Saturday, March 14, 2015

This Time.

I have a habit of doing things too hard. I brush my teeth to the point where my toothbrush frays in submission. I've given myself blisters from mopping and sweeping and most recently from creating crumbs from the crust of old bread. I heft boxes at work all day, slamming them (usually by accident) onto metal carts and groaning counter tops. I trudge through errands in my steel-toed boots after work and I drive with my foot heavy on the gas pedal.

I've come to accept these things about myself and very rarely do I give it a second thought until I'm suddenly confronted by my own surprising softness. Softness at the point of the day when I knew I needed to be the hardest I'd been for the last 24 hours.

We've visited the hospital a lot in the last few weeks- mostly for knee-related issues that are routine and very non-scary. But then came the start of last weekend when I opened the door and was met with a husband-turned-stomach-migraine and we hit the floor running. ER, he needs fluids, he needs anti-nausea medicine, yes, we've been here before, yes we know it sounds awful, isn't there a room? oh, a hallway's fine, he doesn't like bags please give us back our bowl, here, let me interpret his sign language for you, more blankets please?

12 long hours in the hallway by the elevator.

4 IV bags of fluids.

An endless cycle.
And I'm hard throughout all of it- I know how this works, I know how this sounds, I know what to ask for and what to demand and when to tell the Dr how he's feeling and what he needs next and so on and so on. But when we hadn't seen a nurse for two hours despite being right next to the nurses' station and the Dr had left us with a vague admission promise and still I know how this works, that these things don't happen immediately because there is a procedure to follow but communication, ladies, to this tired wife who has kept vigil over her husband in case he should need another tissue or a hand to squeeze. Communication to a woman whose plan this weekend was to rest up because this week was long and hard and there's still a dog at home who's only been out twice today but we're weighing evils and he is so much more important but that doesn't make the guilt any easier. And when a nurse begrudgingly drags herself over here to the corner where we've sat patiently and quietly all I can do is cry because I don't want to leave but I haven't slept in 23 hours and I know I need to go home but she's confused as to why I'm such a wreck when he's pretending to sleep peacefully and I just wish she could have seen me four hours ago when I could have looked her in the eye and shamed her for ignoring us.

Soft when I should have been hard.

Blisters from crumbling breadcrumbs but tears when there should have been words.

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Mrs. E