Monday, October 13, 2014

Dealing with Disappointment

It is a cold, wet Monday morning and my wife is at home recovering from surgery. In the grand scheme of things it was a minor surgery. The removal of some tissue for diagnosis. I was out of town when she went under. If ever she feels the need to divorce me that fact alone would be valid enough in my mind. She encouraged me to go. She told me everything would be okay. It was rational. It made sense. It still felt wrong. It is possible that this was a good thing. It still feels wrong. In that moment, in that place, her mother may have been the greater source of comfort. I couldn't say what shape I would be in. Being over a hundred miles from something makes the process of dealing with it different. Maybe easier.
I wore contact lenses that day. To give my red, watery eyes an alibi. Dealing with dozens and dozens of people and wearing a smile is easier with an alibi.
The problem is that we started giving in to the excitement. Getting carried away by how well things were going. Loosening our guard and letting friends and family in on our secret joy. Now comes the brutal task of slowly rolling out this new development. To watch their eyes turn puzzled and their smiles slipping when my cold eyes show no excitement. No relish in presenting the latest news. Enough people knew that we had been due to get an update to casually ask "how did it go?" If I'm lucky a slow sad shake of my head is enough. If I'm unlucky they need me to elaborate.
My wife knew exactly what she needed to see. To me the screen was filled with graphs and numbers and acronyms and a shifting landscape of greys. I watched the small form fade in and out of focus, but the room was silent except for the radio playing softly in the corner. The nurse, to her credit, stayed stoic, until my wife whispered "there's no heartbeat." The critical line, the sole focus of her attention, stayed still. And then the dam broke loose.
I hugged her as best I could on the table and stroked her hair as the nurse confirmed our fears again and again. There was no mistake. No malfunction. Only a quiet form. The room was a whirl. My wife was sobbing. At some point the doctor and another technician came in to confirm again. They asked a question. I couldn't speak. I couldn't control my breath or mouth or eyes. I stood there in mute desperation trying to rein in my body enough to gasp out an answer. My mind screamed at me that it was a stupid question, but I knew they had to ask it. Perform a procedure to take the tissue to test for what might have gone wrong, or wait for it to purge naturally and maybe lose that opportunity. My wife's eyes turned up to look at me and that questioning look was a dagger to my chest. A mixture of pain, fear, and what might have been a plea for a decision... "Data." I finally managed to say, breaking the gaze with my wife and turning to the doctor. "Get the data."

Is this too personal for a blog that no one reads? Probably. It certainly has a "Dear Diary" quality to it. I can leave it as a draft, or share it elsewhere, or just click Publish and deal with any ramifications as they come.
If I'm posting this then I need to add the capstone: In my nightmares I can see this play out a dozen different ways. My hesitation in binding myself to anyone has always been the inscrutable nature of how we will react under pressure. I know without a doubt that I married the right woman. Unfazed. Determined. Lady, you make me proud to be your husband. I love you.

No comments:

Post a Comment