It's raining again. My strong, independent husband lies flat on his back,unfocused blue eyes wide open, surrounded by machines blinking and beeping; abstract art alight in the darkened room. There are tubes everywhere. I lean over the bed and for a moment I cannot breathe. There is a large, raw, open wound at the base of my husband's throat. What looks to be 100's of staples line each side of his neck, starting behind each ear and ending at the gaping hole at his collar bones. There are more staples down his left arm ending in a huge bandage with a drain machine attached to it. WHAT THE HELL.......? No one said he'd look like this. No one ever said he'd be cut from ear to ear. Are they kidding? Oh Good Lord - this is NOT what I expected. No one said there'd be an incision running three-quarters of the way up his arm.
I cannot believe how numb I am. I have to actually remember to breathe. I keep thinking that he will be horrified when he sees what's been done. We asked questions. We listened to what the endless parade of doctors told us. We asked about post-surgery. This is NOT the picture they painted.
I begin speaking to him and rubbing his head. In his drugged state he does not yet remember he cannot speak and he tries to talk. As the frustration sets in his vital signs all jump. I keep talking to him, calming him, rubbing his head, holding his hand. The tears are falling, falling-but I can't let him hear them in my voice. I just keep talking. The vital signs are coming down- I know he hears me. My daughter and best friend both speak to him and he squeezes my hand. My friend tells him that she will be hitching a ride home with my daughter. His eyes fly wide open and he shakes his head back and forth. For a moment the room is filled with laughter. He has always said my daughter is the world's worst driver and to see him respond like that - even through all the pain and the drugs - is just too funny!
He drifts back off into sleep. I've been up since before his oral surgery (Can it really be that that surgery was only one day ago?)and the nurses and my ladies are telling me it's time to go home. Time to let him sleep and let myself relax.
I keep standing there, looking at my precious world, my head spinning, my heart pounding. I whisper to him and watch his vitals spike and then return to normal. He's heard me. He knows he's ok. I can go home now. I'll see him in the morning.