What’s Cancer Like From the Caretaker’s Point of View?

Jason 1

Friday, November 22, 2013 8:43 a.m.
Cancer Diaries: Day 192
Guest post by the husband

I’m looking out the hospital window this morning,

watching the snow fall and a flock of geese fly by.

A previous patient must’ve had small children,

because there are nose-prints all over the glass.

It’s a great view.

The nurses are busy fussing over Jenny as I write.

One is taking her pulse, another is ordering breakfast (oatmeal),

and a third is telling us about all the moving we’ll be doing today.

At some point the surgeons will visit.

Yesterday, surgery day, it was delayed nearly three hours.

I don’t think any of us were too anxious about getting started,

the extra time was a blessing, but waiting was hard.

Things started moving fast once she got a med to relax,

and in minutes they took her away. 4:40pm.

Hours passed, and the first surgeon came out at the end of her work.

She set our expectations about when we will know for certain that all the cancer was removed. She talked smack about the second surgeon being a nit-picky perfectionist.

The man is reconstructing my wife’s breasts, I think perfection will do nicely. 7:30pm.

More waiting. The plastic surgeon came out. We thought he was done, but he just wanted to give us an update. Everything was OK, he was taking his time to do his best. 9:30pm.

Its funny what you find to distract yourself when you can’t do anything at all. I tinkered with my laptop. I read Psalms 79 through 91. Big Bang Theory. Two & a Half Men. Something with Robin Williams. Waiting.

The plastic surgeon came out again. He was done. Jenny was in recovery and resting with her eyes closed. He was satisfied with his work. But I have to wait another hour because the hospital requires an hour minimum in the recovery room. 10:45pm.

Just before midnight, I finally learned the room she was being moved to, and met her there, but she was sleeping. I’ll be blunt: It was hard to see her like that.

It’s a private room with a fold-out couch so I could sleep. Sort of.

There’s a lot to think about.

So, here we are, morning, watching the snow fall and the geese fly by, eating oatmeal.

Monday, January 25th, 2016 6:51 p.m.
Reflection Diary: Day 192

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
~ Winston Churchill

No sugar-coating: The day of the surgery was arguably the hardest day of your marriage. There was fear and anxiety and waiting – LOTS of waiting. Husbands are supposed to DO things, FIX things, PROTECT their wife, and on surgery day you couldn’t do any of that. You had to keep it together and be your wife’s rock. That’s it. Honestly, it was hard not being able to do more.

Three things: First, you’re going to do a lot of waiting on surgery day; have something to keep you and your wife occupied together and later by yourself. Second, when your wife is in surgery, have someone there to be your rock for you. Yes, you need that. Third, you’re going through hell. Don’t stop. Keep going. You WILL have breakfast with your wife in the morning.


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