I don’t know how long Michael was in surgery this morning, I just know that I got a call from his surgeon sooner than I expected to. The surgery went well. They located the obstruction and removed it, as well as some tissue that had died as a result of the obstruction, and put him back together, good as new. After surgery he was taken back to ICU on a ventilator and various other accoutrements. He’s been through a pretty major trauma, and his body needs to rest and heal, so a machine would breathe for him for a while, and various other contraptions would take care of various other tasks for him, so really, all he has to do at this point is enjoy the vacay. Ha. Ha.
I went to see him this afternoon. Remembering how difficult it was to see him after his cancer surgery, whereupon I proceeded to have a sobbing-screaming-pounding-with-my-fists breakdown in my truck in the parking structure of the hospital, I steeled myself on the drive over this afternoon for how he would look, pale and helpless as a baby, hooked up to all kinds of monitors and tubes and whatnot. It wasn’t going to be pretty, and I was going to suck it up and be strong.
So I strode – that’s right, strode – into his room, took one look at him with a giant tube down his throat breathing for him and various other stuff taped across his face, lying there unconscious, and broke down. Of course. The staff was so kind, really. They must see this all the time, various next of kin coming in and falling apart at patients’ bedsides. I was doing the hiccupping sobbing thing, and someone discreetly called a social worker to come talk to me. She took me into a little conference room, sat me down with a box of tissues and proceeded to ask me all kinds of kind, caring questions while I bawled my little heart out. She asked me about family. I hate that question. “I don’t have family. We’re estranged.” This is usually a fork in the road in new relationships – they either get it, or they don’t, and if they don’t, you can see a wall of judgment go up. She said, “I’m estranged from my family too, don’t worry about it.” Ahhh. Okay, maybe she was lying to make me feel better, but I’m totally okay with that.
Michael’s car is still parked in the ER parking lot, since he drove himself there Saturday night. I was looking for his keys and discovered that everything he came into the ER with – his clothes, his keys, his wallet, his phone – were missing. His nurse started making phone calls to try to track it all down. Then a doctor came in to look Michael over. This was during my crying jag (maybe he was the one who called the social worker?), and it came to his attention somehow that Michael’s personal effects were missing. I told him the nurses were trying to track it down. He said to me, “Let’s go find it. Come with me.” And I followed him out and to the unit where Michael was yesterday. He stopped at the nurses’ station and said indignantly, “Where is the charge nurse?” He explained that my husband’s things were missing, in a how-dare-you-cause-this-woman-any-additional-anguish-by-losing-her-husband’s-things sort of manner. I was a little embarrassed (because I really don’t think it was anyone’s fault), but also grateful. One of the nurses at the station pulled a bag from behind the desk. “This it?” she asked. Yep, there were all his things. Phew.
Anyway. Michael was in and out of consciousness. They actually took him off the ventilator while I was there, so that’s a good sign. He’s on major pain meds and can have nothing by mouth for several days. The surgery he had was very much like the surgery Finn had at birth, so a lot of this looks very familiar actually. It’s hard to see someone you love like that – diminished, helpless, in pain. Because he was intubated, he had a lot of difficulty talking, but he wrote on a piece of paper for me, “I’m here,” and “I was scared. Shitless.” That pretty much says it all. I would have given anything to crawl into bed with him and just stay until he’s better. But of course, I couldn’t. I had to get back home to the kids. And that’s tough, being torn like that.
He’ll be in the hospital for several days, possibly a week. And after another major abdominal surgery, I imagine he’ll need several weeks to recover.
Friends are rallying around us, as they have in our times of need before. Another crisis survived. I am grateful.