(Mike insisted last week pre-surgery, "Let's take a before picture. You look smily and happy! Then in a few hours we'll take an after picture." I think Mike knew better than to take an after picture.)
Last Thursday, I had a hysterectomy. The surgery went well, but those initial 24+ hours afterwards were hell. The nausea and vomiting was horrible. I felt like I was in a back and forth dance step with the nurses...they were trying to help control pain, I was just trying to quit feeling sick. They wanted to keep trying different drugs until I told them I didn't care what my pain level was, I didn't want anymore pain meds. I'd deal with the pain, once the nausea subsided. I was right...even though it took far too many more hours to get it all out of my system. I'm pretty in tune with my body. I wasn't sick because I was hungry--and therefore DID NOT NEED THAT DISGUSTING CUP OF CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP AT 12:40AM. I put one bite in my mouth for the nurse, and wanted to cry. I think I did. I declined anymore, and then allowed the second shot in my bum of anti-nausea medicine to knock me out, and within hours, all the anesthesia and pain meds were out of my system, and my stomach growled of hunger and the nausea WAS GONE. (There were quite a few heartfelt prayers offered too--I won't give full credit to the medicine alone.)
Mike is my favorite. He is far from a romantic. There were no fancy bouquets of flowers, or handwritten get-well cards from him, but having the person you love most in the world, hold your throw-up bag while you fill it, or help remove the blankets because of what didn't make it into the bag says I love you more than many words could. He sat by my bed for hours and hours while I dozed in and out of sleep. He calmed me when I got agitated, and laughed at me while I hallucinated. (He has a page and a half of quotes I apparently said/asked during my drug induced state.) Although, I clearly do remember a bird flying over my head in the hospital room, and having to duck to avoid it. Mike insists there was no bird, and I was laying perfectly still when I exclaimed, "Agh-there's a bird in the room." Apparently I thought there was a cow down in the hospital lobby too, but that's a whole 'nother story. I may or may not have accused him of making too much noise playing a game of "Bop-It" as he silently sat perusing a landscape magazine.
Upon my arrival home from the hospital, Mike's unconditional love has continued. The laundry, the meals, the clean-up, the constant, "Sit down." "Get back in bed!" instructions speak louder than any "romantic" notions could. He loves me. Not that I ever doubt it, but as I've watched him to double-duty, I have felt so much love from him through his simple gestures and hard-work. Although, I say he is not a romantic, I can't discount the flower that he pulls from a nearby bouquet on the counter (from someone else!) that has been placed on my breakfast tray every single morning, when he (or a child) hand delivers the breakfast to my bed. It sounds trite, and I'm recording it only for me, but the fact he squirts my ketchup into a little separate condiment dish rather than on the plate with my egg, along with the egg/grilled peppers presentation, and the flower to the side speaks volumes to me. I'd take a photo, but the only tray we have...a cheap purple plastic one from Target I bought 15+ years ago for Megan sort of ruins the ambiance of the whole thing. I must buy a classier tray for such breakfast in bed gestures.
We have had several meals brought to our family. Last night it happened to be me that said the blessing on the dinner before we ate. As I expressed thanks for the food, my heart was filled with true gratitude, and I had a hard time speaking aloud the words of my prayer. Though I've prepared and delivered many meals for other families, there is something humbling about being on the receiving end. I'm truly grateful for the kindnesses of others.
I'm not a television, movie, or Netflix person...typically. Except since Saturday, I've watched about 10 hours of a charming BBC television series set in 1870's England. I have about 5 hours left of the series, and I'm quite committed to not starting another. I find myself wrapped up in the lives of a department store 100+ years ago, and though I would have absolutely adored dressing in those dresses each day, I think the fact I dreamed last night I was part of the charming 1870's community, tells me I've spent a little too much time in front of a screen.
In an email just before surgery, my mother-in-law was reminding me to take it easy, and then said, "Be sure to keep wearing your pajamas for effect." I've thought of her each morning after I shower and get dressed in....pajamas. I think it is wise advise. I may start wearing pajamas out of the blue every so often. It'll be code for, "Today I'm taking a day off."
I have a softer side to me than Mike does. He's a little more strict and firm with the children in the morning than I am, and when Joshua informed me this morning he hadn't had breakfast yet because, "we have to clean", I was reminded how anxious everyone is for my return to normalcy.
I think my family appreciates and realizes how much I really do for them and the house. Mike is shocked how many wet towels are on the floor by 8:20 each morning, and how often the laundry baskets re-fill after he's emptied them. I think the children prefer my type of after school snacks on the counter, rather than the bunch of rotting bananas and bowl of wilting grapes Mike set out for them on Monday.
I have dear friends, and a good family.
I love that my body is physically healthy and strong. With the exception of a few internal body parts that hadn't been working correctly lately and needed removing, I'm physically fit and healthy--for which I am very grateful. I don't like that I feel exhausted after climbing our stairs. I miss not being able to run up the stairs two at a time, and I don't like that I have to lay down and rest after showering. But I know it will soon pass, and I'm anxious for that to happen.
I'm trying my hardest to quit feeling antsy about my rest. In a few weeks, I will likely long for a day to stay in bed with no commitments or expectations, except to take it easy. So I will enjoy it for a few days longer, while I can. I won't think of the things I could be helping with, or what things aren't getting done, I will simply enjoy my friends that come to visit, the books on my nightstand, the last few series on my Netflix feed, the games with my children, and the lazy moments throughout the day, when Mike returns home to help with Drew, or to switch the laundry, and he lays down in the bed next to me for a while, even though I know he has 549 other things he should or could be doing at the office.
Laying low for so long now hasn't been easy for me, but this temporary change from normalcy has some benefits for us all. Because honestly? I quite enjoy the sound of Mike vacuuming downstairs right now, while I'm laying in my nightgown in bed, at 9:17am doing nothing but posting this blog post, and then I plan to watch something on Netflix.