Wednesday, March 26, 2008

We Made It Through

The trauma is over. So now is as good a time as any to write about it. As you know, my husband had surgery last week. But the whole ordeal for me, was like trudging through one of those nightmares you can't wake up from. You know the kind, where your legs won't run fast enough, or you're in waist-deep mud.

I got the call from my sister-in-law that started with, "He's okay." Naturally, my stomach flipped and my heart sank to my gut. I was in West By-God Virginia, nearing the boarder of Virginia, when I realized Michael had driven himself to the hospital and was facing gallbladder surgery. On top of that, I wasn't feeling well myself. The 700 mile drive then became a test of endurance. By the time I'd made it down the mountains in Virginia, near Fancy Gap, and crossed the border into North Carolina, my back and the nerv down my leg were letting me know, they'd had enough. I've made this trip dozens of times. For me, there's nothing like coming down that mountain, looking off into the distance, and getting a view of Pilot Mountain. Home. An hour and 30 minutes and I'd be home.

But, no. My IBS hit. Or as my best friend, Tina, calls it ... poop disease. Oh yes, we're human, we can say it. Now, if you can imagine ... I'm having a bit of a problem with a disc in my back because I have sat, non-stop, at my desk for years writing books. I'm in pain, but I got to stop and find a bathroom. I can't walk fast, because of the pain. But if you know anything about IBS, you NEED to walk very fast to get to the bathroom. Long story short, I stopped at the nearest McDonald's and shuffled in as fast as I could go. Trying to hurry because I knew I had a short window to get to the hospital in time to see my husband before they whisked him off to surgery. Still, I suffered with that dreaded disease the rest of the way home.

Fast forward. I stop at the house, empty the car into the garage, change my clothes, wash my face, comb my yucky hair and get to the hospital in High Point. Just in time ... to sit and wait. They had Mike scheduled for surgery at 4 pm. At 9 pm, they finally took him.

I wobbled like a feeble old woman (awful) down to the third floor surgical waiting room and tried to find a comfortable couch/chair--anything. I watched three episodes of Deal or No Deal and My Dad is Better than Your Dad. (I'm not a game show person.) I listened to three or four doctors come in to console other families whose loved-ones were under the knife. Then I decided that I needed to rest and tried to find a quiet corner.

Ha. One family with kids sat on the other side of the room. Those little hellions ran around and screamed like a pack of wild wolves. These weren't babies, they were six, seven, eight-year olds. The waiting room was too full and too noisy to even rest my brain, let alone my body. (That's a blog for another day: Why some folks can't make their kids shut up when they're in a hospital, or in church, or in a nice restaurant. Ugh.)

About this time, I realize I've been up since 5 am, driven over 700 miles like I was running moonshine and chased by revenuers, and I'm still not feeling quite chipper. It's getting on toward 11 pm and I'm the last one left in the waiting room. Finally, the doctor comes in to tell me how disgusting and gross Mike's gallbladder was. "Okay, then. Can I see him?"

Thirty minutes later, I trudge back up to the sixth floor, where my husband is resting in his bed, quite comfortably, on some pretty good drugs. I was really hoping to get some of those drugs myself about that time. Anyway, I slid down into the chair beside him and was in too much back pain to even think about going home. I decided to spend the night, in the chair, next to him.

Now if you know anything about being in the hospital, you know the nurses are in and out of your room all night. Checking on one thing, and then another. The room is quiet and dark, and all of a sudden the bright light from the hallway blinds you and your heart starts pounding, Hey! wake up! About the third time that happened, it was around 3 am and I'm really sick. I decide I've got to find my way home to get some real rest or I'm going to collapse and they'll have to move Mike out of his bed and put me in it.

So, I trudge down to the lobby of the hospital. But at 3 am, the front doors are locked. Picture this, my hair is shot in every direction, my eyes are swollen from lack of sleep, I'm holding my hip in pain, I've not had a shower in over 24 hours, and I'm delirious. AND I can't find my way out of the hospital. Finally, a security guard stops me. "Can I help you, Ma'am?"

You bet you can. "I can't find my way out!" I looked like a homeless person who got trapped inside the hospital. I had to explain who I really was. It was not a time to worry about my pride or how I looked. He led me to the emergency room exit, and I thanked him. Okay, now I can go home.


I realize, Michael had driven himself to the hospital and parked in the emergency room parking lot. I had no idea where he parked. The lot was full. It's now 3:30 in the morning, cold as the dickens, dark, and I'm so tired I'm ready to puke. (The car I drove to the hospital was driven home by my step-son earlier that evening so that I could take Mike's car home.)

"Okay, God. I've no idea where Mike's car is parked. You're going to have to show me." And just like that ... I walked right to it, in the middle of the lot.

Finally, finally ... I made it home in time to collapse into my bed at 4 am. The next morning, I called my friend, Tina, and we laughed so hard about the past 24 hour-events, that I thought I would faint. I needed to laugh. It helped me to get out of bed, into a shower, clean clothes and get to the hospital by 2 pm to take my gallbladder-less husband home.

I had awakened from my nightmare. It was over. And so was Mike's. Here it is, over a week later, and we're both feeling much, much better.

We make it through those times of stress, those dark hours when we think we can't walk not one more step! We make it through. It's always good to wake up from a nightmare.

Life goes on.

Blessings to you and yours.

1 comment:

Dena said...

Ack! You poor thing--never rains but it pours, right? I know I'm always in a foul mood after a long drive and having to hole up in a hospital for 9 hours after that would NOT improve my temperment. You're a champ to have handled everything the way you did with a sense of humor and bad hair. =) Glad everyone is feeling better.