I woke up this morning well before Mary. As usual, my first stop was bathroom then on to kitchen for coffee. That made I was on the computer following my routine through the various e-mails that come in over night. Realizing it was 9:45 I went to wake up Mary and we both prepared to leave for the hospital. I went to the garage, opened the garage door and as I was walking around to open the door I realized I felt small. Shorter. As if I were in a fog.
At the hospital, we went up to the women's center on the second floor and signed in. A nurse came to take us back so Mary could do the pre-op prep. Suddenly the nurse stopped and said I would have to stay in the waiting room, she would get me when it was OK to join Mary. I panicked, I felt smaller still but I did what I was told.
Finally we were in the pre-op room together. Mary handed me her rings (I shrank some more.) The Dr. came in, he answered questions, explained about the procedure and going to sleep. Then the surgeon lady came in and went through it all again. She left. A nurse came in asking Mary a series of questions. Once done I looked at her and said I guessed she was there to take Mary away. She was.
Mary and I kissed, I shrank some more. Mary had told me that if something went wrong I was to let them do a hysterectomy. WRONG? WTF WRONG. Let's just go home I thought to myself but said nothing as I walked away.
As directed I went to the cafeteria. I'm in a fog again. Everything is pushed back and away from me. I walked around the food court looking at all the different stations and got back to where I started. A fish sandwich with fries. A diet coke and I'm at a table eating a tasteless sandwich on a big bun, no condiments. The fries are cold, the drink is warm. It should be, I didn't get ice.
I'm back in the waiting room, book open, reading, studying. I'm taking notes, high lighting passages and it all seems like a dream. Time is wrapped in molasses but my heart is racing. Finally the doctor is there telling me Mary is OK, how the operation went and about sending a specimen to the lab. She left. I packed up and waited to be told to go get the car. A nurse came in asking me questions. explains about taking care of Mary tonight, has me signing stuff. All of this filtered through the fog, at a distance from me.
At last I'm out front. The valet has brought the car. Standing there waiting I feel faint. I sit in the car in the open door. Waiting, where is she, what's wrong? Then she is there and we are in the car headed home. She wants to stop for a coke. The fog starts to lift, I know she must be OK if she wants a coke. Another stop at the pharmacy where the girl we know offers her a chocolate cookie. Mary says great, I say no. not until you have lunch. Mary backs away, I relent and take the cookie for her and the fog lifts some more as we banter back and to about the cookie.
We're home. Mary is in bed resting. Then she's up. We're talking and I feel like I'm landing on planet earth after a scary trip. Eventually we talk about my experience. She says you have to blog this so we can look at it and remember later. Really? Remember what, I wonder. LOL
Hours later, messages are out and in. Mary is eating soup and crackers in bed. Crunchy crackers and slurppy soup. Hey, I'm blogging here. jdc YADA YADA YADA and life goes on.
The Caregiver's Perspective
(A card from Johnson and Maizey greeted me when I came home from the hospital. Two dinosaurs sitting on a rock watch Noah's ark filled with animals float away. "Oh crap!" says one to the other, "was that TODAY?! The message on the inside of the card "a bad day is all about perspective."
A few weeks ago I was quite concerned about this upcoming surgery. I'll be honest, I was pretty sure I had cancer. (see http://mellington.blogspot.com/2015/06/awareness-can-come-at-any-time.html) The facts that I had no symptoms, there is no herstory of cancer in my family, and the doc only requested an ultrasound because I wanted a re-check didn't make any difference. Even though DR. J. is a psychiatrist when told me I didn't have cancer, I believed him. All my concerns floated away.
I have felt no anxiety at all leading up to this procedure. None. That said, this morning I could tell something was not quite right with Sweetie. We had the following conversation about every 15 minutes.
M: How are you?
S: I'm ok.
M: How ok?
S: Ok. Ok.
He was getting tired of me asking so I just held his hand instead.
He looked tired.
A little shaky like maybe his blood sugar was low even though he told me he'd eaten.
He was holding it together for me.
But I knew.
When he finally fessed up, I had three aha moments.
1. We know each other pretty well. When one or the other says we're "ok" sometimes that means ok, and sometimes it means no so good. We have to get better about telling the truth. Not responding how we think the other one wants us to answer, or "lying" so the other person doesn't worry. We have to get to a place in this process where we trust the other person to handle the truth. If something needs to be talked about, then we need to stop whatever is going on and talk. I would have done that before being wheeled away. I would have addressed Sweetie's fears (it makes sense now that I know because of all the times Little Jack watched his mom being wheeled away in a truck driven by men in white coats. No wonder he felt small.)
2. Yesterday we watched a video about the 7 stages of ALZ made by a woman who described each stage and how it affected her mom. The woman was very up front about saying, a lot of the information was from hindsight. As in, she might not have recognized a different stage until her mother was well into it.
By knowing that Sweetie is having these feelings, it helps me keep tabs on things. Helps my perspective. Maybe it won't have anything to do with ALZ. Maybe it's a sign that the disease is progressing to another stage. That's why I asked him to blog about it. So we'll have it documented. We can come back if we need to and say, "oh, now I get it."
3. The way Sweetie kissed me before I left for the OR was not only sweet and tender. It was long - not so much passionate as "I don't want to let go." Like that final hug a kid give his mom before she waves goodbye on the first day of kindergarten. I felt the sweet and tender. Not so much the I don't want to go. I need to be more in tune. Live and learn.
Glad the fog has lifted,