March 26, 2008

They even brought me treats

During the Week of the Kidney Stone Surgery (a week I am hoping will soon be over — please keep those prayers coming), I have spent almost every minute of the day and night with my husband who has been, for the most part, in excruciating pain. We've been at the hospital, at the urologist's office, in laboratories, and waiting rooms — or here at home, in a quiet empty house. We have both been so sleep-deprived that it all became a blur; the days and nights sliding together. My laptop computer, which I used mostly for looking up information about the kidney stone surgery, and his cell phone have been our main contacts with the outside world.

My younger two kids became nomads during this time. I didn't want them staying home alone while my husband and I were overnight at the hospital, and my husband didn't think it was good for them to be in the house when he was writhing in pain. But there were any number of places where they could stay: my mother's house, my sister's house, my daughter's off-campus apartment, Neighbor Family's house, Quick's house. Boy in Black came home and spent the night with them the first time we went to the emergency room; my daughter came the next night and stayed with them while we were still in the hospital and then chauffeured them from place to place.

My sister-in-law, who is a nurse, helped translate medical jargon. My daughter and Sailor Boy went grocery shopping so that we'd have food in the house. My father and brother-in-law offered to drive the kids anywhere they needed to go, or run errands. Blonde Sister, who is especially close to my youngest two because she was their babysitter for years, invited the boys to come to her house. When my husband said that the one food he felt he could eat would be a strawberry milkshake, my daughter drove to a place that makes them and brought him one. My mother-in-law, who has a host of health problems including untreated depression and anxiety, lives in an assisted-living home, and usually my husband and I pick her up for holidays, but Red-haired Sister, who was in town for Easter, came to our rescue and took care of her completely, including picking her up and bringing her to dinner at my mother's. It was a relief not to have to worry about her. My mother fed all my kids and sent me Easter dinner, on a plate covered with tin foil.

As exhausted as I have felt during the last week — sleep deprivation took its toll — I didn't have to worry about anything except taking care of my husband. I'd check in with my youngest son and hear that he was playing happily with his cousin at my mother's house. I'd feel hungry, and someone would appear at the door with food. I'd call Shaggy Hair to see where they were staying that night, and he'd tell me that they were having a ping pong tournament at Neighbor Family's house, that With-a-Why and Philosophical Boy were in the midst of a game. I had a whole list of people I could call if I needed someone to run an errand. And a whole group of online friends, too, who sent prayers and emails and comments and Easter greetings.

I can't help but think about some of the other patients I saw that first night in the emergency room: people who seemed to be completely, totally alone. I can't imagine what it must be like to go through any kind of medical emergency or health problem without a network of supportive friends and families to pick up the slack. So as difficult this last week was, it also made me feel very lucky.

And it was vegan

Beautiful Smart Wonderful Daughter even brought me a vegan dessert from a downtown coffeehouse.

22 comments:

Sarah Sometimes said...

yes thank god for supportive and loving friends and family. I feel blessed that way, too. Sending you a hug through the ether. A big one!

Gawdess said...

what a time.
the chocolate cake looks delicious and a good way to end a post about blessings.

Linda said...

I'm glad you all have been well cared for. I think that chocolate cake would make me feel better!

Brigindo said...

Support systems are critical. It sounds like you have an amazing one. Hope it is all over soon and life gets back to normal.

Miranda said...

Jo(e), I'm keeping the prayers going for you and your beloved husband. Hugs.

BlackenedBoy said...

My father was in the hospital yesterday, and so I know how you feel, though I wasn't there with him.

He's had some medical problems over the last year or so, some of them fairly serious.

I wish you the best, and sincerely hope that your husband gets better soon.

There is almost nothing worse than some type of health condition with a family member, but his seems like it will be temporary, and at the very least you should take respite from that.

YourFireAnt said...

Jo(e), you've really been through it, and your writing was so understated one might not know how hard it all was (& painful for your husband) if one didn't already know about these things.

Glad there's a blink of light ahead. Get some sleep.

Thinkin' of you....

FA

Anonymous said...

Iam so glad you are coming to the end of a really hard time.
What you wrote about some people not having anyone nearly made me burst into tears. I am living overseas from my home at the moment and just had to have surgery -I had to sit for hours prior to surgery alone and woke up alone-my partner and kids are here but there was no one to care for them and one of them was sick with a flu. It was a truly awful experience..anyhow this really struck a cord with me.

Sian

The Simpleton said...

Yow. Two people I'm close to have had kidney stones in the last year, including one who had a stent for nearly three months while they blasted the 2 cm stone(!) into increasingly smaller smithereens. You are blessed to have so many people who care about you, but it also speaks well of you.

Still praying for you all.

listie said...

Just catching up - I'm so sorry to hear about your husband's illness.

sending good thoughts your way

kathy a. said...

your circle of friends and family is truly wonderful, everyone stepping in with just what you needed. hope your husband is feeling better.

the only time my husband has been in the hospital since the kids were born, he had been riding his bike at night and was found unconscious by the side of the road. it was just terrifying. we had friends the next block over who came to stay with the kids, and i'll never forget the relief of having them there. other friends helped out later. the kids never knew how scary the whole thing was -- they had a wonderful time.

[it was a freak accident -- apparently a pothole in the road caused his rear reflector to bounce down onto the tire, acting as a brake -- and he got off with a concussion, scrapes, and a few stitches.]

Lilian said...

I'm keeping you in my prayers, Jo(e). How wonderful it is to have friends and family to support us.

Nadine said...

Thinking of you and your husband. I'm so glad you have such wonderful, caring friends and family.

I am right now eating an Easter dinner that my host teacher brought me because she was sad I'd been alone on Sunday. It feels nice when someone cares!

Rev Dr Mom said...

Hope your husband is on the mend...and so glad you have such a wonderful support system.

Thoughts and prayers coming your way.

Karin said...

What a blessing to have so many loved ones in your life ready to jump in and help when you need it. I hope your husband is on the road to recovery and that you get some well-deserved rest as well.

KM said...

oh, so sorry, jo(e).
//goodwill//

your strength will be sustained. :)

jackie said...

You and yours are in my thoughts, but I'm glad you're feeling so supported. I have had kidney stones several times, and it is such an agonizing experience.

liz said...

I'm so sorry I was out of touch during this time. I hope you are feeling better.

Many many many hugs.

liz said...

I meant to say I hope your husband is feeling better and that you are both more rested.

Sue said...

Still praying here too...

Horace said...

I had kidneystone surgery about 18 months ago (I'm feeling much better now), and thank god for Willow who helped me get through it. And this is how we connect: helping out when those you love feel like they have a carving knife in their lower back.

lizardek said...

It's surrounded by blessings you are. I'm glad to hear things seem to be moving in an improving direction.