September 9, 2012 at 4:45 am (Death and Dying, Living, Living With Chronic Illness, Mental Health) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

The hospital, as an organism, never sleeps. In the hallways, it’s perpetually noon with the bright lights and the temperature control. There are people wide awake, doing their jobs like evry other day. They aren’t surprised that you’re awake, crying, holding your abdomen in pain.

They realize it’s time for more pain meds. You sigh a little. They help, at least the IV ones do, but your pain is a seven and your best hope is to get it to a five. You start to feel a little disomfort in your arm, but you don’t really care because your belly hurts worse.

The nurse comes back and starts to push the opiate, but it doesn’t feel right for both of you. Your arm starts to swell, and swell, and burn. She disconnects the highly acidic antibiotic and pulls the IV. She tells you that even at 3am, they can get an IV tech to put in a new line.

I am not tired. I should be. I had another emotional phone call with my spouse, where I tried to explain how hurt I am that he has refused to come see me, has failed to call me to ask me how I’m doing, not once. The man who claims to want to be friends, who wants this separation to be compassionate and civil.

All he wants to talk about is the car he promised to get fixed. He tells me that it’s reasonable to have to keep it filled above half a tank and that it will probably just continue to stall. Since I am in the hospital and the person who is helping me the most is already splitting her time between being here with me, moving both of us to the house in Hagerstown, and getting ready to start a new job, I ask him to help with getting it back from the mechanic he chose, over an hour away from us. Somehow, though, this is easier and makes him feel better than asking me how I feel, what’s happening in the hospital.

I ask him why he hasn’t asked. He rattles off some information he’s read on the Internet, vague and disinterested. I should make it clear that although it may seem like I share everything here and/or on Facebook, but that is not the case. I shared with him a little, just to show him how much he doesn’t know, but it feels like force-feeding a child.

I hang up the phone and cry. In the span of less than a month, a man who held me and told me he loved me could care less about the fact that I am having one of the scariest hospital stays I’ve ever had. He *says* he cares, but the proof is in the pudding. Or lack thereof. He can find a way to go out and have fun with his friends, but finding a ride to Baltimore is out of the question.

I think about the future. I had to cancel my appearance at an upcoming event because the doctors are thinking I will still be here when it begins. In four days. I’ve already been here six, and both the surgeons and I know that there’s a lot of frightening, dangerous stuff on the horizon if I don’t start looking better. Considering my abdomen is now redder and more swollen than yesterday, I don’t think “better” is coming any time soon.

I am blessed with a woman whose love and devotion for me, her desire to see me happy and healthy, is the only thing keeping me together. In a fucked up way, I feel bad; all this hit her by surprise too; a month ago she had just learned about her new job and thought she had all this time to get ready. Instead, without much discussion, she’s there for me practically around the clock. I love her for doing it all – I shudder to imagine this situation without her – which is kinda funny, because my spouse was never a big fan of hers. I feel bad because I’m a blithering lump of tears and need and medical emergencies.

She starts her job on Monday. I will be here alone all day; it doesn’t sound so bad until you see how much help I need getting around, as well as remembering what the doctors and nurses tell me. I just don’t have the same kind of support system in Baltimore than I do in Rockville.

And I can’t even fantasize about going “home”. Home, in my head, is the townhouse in Germantown. It wasn’t perfect, but it’s where I am most comfortable. It’s where most of my belongings are. It’s much, much closer to my regular doctors which I’m going to have to see for follow-up. But when I approached the spouse about sharing residency (either splitting time there or finding a way to cohabitate just during this medical situation) and he refused. Well, to be fair, he said he’d be willing to vacate the place for a day or two if I really needed it, and if I scheduled it in advance.

I expected that over time, he would want to be less and less involved in my life, regardless of whether we were trying to be friends or happier hating each other. I have made several overtures to try to reach out to him, to get a sense of what he wants from all this. But what I didn’t expect was him to move on so quickly I haven’t had time to move my belongings out.

I know I’m venting quite a bit. It’s my blog and I feel like I have all this stuff going on in my head. But there’s a point here, something that relates to the themes of this blog. It’s just taking me a little longer to get there.

