Sunday, August 18, 2013


rollercoaster: resembling the progress of a ride on a roller coaster in sudden extreme changeableness.

Day 3 post-op brought us these high and low lights:

  • No fever to return of fever and back again
  • A walk around the entire second floor of the hospital with a walker to too much pain to walk and back again
  • No pain to fear of having pushed too hard and back again
  • Appetite to no appetite and back again
  • Joking to moaning and back again
  • Bright eyed to depressed and back again

This is life in the hospital. Thankfully the day ended on an up note. Mark texted me to let me know that Ben made a comeback, walking successfully around the whole second floor again and half of it without the walker.

Today I saw in Ben a focus on success. I observed almost a warrior’s determination in the line of his mouth as he strains to get himself from lying down to sitting to standing, and back again. I cannot imagine the amount of resolve it’s taking him to believe in himself, believe in his muscles to do this work, that hardware to hold together. I can only see it in the intense effort of his body. The look, straight ahead, unwavering, of his eyes. He is so strong, and by that I am referring to his will, not necessarily his muscle.

But I also saw his tender little boy side, when after attempting to get his digestive tract moving again (three days under morphine are not helpful…add to that the physical situation of a spine that won’t bend, and a newly healing incision 6” above your bum…the psychological impact of all that is not to be downplayed) he felt that he’d strained his lower back and returned to his bed in terrible pain and even worse self-esteem. He blamed himself for hurting himself. And if he could have, he would have curled up into a ball. But, that is not a pose he is ever going to be able to take again.

He raised his hand to me to hold (earlier in the day he hadn’t needed me nearby at all), he whimpered when I said I’d be leaving soon to go home. He held onto my hand with both of his. He lay with his eyes closed, pain across his brow.

I told him to believe in himself and how hard he is trying. I told him that this is the rollercoaster of recovery…up and down and up and down and eventually, up again. The more you push through the sooner you’ll get off the ride.

I told him that accepting that it’s going to be like this will ease his struggle some. But the truth is, we just have to hang on till the car comes to a complete stop. I'm looking forward to getting off this ride.

And as I thought about this rollercoaster we're on, this song from my early teen years 
popped into my head! Cracks me up...and a little levity (and music) is a very 
good thing! "Love Rollercoaster" from the Ohio Players.

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