Its 11:00 p.m. and I just got back to Chris’s parents house. Grammy and Grandpa have been watching Gabby while I am with Chris at the hospital. It was a long day. A long day of waiting, waiting for the Doctors, waiting for the nurses to get Chris’s nausea meds so he won’t loose everything he just ate for lunch, waiting to help Chris get from his bed to the bathroom, waiting with Gabby in the waiting room so his mom can visit with him, waiting for a transport to another room, waiting to find out results on a scan and just waiting for Chris to feel better. While I am waiting I hear the constant beeping of a distant monitor, nurses laughing outside the door while you watch your husband closes his eyes from the pain he is feeling, and always the constant inner thoughts of “what else can I do to help?”
Tonight I will crash at midnight, wake up to feed my 9 month old at 6:30ish, fall back asleep until 8:30 and then get ready to go see Chris at the hospital. I’ll get there at about 10:00 a.m., right in time to be there when the Doctors come in to talk to us. This usually takes about 15 minutes with all of the questions and concerns I have had recently. I will help him get washed up with warm wipes and then help him get dressed. After that I’ll get a lunch ordered for him, we wait for 45 minutes and then eat together. He is usually pretty tired after that so I will help him get comfortable and then either read, knit or get on the computer while he snoozes.
Some days he is able to get comfortable and sleep, others he tosses and turns and it’s a struggle. We buzz the nurse to ask about more morphine. He’s not due for 20 more minutes; we wait. 25 minutes go by and we buzz again. He gets his morphine and then 20 minutes later he falls asleep. 10 minutes into sleeping and a nurse comes in to draw some blood and you give up on the possibility of taking a nap. 2:00 p.m. quickly turns into 8:00 p.m. Some days it feels that we are making progress and turning the tide and the next day we are sliding down hill and more problems and complications occur. I’ll leave the hospital between 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. and do the same the next day.
It’s a different world and a different life when someone in your family is in the hospital. Chris isn’t in isolation but he has a possible very contagious infection called C-diff. Gabriella isn’t allowed in his room, so my husband hasn’t seen his daughter for a week now. I think I might be more bothered by it then he is and of everything that is going on this is what scares me the most. We’re a family, and I can only be with either my daughter or my husband, not both. Our quality of life as a family, our memories are put on hold.
For all of my complaining and bad attitude I am learning to be thankful. I have always been thankful for my husband; he is my best friend, mentor, admirer, and soul mate. And ever since my 5-½ lb. little girl was put in my arms in that hospital room, I can’t believe that I have the privilege to take care of her and be her Mom. There are no words to describe how thankful I am for her. But it is easy to forget to be thankful for something so normal as normalcy until it is taken away. Ann Voskamp writes an incredible book called “1000 Gifts: A dare to life fully right where you are”. It’s all about seeing the ordinary as incredible blessings and finding joy in life’s trials.
On my way home from the hospital a couple days ago I just started balling my eyes out. I came to the realization that we may never again have the chance to relive those times where Chris had the energy to do normal things; that the hospital, the doctor appointments, the struggle to eat and struggle to get up out of bed are our memories now. And then as I was praying and crying out to God for some comfort, a wave of thankfulness washed over me as I realized that I can still have and make lasting memories with my husband, its just not in the way I would like it to be.
So here is a starting list of “now” memories, the “now” gifts.
- Holding Hands
- Gabby’s smile at her Daddy after not seeing him for 5 days
- Knitting a scarf
- The memories Gabby is making with her Grammy and Grandpa
- The comfort of God as I sit in quietness
- The delicious coffee drinks and smoothies at the hospital cafe
- The moments Chris has complete pain relief
- Being in the care of really good nurses