No matter how many times I go through this, it does not seem to get easier. I can tell myself that he’ll be fine, I can tell myself that it’s a minor surgery. I see him even push me away this time saying, “Mom! Don’t make such a big deal out of this.” And yet.
Wednesday I lay curled on the bed, sobbing. Doing just the most mundane tasks, driving Toby to Hebrew school and making dinner, seemed out of my reach. The last possible thing I could imagine doing. I listened to my favorite Jewish music and I reread my last blog post and I sobbed. Wednesday was the day before surgery.
Despite that emotional day, I couldn’t get to sleep that night. Knowing I’d be up in a few hours to “talk” to Ben as he taxied to the hospital, made it hard to relax. At 3 am my cell phone alarm roused me from a dose. It was 6 am in Philly and I texted Ben as he and Mark made their way through the dark early morning streets to the hospital.
This time around our textversation was not nearly as involved as other times. Ben was much more removed emotionally in the weeks, days and minutes leading up to this surgery. Perhaps it’s his age (almost 15) or just the sheer number of times he’s gone through this, or maybe it’s the fact that Shriners does a good job of making sure he doesn’t have a harrowing experience in their hands. Or maybe it’s his state of denial working overtime, and being with a dad who is just so steady state…I’m the one who worries, not Mark. Whatever it was, he did not spend any energy on worry this time around. And, though I don’t want him to be someone who buries his feelings, I ask you, what is the point of worrying?
This time around Ben arrived at the hospital, the waiting area for the OR and probably even the OR itself without anxiety. He was so calm that he didn’t need me for moral support. Our textversation was fairly light, fairly sporadic between 3 am and 4:30 am when they wheeled him away and texted our last goodbyes for the time being. I turned off my phone and fell into fitful sleep, waking only briefly a couple hours later when Mark texted me to tell me Ben was out of surgery and on his way to the recovery room.
Twelve hours later they were in a taxi on their way back to the hotel. Ben’s had a harder time with the after-effects of the anesthesia this time around. Headaches and vomiting. Unusual for him. But other than that he doesn’t have any pain or discomfort. And tomorrow the dynamic duo will board a plane bound for home. Halleluyah!
No matter how many times I go through this, I don’t seem to have good recall. Day before you’ll be feeling quite anxious. Day of you’ll be exhausted. Day after you’ll be fighting off depression. If I took the time to look back over my blog posts I’d remember each step, but I don’t so here I am writing another post about how depressed I am today, the day after the surgery, when I should be happy he’s doing so well. Instead I’m hung over with the day after blues. All that energy focused on making it through the surgery then seems to filter into a dark gray cloud overhead holding just a boundariless ennui. No energy for anything. No spirit. No lightness of being. And every single time I am reminded again how I hate being across the country from my baby. I can’t even say “when he’s in pain” but I can say when I should be tending to him. Not having him near but knowing he needs some amount of tending to drives me to the brink of...of what? Anxiety? Insanity? Panic? No, no, no. Frustration. Twitchy unfocused frustration.
We have not heard from the surgeon yet about the correction achieved. Mark said it looked good when Ben went for xrays. We shall see. Until then, we shall just be where we are: on the other side of surgery #11.
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I write this to share my story, but I write this to process my story, too. I leave a trail of words, so that I can better understand my journey and so that, coming upon it in the future, my children will better understand our journey. And you, fair reader, also participate, because the words you leave me at the end, if you do, buoy me, comfort me, and tell me that my words are universal words.Thank you!