Saturday, May 14, 2011

In Sickness, In Health, Insanity

Beloved Spouse is having minor surgery next week. The procedure will take about an hour, which means we'll be at the hospital all day. Even minor surgery requires all kinds of specialized preparations.

His recovery will take about three weeks.  To him it will probably feel like three months. To me it will feel like 600 years.

BelSpouse, bless his heart, is not what the ancient Greeks called a stoic. Discomfort is not his thing. Suffering in silence is right out. Have you ever had a medical professional ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10? BelSpouse refuses to play that game. His scale consists of two numbers: zero and 11. And so does his accompanying volume control.

I'm not a very good nurse for this type of patient. I prefer someone more like the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

"It's just a flesh wound."

I'd much rather take care of someone who protests that there are others far more deserving of my time and care, even as he grits his teeth to keep from crying out in pain. Someone like Ashley Wilkes or Mr. Spock. Someone who would call me his "merciful angel" and smile through the agony in his noble eyes.

I don't think this is too much to ask.
So naturally the next few weeks are going to consist of a series of hurled curses followed by icy silences on both sides. Because when we exchanged wedding vows all those years ago, we promised to love, honor, and cherish, even when one of us was being a passive-aggressive whiner and the other was acting like a total bitch. This is going to be fun for everyone, including the neighbors.

Now, his doctor has recommended that BelSpouse spend his days in a recliner as a more comfortable and convenient alternative to being bedridden. I've long resisted my husband's genetic urge to put an ugly, puffy man-chair in my home. But now that it's been prescribed, it's no longer a hideous chair but a piece of medical equipment and, of course, a necessary part of his treatment. (His doctor is a man, by the way; a female doctor obviously would have recommended a chaise longue.)

Post-op, man vs. woman.
BelSpouse prefers to recuperate in the master bedroom, so at least the recliner won't be in my living room.  But fitting the recliner in the bedroom requires a complete rearrangement of the furniture. Did I mention that his medical condition precludes moving heavy objects? You bet it does.

So I move the bed, the heavy desk, the 12-foot stacks of old test papers that he swears all history professors keep in the bedroom, and the TV and associated equipment. I create a cozy space for BelSpouse to sit in his recliner, close to the bathroom and surrounded by everything he needs to make his recovery go smoothly. It's hard work, but it's worth it to make him as happy as he can under unpleasant circumstances.

Then he announces that when I unplugged the satellite box to move it, it stopped working and won't start up again. So he no longer wants to recuperate in the bedroom and I'll have to find space for the recliner in the living room.

He doesn't understand why I now insist on being present for his pre-op consultation. I just have a few questions I want to ask.

Please take a moment to say a prayer for BelSpouse and a quick recovery. I plan to say a rosary myself. I plan to use my longest strand of beads, too, just in case I feel the need to wrap them around someone's neck like the merciful angel I am.

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