Mr. H-B's recovery from having his pesky little appendix removed has taken up our entire spring break. In the words of the inimitable Michael Gary Scott, "The timing was nothing short of predominant." Of course, I know that we got lucky (fine, blessed) with the timing, even though it meant canceling our plans to visit my parents for Spring Break.
In the meantime, I have been practicing my mothering/nursing/caretaking skills (and failing miserably at times) in a paltry attempt to make up for my lack of sympathy the night Mr. H-B went to the emergency room. In short, I thought he was being a baby.
The longer version of the story goes something like this:
Mr. H-B stopped at the W^l-marts to get some cream cheese for something I was making for dinner. As he was getting in the car at about 8:30 pm, he suddenly started to feel ill. By the time he got home, he was feeling bloated and nauseated. I thought he had some kind of gastrointestinal distress, so we googled ways to get rid of, ahem, flatulence. After several unsuccessful (though very gymnastic) attempts to clear things up, he settled in on the couch. I said something nasty* about Mr. H-B not calling an ambulance because we couldn't afford one.
I went to bed at about 11:30, thinking to myself, "Man, my husband is a baaaaaaby!"**. At about 12:30, he woke me up and I greeted him sweetly with something like "WHAT!?!?!?"***. He begged me to take him to the emergency room. We got there and he continued to complain about his abdominal pain. He had yet to spike a fever (and never did, actually) and still had not vomited (which he wouldn't do until after a dose of morphine while his entire family was in the room—never seen a room clear so quickly as a matter of fact), so even the emergency room triage nurse wasn't entirely convinced. The pain got progressively worse until he could barely stand up. That got the nurse's attention and they cleared a bed for him.
At that point, he finally got some pain medication after the nurses started his blood work. We called his parents and they came to sit with us at the hospital. His blood work indicated that he had some kind of infection, though a CT scan would determine where the infection was located. The nurse brought in contrast mixed with grape juice, which Mr. H-B hated. Following his scan, a doctor came in and confirmed what I didn’t believe. Appendicitis. Within the hour Mr. H-B was in surgery.
To say my emotions were raw is an understatement. I was running on an hour of sleep and totally paranoid that my husband was just going to drop dead. I went home for a few minutes to send emails begging for substitutes and paper extensions. Oh yeah, and to bawl my eyes out. My wonderful dad was online, so I filled him in on our situation. He called me and reminded me that “100 years ago they did those with rusty sardine can lids”. I pulled myself together, took Greta out and went back to the hospital.
Mr. H-B was out of surgery and resting in his room less than twelve hours after his appendix pain started. Of course, the real trial was just beginning.
I’ve never cared for anyone following surgery, especially not someone who comes from the B Family legacy of absolute intolerance of pain. That being said, I have been impressed with Mr. H-B’s lack of whining. The last two weeks have been a blur of 4:30 am pain pill doses accompanied by spoon-fed yogurt, daily bandage changes, and keeping up with all of the housework (not all that successfully, I might add). Since Mr. H-B can’t lift anything over 15 lbs. for the next 6 weeks, he hasn’t been able to help much around the house.
I have learned more about me, Mr. H-B and our relationship in the last 13 days than I have in the last 8 months of marriage. I have said more than once that true love means sniffing bandages (as per the nurse’s instructions) to be sure gangrene hasn’t set in.
*In my defense, I was cranky because the husband of one of my mother's friends was killed in a plane crash early that morning. Though I wasn't especially close to him or his wife, he was always kind to me when I visited my parents.
**In my defense, he also insisted that he had appendicitis when he had the flu last semester. You can imagine why I didn’t initially believe he was in that much pain.
***In my defense, I am always cranky when awakened after an hour of sleep. This is why I limit my naps to 30 minutes at a time.