I started to wonder if my husband-to-be was a superhero a few hours after surgery.
I also learned I’d never make it as a nurse.
The day of surgery was a hard one. I started having pretty intense pains while we were in the hospital and I swear they were sympathy pains. I’d get a stabbing pain in my side everytime I was nervous or we were about to get some news. We laughed about it but it really was strange.
Joe created a “zen” vibe in the hospital room on the day of surgery. He wanted things very quiet and he played spa music on Pandora from his phone. My mom and grandma had flown in from up north and my grandma rubbed Joe’s head as we all waited for the nurses to come and wheel him away.
Joe’s mom paced the room. Now there’s a lady who’s been through some stuff. Joe’s dad was diagnosed with cancer 7 years ago and is still fighting today. Their life has been turned upside down over and over again and now here she was waiting for her son to have a tumor removed from his body.
This was different than watching your husband go through it, this was her baby.
We all were riding high on the smooth but nervous energy in the room when the techs came in to say it was time. Almost immediately you could feel all of our hearts beating faster, tears filled our eyes and this overwhelming sence of fear sunk into our stomachs.
I don’t know where it came from but I asked the people to give us a minute, which they weren’t pleased about. They’re trying to run a hospital and need to stay on schedule. But I didn’t care and shut the door, almost in their faces. Ran to Joe’s bedside and said for us all to grab hands.
Joe is not the praying type. It kinda scares him and he’s really not sure who is listening. So we’ve found other ways to reach out to the big man.
We grabbed hands and I said, “Okay we need to do our affirmations, so repeat after me.”
I don’t think anyone could argue with the the sense of urgency in my voice. It wasn’t a question, it was a command.
“I am strong”
They repeated, “I am strong”
“I am powerful.”
“I am powerful”
Joe looked at me with a smirk and repeated.
“I am good”
“I am good”
“I am powerful”
“I am powerful”
“I am good”
“I am good”, we all said in unison.
Joe looked and me and said, “I think we need to get you a thesaurus.”
With that we laughed, and felt good and powerful and strong. It was just what we all needed at that moment not to fall apart and I know the big man sent me some strength to do it.
The surgery part was easy.
Joe went to sleep and we all sat in the waiting room.
Joe’s brother and I ate pizza and I felt this amazing calm.
It was terrible but I felt good because it was the first time in a week that I knew there was nothing I could do and I wasn’t responsible. It was the first time I felt hungry and could take a moment of “me” time. It seemed weird that while Joe was being cut open I was eating pizza but it was what it was and I would need my strength for the night we had ahead of ourselves.
When the doctor came out he told us that surgery was over and he had removed the tumor. A tumor bigger than a golf ball but smaller than a tennis ball. Two people could go back and see Joe in the recovery area. It was the first time I felt overwhelming fear. I was terrified to see Joe with the tubes and bandages. I volunteered to let his mom and dad go ahead in an act of kindness or so they thought. I really wanted someone else to go in and tell me what it was like, how he looked and if I could handle it.
My mom must of seen the look on my face and known what was going through my mind. I mean I am her little girl who wouldn’t look at her own scar for months after surgery, who cries for her mom everytime she throws up and is convinced she’s dying everytime she gets a touch of the flu.
My mom, a registered nurse and my angel decided she’d stay the night with me at the hospital to help with Joe’s recovery. Thank God she did.
There are a few things you should know about Joe. He doesn’t know about patience. It’s his way or the highway right at that very moment. He’s a business owner and the oldest child. He’s an ‘in charge’ type of guy and he likes it that way.
These people make the worst patients.
Joe woke up from surgery completely afraid of everything around him. He didn’t know where he was or what was coming out of him. The tube you see in the picture is went down through his nose to his throat and into his stomach.
He started moving aggressively and pulling at everything. I had to run out into the hall and put my head between my knees because I thought I was going to passout right there.
Joe was very annoyed and very angry. He had not mentally prepared himself for this. He was snapping at me when I was trying to help and honestly I was nervous to even touch him.
My mom told me to ask him, ‘What do you need?’ instead of just doing it for him. He needed to feel the power and independence in a moment when he was really pretty helpless. It was then that Joe did something amazing. He started reaching his arms out stretching as far as he could and then moving his legs up and down.
I wasn’t sure what was happening and I asked him as I was trained to do, ‘What do you need?’ He grunted and moved his body around again the best he could with an incision vertically up and down his abdomen.
He then said, “I need to know my limitations”.
Here he was a fresh out of a serious surgery, sore and in a lot of pain. He was confused and out of sorts but instead of lying there and letting everyone around him take care of things he was pushing himself.
He didn’t stay put in fear of what would happen, he wanted to know how far he could go.
He continued on like that throughout his recovery and amazed me every day.
Each step he took was symbolic to all he had to face.