially : to recover health or strength
2 : What my wife is now doing
It has been a very, very, very long week.
It started last Wednesday morning at 4am when my wife and I got up so that I could take her to the hospital for her surgery. She was understandably anxious, and I was doing my best to keep her as calm as possible. Under the circumstances, she did super.
We were joined at the hospital by our daughter, and waited with her in the rooms next to the pre-op area until they were ready to take her. They came about 7am, and we were told it would take about two hours for the surgery. So my daughter and I went to the cafeteria and got breakfast, but then my daughter tells me she has an errand to run so gets hers to go, promising to be back before my wife gets out of surgery.
I sit and eat my sausage biscuit all by myself. That's when it hits me that I can't share this moment with my wife, my normal confidant, my best friend. She is down the hall, possibly fighting for her life.
That disturbs me deeply.
I go to her room, where they told us to wait. No one else is there. I sit and read a bit for about an hour or so, thinking that no news is good news. About 8:30 or so, our daughter returns and our son arrives with his wife. Shortly after that a dear friend of my wife arrives as well.
We sit and do the small talk thing for another hour and a half, and I'm getting antsy. Then yet another hour. I'm not showing it but I am very concerned. That's the closest person on Earth to me in there, and I do not want anything to be wrong or her to be in any danger, I do not want to live the life that would be on the other side of that.
Finally, the doctor calls the room, she is OK. It was what he called a "difficult" surgery which took longer, and later we found out that she had been in pre-op for some time before they started. That's what took so long.
They brought her back about noon or so. After a few minutes everyone leaves but me.
And I'm noticing that she is not breathing right. As a matter of fact, she's stopped.
I call her name, touch her arm, she awakens with a gasp. I smile at her, she begins to say something, then immediately, mid sentence, falls completely still again, not breathing.
I count slowly to 45, no motion, no breath.
I touch her arm, she awakens with a deep gasp, saying "I stopped breathing." After a couple of deep breaths, she falls asleep again, stops breathing again. 45 seconds later I touch her again.
We do this dance for another five hours until the anesthesia gets out of her system. All the time I am smiling at her whenever I awaken her, reassuring her that I would not allow anything to happen to her, and a minute later she would stop breathing and I would be waking her up all over again.
The next four days I spend at the hospital, only going home for a few hours while someone else stays the night. She needs the help, needs the assistance getting out of bed, shifting around, etc. They are pumping her full of some major pain medications, which is good, but it makes her queasy.
On Saturday I expect she might be discharged, but when I come in that morning she is sitting there in the chair with her bandages halfway torn off. The doctor on call had opened the bandages just that far to inspect her incision then left it, and it had been 30 minutes.
When she stood up, her chair was covered with blood. A lot of blood.
Long story short, they had to restitch her incision because the doctor had ripped it open again, and that cost her another day in the hospital, not to mention some unpleasantness during the process.
Sunday, we got her home. Little by little, each day she gets better and more able to move around. We tried a trip to K-Mart yesterday (her suggestion) to get something she needed, and I wheeled her around in the wheelchair they provide. After just a few minutes, she was at the point of collapse. She's got a long way to go.
But that's OK. I got her and that's what matters.
Health is not valued till sickness comes.
Dr. Thomas Fuller (1654 - 1734), Gnomologia, 1732