In the end, no one will ever care more about your life than you. Even when a lover looks deep in your eyes and swears fidelity, knowing full well you’re suffering from a chronic illness. I know I have lots of friends and lovers who care, and I haven’t forgotten about them. I think Winter has finally seen enough of the current medical situation to understand the severity of it. But at 3am, when you have occasion to sit in pain and wait for another shot, knowing that the surgeon is coming in a few hours and you have to show them that things aren’t going the way they hope; and all these emotions are swimming around in your head, you feel so alone. (Even with Rave sleeping in the background.)

I’m not trying to be melodramatic here. I’m not dragging all of my readers into my divorce drama. I’m trying to capture a moment in time, a moment where I am scared and feeling abandoned and heatbroken. With my arm swollen freakishly and my gut radiating pain, I honestly don’t know if three more days will be enough, and if going “home” is the comfort it’s supposed to be.

This entry is for Winter, Alex, Ruth, and especially Rave. Thank you for being there, for standing by me, for your comforting words and actions and energy. Thank you for loving me unconditionally, accepting me for who I am in sickness and in health. I will not forget this kindness to me, and I will never take it for granted.



  1. Killina said,

    You will not be all alone on Monday.

  2. Fala said,

    If you need a friendly voice, please… call. Any time of the day or night. My cell phone is always nearby, even if I can’t be nearby physically. (Where is my teleporter?)

    Love ya. And I still love your hair.

  3. Shakti Lemaris said,

    Witnessing. Wishing for best possible outcome.

  4. Renee said,

    I’m sorry I can’t do more than just call you tomorrow. I’m going to write that down, though, I don’t forget to reach out to you. I’m so, so sorry that you’re mostly (physically) alone through all this. I can’t imagine how incredibly frightening this is but I can imagine, just a bit, what it would be like to face that kind of thing without the support of the person who’s been providing support for years. I’m sorry you’re facing this in that situation.

  5. Elizabeth said,

    Remember that there is an elf who loves you, too, Del, even though I’m far away.

  6. mandalamama314 said,

    “In the end, no one will ever care more about your life than you”
    truer words were never spoken! I’ve been through the STBX-spouse + health crisis a few times, and they always are in a hurry to move on. you know why? because of the GUILT. they absolutely know how much they’re hurting you, and they don’t have the guts to embrace their own emotions, much less process them or share them with others. (i learned about this when two exes contacted me many years later, apologizing, after they’d matured.) you have the strength to face your toughest emotions head-on, I can imagine that scares the STBX.

    Rave sounds like an absolute treasure. please don’t ever underestimate her need for appreciation and praise. I speak from long experience. 🙂

    • mandalamama314 said,

      doh! I forgot to say: you’re never alone when your Threadspruces are asking about you and posting updates, and sending prayers and light, even lighting candles. your sphere of influence may be greater than you think 🙂

    • Del said,

      I can’t agree with you more. My STBX (great acronym!) is pretty consistent in accusing me of making him feel guilty, and at first I very seriously took a look at what I was saying and doing to see if I was being purposefully manipulative. I spoke to a therapist about it and she said, “No, Del, you’re not MAKING him feel guilty; he feels guilty because he has GUILT for doing something wrong, for making selfish decisions; he *is* guilty.

      What kills me is I have been doing everything I can to make this process easy on him while still getting my needs met, and he still accuses me of being manipulative. I honestly can’t help it that right after he dumped me, I ended up in the hospital with a pretty systemic problem that requires a number of procedures/surgery. If anything, maybe this is a test being set by the Universe: is he really ready to abandon me and our relationship and move on, or is this just a momentary issue where he needs a little space? I’ve come to a place where I’m okay with either, but he needs to choose and stick by it.

  7. Tracy Rydzy, MSW, LSW said,

    Wow, that is really powerful. You are a wonderful writer and I am so sorry you have to go through all of this.

    • Del said,

      Thank you for your compliment. I guess in an odd way, if I wasn’t going through “all of this”, I’d have a lot less to write about, which would make for a boring blog. So it has it’s upsides, in its own way.

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