Thursday, July 21, 2011

Red Eyes and Tears

     I've not really had to do a continuation of a blog post before, but there was just so damn much that happened last week that it's necessary. Yesterday's post was long enough with just the story of the actual surgery to get through that I couldn't keep going. As important as it is for me to keep this record of what it's like to be married to someone with Marfan's Syndrome, both for others who are in my situation and for my and my husband's friends and family who aren't here in St. Louis with us, it can be draining at times. I also use this as a form of coping with some of the heavier things that go hand-in-hand with being partnered with someone who is chronically ill, so it's really a trade-off for me. I'm learning to take the bad (reliving and dissecting the bad moments with him) alongside the good (the invaluable feeling of getting all this out of my brain, which was already far too crowded before my husband came along.) Like everything else, it's just a balancing act.

     By the time we arrived at our house, the numbing drops my husband had been given at the hospital had almost completely worn off. The drops weren't to address the pain from the surgery, but rather the pain of the corneal abrasion that had decided to park itself on his eyeball. Speaking as someone who's had both ocular surgery and a corneal abrasion, I'll take the surgery pain (which is actually pretty negligible) over the other any day of the week. Like I said before, the best thing I can compare it to is having a piece of hot ash stuck between your eyeball and eyelid. Either way, my husband was not in good shape when we hit the door.

     Obviously, he was very sensitive to light and midday July was about the worst time this could have happened to him. Once he was in the cool, dark house, I thought it would be a little better for him, but it wasn't. He thought for sure one of the four stitches in his eye was poking the eyelid and that's what the pain was from, though I suspected differently. (For the record, my suspicion was right! This was not, however, the time for "I told you so!") I have to say, I've seen him in pain before and because of everything he's been through with the Marfan's, my husband has a pretty high pain tolerance. This, though? This eye pain was unlike anything I'd seen him deal with before.

     He'd also been told by the surgeon to continue to use the erythromycin cream in his eye to both prevent infection and lubricate the eye, thus reducing discomfort. It's that "reducing discomfort" part that we were both fixating on when my husband went into the bathroom to attempt to put some in his eye. Obviously, the lights weren't on and he was having a hard time with it, probably because it's difficult to focus when you're in ridiculous amounts of pain. I offered my assistance, but he couldn't stand the thought of my hand anywhere near his eye, since he'd just spent a good portion of his eye surgery AWAKE and totally aware of the doctors cutting on him.

     At one point, before he was finally able to get the cream in place, the pain was so bad I thought he was going to come apart. He told me, "You gotta call that doctor, I can't do this," over and over, spitting out the words so quickly and repeatedly that I couldn't understand him at first. I knew there was nothing that could be done, though, so I instead made him focus on the task at hand and stayed by his side until it was accomplished. Finally, I was able to lead him into the bedroom, where it was cool and dark, so that he could go to sleep. Having experienced myself what he was feeling, I knew the only way my husband would find relief was if he wasn't awake.

     He slept (mostly) for the rest of the day, while I puttered around the house and checked in on him periodically. He seemed pretty quiet, which made me happy. I knew from experience that the first day of having a corneal abrasion is the worst and that if he could just sleep through the rest of the day, Friday wouldn't be nearly as hard on him. I felt like if we could just get through the night, everything would be much better in the morning. The problem with that line of thinking was that for one of the first times I can remember, the morning seemed like it was so far away.

     I know I've mentioned before  that I get overwhelmed by the big picture once in awhile, but this was different, this felt different. I guess I was feeling lonely? I phrase that as a question because loneliness is not an emotion I'm overly familiar with. I'm a solitary creature by nature, so I enjoy my time alone, but even when I do want company, I never have a lack of companions from which to choose. I'm not the most popular kid in school, but I do have a tight circle of loyal friends that I know I can always lean on. If anything, I'm the girl who looks for reasons to not attend social events because I don't feel like I get enough time with no one around me.

     So again I say, what the hell? I just wandered around the house, restless, not able to read a book or even log into my World of Warcraft account. I actively wanted another person to talk to, to give me human companionship. That's so unlike me that I wasn't quite sure what was going on. In fact, it's only now, after almost a week of thinking on it, that I'm beginning to realize what was going on. You'd think that after such an adventurous day, I would've been zonked out in bed next to my husband, but I just could.not.settle.

     I don't know if it was seeing my husband in such pain, more than I'd ever known him to handle before, that had me feeling so off or if it was more than that. Maybe it was just a very isolating experience and I wanted someone to share it with, someone to tell me that I was doing the best I could to take care of what I loved.  (I don't always feel like I am, by the way.) Maybe because the specific pain wasn't foreign to me at all this time, since I'd been there myself, that's why I was feeling so off. It wasn't like his back pain, when I can only imagine what it must be like. I knew what it was that he was suffering through this time around and I was pretty much useless to help him. God, I hate feeling like that.

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