Tightrope Walking

While my husband remains in the Cardiac Surgery Recovery Unit (CSRU), I am struggling to maintain some sort of equilibrium so that my own health (ME/CFS) does not worsen.  It is a tightrope walk, for sure.

The day of surgery, I went to the hospital twice, both for extended periods of time.  When I woke up yesterday, my left foot was in spasm.  My daughter took me to see Ric, in a wheelchair, and offered to take me to get some groceries, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to walk even a short distance.  Back at home, the cramps had spread to the whole leg and I could feel the familiar swelling of my lymph nodes in the groin – a sure sign I was pushing the limits.

We all have times in our lives when we need to reach deep into our well of resources and pull out that extra bit of energy to get through difficulties, however; for me – already at bottom – there is nothing but a dry gravel bed.

Seeing him in that post-operative state with so many tubes and hook-ups, swollen and clearly in pain, also pushed me overboard.  My daughter was shaken as well. ” It is, after all, major surgery,” I tried to reassure us both.

After a short nap, I called the hospital for an update.  They put Ric on the phone, but he was in obvious distress and did not want to talk.  Worry escalated. They would not be sending him back to the floor as previously stated.

“He is getting one-on-one nursing care; this is your time to rest up,” a nurse friend counselled.  “Likely he is so drugged that he won’t remember much of this time.”

I found some comfort in her words.

Shortly after, a friend arrived and set about cooking me supper.  Both legs were refusing to work by now, and my right arm was joining in the protest.  Lying flat on my back seemed the only option.  I was so beside myself, I didn’t know if I was hungry, just needed rest, or should break down and cry.

It is amazing how much the kindness of others can boost spirits.  The dinner tasted like manna from heaven, and the cheery banter lightened my mood.

At 8:00 my phone read:  “Caller ID blocked”.  I answered warily.

“Hello Love,” my husband’s voice, hoarse and crackling.  “Just wanted to wish you a goodnight.”

Words caught in my throat.  “This is the best news I’ve had all day!”

“I’ve just bought myself some longevity,” he said.  “Didn’t have it before, but I will now.”

Thank God!

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

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