Feet on the ground. Tears in the clouds. Swimming in Jello. Going nowhere. Waiting. Praying. Listening to hopeful music, music from when Katie was a baby and Bruce and I made slide shows about the wondrous Sunday School program at Christ Episcopal Church.
There is nothing I can do. NOTHING. But sit and wait.
When he returns from a second surgery on his foot, will he even have one? Will the doctors decide the infection is too bad and amputate? Will his body respond to antibiotics so he is eligible for a skin graft?
Will he even make it out of surgery?
I know to those in the medical community, surgery is an everyday occurrence. No biggie. But for those of us waiting in the empty hospital room, sitting by the phone for an update, every passing second is an omen of bad news. That’s what we—those of us who wait—think about as one nonsense TV show surpasses the next.
Tick, tick—-wait—-tick, tick—-wait.
Let me explain: Bruce is my ex-husband. We’ve most definitely had an interesting relationship over the years, including the 10+ we’ve been divorced. As much as we’ve both moved on, in many ways we haven’t. We care about each other and want the best. We have a shared history, family stories, and know each other better than practically anyone else. He’s seen me at my most vulnerable, as have I, him. The thought that he is hurt or in pain hurts me. I actually feel like I could vomit any moment. I want him to be OK.
Sitting here waiting, I’m on the verge of tears. Once again, writing is saving me, giving me a place to roll around in the grass without anyone seeing.
If you read my last blog, you know I’ve been struggling with the sale of my family abode, the home occupied by my sister and cousin. A couple of days ago, I was helping them pack up Mom’s china. It was all I could do not to lay on the ground and weep. I “get” that houses are material objects, that it’s the people inside that counts, that everything is transitory. I “get” all that. But loss is loss is loss. In a couple of weeks, I won’t be able to walk in the front door and silently say “Hi” to my long-deceased Mom and Dad. All the ghosts will be gone: Auntie Marjorie, Uncle Bill, Auntie Madge and Uncle Lou, Chris, Carolyn, our dog, Major, and Kitty Bummer. I won’t see Mom in the kitchen preparing the rump roast or Dad playing giddy-up horsie with the grandkids. It will soon be a mirage.
And now, Bruce. In surgery, as I type.
The known and unknown.
And I don’t like it one bit.
I want to be a little kid. I want to go on a picnic. I want to play Barbies. I want to twist to The Beatles.
I don’t want to be an adult any more. I don’t want to be strong. I don’t want to be positive and stiff upper lip. I want to live at Disneyland. I want to wear pink and purple and drink vanilla milk shakes and never get fat. I want to read “My Side of the Mountain” for the first time and climb on monkey bars and get tan like a Hershey bar without worrying about getting skin cancer.
I want to start over and appreciate every single milkweed crack in the sidewalk. I never want to get mad or angry. I just want to put on musicals in the backyard of our perfectly imperfect 1950s Spreckles Lane track home. I want to wait an entire week to watch “The Wonderful World of Color”. I want to be Mary Poppins.
Life is getting too grown-up-serious and I don’t like it.
Until, until, until a grown-up in scrubs tells me the good thing or the bad thing, I am going to believe in glittery rainbows. “Bruce was a smashing patient. The surgery was successful,” Dr. Kim will say with a big grin on his face.
Waiting is better than knowing.
Until the nurse walks in: “You won’t see the doctor until tomorrow. But he did well. They cleaned up the wound and did a skin graft.”
And when he returns to the room smiling, a pink glow flushing his cheeks and ravenous for the salmon dinner on tonight’s hospital menu, a thousand years of worry drops from my shoulders. At least for now, the crisis called diabetes, has been averted. Thank God for God. Thank God for science. Thank God for the brilliant medical team at Torrance Memorial Hospital. Thank God for wine, which I surely will be consuming as soon as get home.