Perspective~


It’s an amazing word– perspective.  I got a huge dose of it today.  You see, for about four weeks, my husband has been in some pretty horrific pain.  Bad pain for six, but truly awful for four weeks (nearly five now).  He’s been off work for those weeks.  No work.  Bed rest– literally.  Let’s just say he’s been a complete invalid, dependent upon all of us for everything.  It’s horrible to see someone you love in that kind of pain.  It’s horrible to see a strong, athletic man reduced to bones on a bed.  (Did I mention he’s lost 15-20 lbs?).
I don’t want to say I’ve felt sorry for myself.  I think that’s a bit extreme, but I have felt very sorry for him.  After all that time, he has an MRI and discovers a “bulge” in his disk.  Apparently, that bulge is a “big one,” 7mm.  So, they transferred him from Ridgecrest to Lancaster at 1:00 a.m. last night.  After an hour and a half in the car, I arrived at the ER in Lancaster for the rudest awakening of my life.  Welcome to the “big city,” Chautona.
At the ER entrance, a man searched my purse and sent me through a metal detector.  From there, I went to talk to security who informed me that I would not be allowed in to be with Kevin.  Instead, I was to come back the next morning at ten a.m.  That made me nervous.  After some more talking, the one man suggested calling the nurse and asking if I could come in early.  I did that.
So, after all that hassle, and only four fitful hours of sleep, I got up, showered, got dressed, and went straight to the hospital.  BTW, the security guard was wrong.  Visiting hours are 8:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m., not 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.  Ahem.
The neurosurgeon came in and gave us our options.  Basically, cortisone shot in a “Facet Block” or surgery.  He recommended the Facet Block.  He said that as a surgeon, he likes surgery, but Kevin was too young to go that route.  So, they did the block.  As for me, I traipsed up and down halls, in and out of elevators, and sat in numerous miserably uncomfortable chairs while all this happened.  I was running on fumes, and physically growing more exhausted every minute.
At dinner time, I went to eat.  I planned to go to Marie Callender’s, but then I remembered that a friend gave me an Outback Steakhouse gift certificate for my birthday.  So, I went there.  I figured a little red meat wouldn’t hurt me any!  After that fine meal, I zipped over to Target, bought a couple of games and a word search book for Kevin, and drove back to the hospital– gone much longer than I wanted.
As usual, I walked into the lobby, past security, and into an elevator.  At the lobby area of the second floor (where Kevin is located), a huge Hispanic family was gathered.  Some weeping, others with pained faces, and still more seated, hands covering their faces.  A hospital representative stood amidst the group, explaining that passing would be soon, they needed to take the time quickly to say their goodbyes, how many would be able to be in the room at a time– the works.  It was heart wrenching.
Look, I’m not a very emotional person.  I don’t cry at births, weddings, and often not even at funerals– certainly not at Hallmark commercials.  This just about killed me.  Perspective.  My husband has a perfectly correctable malady.  He has a bulged disk.  It’s repairable.  Even if it wasn’t, HE IS ALIVE and this problem isn’t going to kill him.  My children don’t have to be pulled into a group outside his room and told how to say goodbye.  They don’t have to hear about how they need to leave the room before the machines are turned off because they want better memories than sometimes happens at the end there.
By the way, in case I hadn’t learned my lesson well enough, I forgot to get my Coke when I came into the hospital.  I went back downstairs to buy one, and saw another man standing there explaining it all– all over again– in Spanish.  Those who were bilingual got to hear it twice.  The group was much more emotional now.  Can you blame them?
You know, there’s a children’s book, “It Could Be Worse.”  Well, let me tell you something.  Yes, yes it most definitely could be worse.
I’m praying for my husband tonight– who wouldn’t be?  But I’m praying for a large, extended family who is saying goodbye to their lovedone tonight.

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