One might think that this would get easier, but it doesn’t.
These moments, these days that lead up to another surgery for Ben are hard for each of us in this family.
We soldier on, there’s not much we can do to stop it. And we each express it in our own way, tucking in, lashing out, sleeping, talking, avoiding, grinding our teeth.
The weather was coincidentally grayer and gloomier today, which ordinarily I love, but just didn’t help my mood at all as I stepped in and out of the house, trying to get a few chores accomplished before taking Ben and Mark to the airport tonight. The monotonous drizzle didn’t offer me any comfort. It just reinforced my blue mood. I didn’t have the attention even to offer to my current knitting project, an activity that might have helped me feel better. I didn’t have the energy for anything, really, and spent most of the day avoiding accomplishments.
Standing in front of the butcher counter at the market earlier this afternoon I had the desire to choose something to nourish us at dinner, but I had no appetite either for eating or for cooking. So, I left without making a purchase. For some reason, a few hours later, after dropping Ben and Mark at the quaint little Charles M. Schulz – Sonoma County Airport I had a stronger desire to stop again at the market and pick up chicken and make an elaborate meal. But it soon passed and I opted for taking Harry, Toby and Rysa (Harry’s girlfriend) out for Mexican. So much less taxing and that is a good thing on a day like today.
This will be the second to last of Ben’s childhood surgeries. I hate to say something like that, sure that it invites bad luck, but for goodness sake, that child has had enough bad for a lifetime. Let this be true and let me say it out loud! SECOND TO LAST SURGERY. 14th of 15.
Dr. Cho, our new surgeon at Shriners LA will be removing the 17” rod that is hooked to Ben’s spine and ribcage. The rod will come out and then we will wait…and see…and breathe, I hope. We’re really only waiting to make sure no infection pops up. If it remains “all clear” we’ll return to LA in mid-August for his final scoliosis surgery. Fusion. 13 vertebrae into 1. More on that later.
We had a scare with infections last winter and are being extra cautious about how we proceed towards the BIG ONE in August. We are doing a surgery to prevent extra surgeries, complications, infections. You don’t have to tell me that there is a part of this that is actually ludicrous. Every time you have surgery you have a chance of contracting an infection whether or not you have metal in you or not. We know this from too much personal experience. We’ve gone through it with Ben twice in his life and it was traumatic both times. But this is the course of action Dr. Cho recommends, that Dr. Cho said he’d take with his own child, so we’re taking that to heart and proceeding.
I recognize the paralysis I feel. I have no energy to make or do or accomplish. I want only to huddle. Or surf the internet. Truthfully, even that feels like too much energy to expend. I am wanting only to power down and play endless, mindless games of spider solitaire on my phone.
We are almost done. Almost through with this excruciating path. It is somewhat of a relief to know that, but standing in the way of that relief is the knowledge that first Ben must endure two more operations, one of which will be his fourth major one.
Ben was quite calm, happy even, joking with his dad when I left them at the airport. He holds it all in. Reassures me that he’s fine. Today at the orthodontist, there to have his wires tightened, he opted to go for it even when the doctor offered to do a “light” adjustment. “What’s the difference? I’ll be pumped full of pain meds in a couple days,” he said. Glutton for punishment, I say.
I’ve already heard from them that they’ve touched down in LA and are on to pick up a car and grab some yummy ethnic food. They have their routine, which is a little different now that they are travelling only to LA and staying with relatives rather than at the Ritz-Carlton. But they know how to do this, this warped version of a trip that they take at least twice a year.
I look out the window at the fog shrouding our pasture and trees. The rain has stopped, we’re moving on. I breathe in, feeling a bit of relief, the first step is taken. We move forward.