Friday, April 22, 2011

In Case of Emergency

Yesterday was somewhat of a milestone for me.  Although it may not seem like much to the outside world, it’s something that I know my widda peeps will understand.

I went to a doctor’s appointment with my boyfriend (I hate using that makes me sound like a 12-year-old) to find out whether he was really sick...or just in excruciating pain.  The appointment wasn’t IN the hospital but it was in an office within a block of the hospital, an area I’ve avoided for the past 4 years.

The good news was...the doctor really thinks that whatever he has going on is benign, which is what I tried to focus on as she explained that screws, metal plates, and painful surgery will be necessary to fix the problem that he has.

I know it’s not me going through it...but I’ll take that over the alternative any day.

We’ve spent the last couple of weeks, wondering and worrying how what the doctor was going to tell us yesterday would affect the future.  Before his initial appointment 2 weeks ago, I remember sitting down to dinner and wondering if this would be the last “normal” evening we would spend together.

Because, as we all know...once you hear certain can never go back.

Before the appointment yesterday, we busied ourselves with the small home improvement project of painting my son’s room.  Or I should say...I kept him busy painting my son’s room because my shaky hand and impatient nature usually makes painting projects come out looking like some sort of abstract drippy, blotchy piece of art.

As he rolled, brushed, and filled in holes, trying to cover up the disastrous paint job I had done 6 years ago (with red paint, no less), I said, “Aren’t you grateful that we have this project today that’s mindless but keeps us busy until your appointment?”

He gave me kind of a deadpan stare and said, “Yeah.  Thanks.”

What can I say?  I’m always thinking of others.

As I showered and got ready to leave, I felt that familiar tightening of stomach muscles that I didn’t know I had and tried not to think about what might be coming.  But I couldn’t help it.

A million scenarios ran through my mind.  What if they wanted him to stay for tests?  What if they said they wanted to admit him immediately?  What if the tests involve surgery?

I started thinking about when I went to the hospital after my husband’s accident.  When the nurse called that morning...she assured me that my husband would be fine.  I packed clothes for him to come home in (a bag that is still packed and sitting in my of the “mysterious widow things” I can’t seem to get rid of).  And I packed a bag for myself.  But after the shit hit the fan at the hospital later that day, it became apparent that I had packed the wrong things.

Since the accident had happened in July, I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, unaware of how hot and cold the hospital gets.  Nothing in that bag was even remotely helpful to me through the next 3 days.  Now that I think about it...I don’t know what in the hell I packed (I do remember having my all-important People magazine).  And I wasn’t going to make that mistake twice.

I dressed very carefully yesterday, wearing layers and comfortable shoes.  I didn’t wear my favorite jeans...I wore jeans I thought I could sleep in if I had to.  I packed my purse full with a book, phone charger...anything I thought I might have to have for the next 24-hours in case I couldn’t come home.  I debated on whether or not I should wear a scarf that would look cute with what I was wearing...and could double as a pillow later if I needed it.

I tried to discreetly prepare myself as much as possible...without scaring the crap out of him.

It didn’t occur to me until this morning how weird and kind of sad that was.  That I couldn’t take someone to a doctor’s appointment without worrying that we might not come home for awhile.

But we did.  We left.  Just like a normal appointment that a normal person would have on a normal day.  Well...except for the upcoming screws and plates and stuff.

I will tell you that our relationship hit a new level yesterday that my widow friends will understand.  As I was driving him to his appointment and he was filling out paperwork, he asked me a question that I consider a big step.  A new level of commitment that really says where we are.  It’s not something I was sure I was ready for, but just have to take the plunge.

“Can I put you down as my emergency contact?”

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© Catherine Tidd 2011

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