Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Lawn Gnome in the Living Room

As many of you already know, my husband had surgery two weeks ago for an ongoing spinal injury. He was nervous about going under the knife, as any reasonable person would be. This was his first time having anything major done, his first experience with anesthesia, his first time spending the night in the hospital. It seemed normal for him to feel apprehensive about everything. I started to worry about the recovery process, however, about a week or so before the surgery, when he slumped about the house (in too much pain to do much of anything) breathing heavy, anxious sighs every ten minutes or so, rolling his eyes towards the heavens, and calling everyone he knew to say goodbye "just in case". Dear God. 

The surgery went about as smooth as could be expected, health wise he was recovering appropriately, but it became clear to me from hospital day one that maybe wives shouldn't be their husband's nurse maids. We snapped and snipped at each other while he moaned and writhed in pain. "Help me change position", "No! Not like THAT!", "Aargh! What do you want from me?!", "I'm not an invalid you know, now help me put on my socks!", "Do you want me to make you soup? What more can I do?!" Ugh, it wasn't pretty. 

We have spent long hours the past two weeks up in the middle of the night with him trying to find a comfortable position, discussing his bowel habits in great detail, and me trying to drum up the same compassion I have for my patients in the hospital, or my kids when they're sick. I'm embarrassed to admit how challenging it has been to really feel anything besides annoyed at how long it is taking for him to get better. Do other people feel this way when their mate is out of commission? Does this make me a bad person? A bad wife? Probably. I'm sure a better woman would feel terribly concerned, dote endlessly, and never want to scream out in irritation when grumbled at from the sofa to change his bandage for the fifth time that day. 

I felt especially guilty this week when he was able to get around enough to make a sloooww painful trip to the store to buy me flowers to thank me for taking care of him. Oh the guilt and shame. But he was so whiny! But I'm an asshole. Perhaps it's a bit of both. He is one whiny, sniveling, annoying sick person. And I suck at taking care of him. Thank god I take care of pregnant women and not injured relatives. And I will maintain that men are not as tough at getting through surgery as women. This must be a documented fact somewhere. It must. 

I guess the reality is that it's hard to see your mate as anything other than your strong hardworking partner. And having your husband planted in the living room like a lawn ornament watching endless reruns of Law and Order can get awfully old after three solid weeks, especially when there is no recognizable end in sight. Regardless, I'm feeling like a pretty callous person at the moment, and trying hard to channel my frustration with the situation into a positive force. It really could be much worse, but I'm pretty sure I couldn't survive that. 

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