Bullet Train Joyride

Can’t stop! Having surgery soon!

You ever feel like you’re on a train that’s going too fast, but then you look at the control room and the engineer who keeps the accelerator on is you, and the brakeman who refuses to slow down is you, and the coal-shoveler is you, and you all realize you should probably slow down but you’re all so busy doing your jobs that slowing down makes no sense?

This is my life right now. My kids are starting school next month, which means shelling out SO MUCH MONEY because they’ve outgrown their pants, shoes, school supplies, and coats. I’m juggling notes from my critique buddies (aka beta readers) for Bai Treason so I can wrap it up and send it to my publisher with a bow on top. I’m also plotting out and researching my next project, which will not be a Bai book so it might just have a non-punny title (right now I’m leaning toward Tranquility Land).

Why am I in such a rush? Why is everything so urgent? Why is the bullet train that is my life careening around corners and blasting through level crossings? Surgeries. Two of them.

All summer, I’ve blissfully denied that I’m having surgery soon because the first one isn’t happening until September and hey, that’s a whole season away. Ages away!

Now, however, September is breathing down my neck. It’s running its back-to-school fingers through my hair and whispering sweet shopping lists in my ear and suddenly I’m very aware of the fact that all of this will come crashing to a halt soon.

I’m not one of those people who has surgery and then moves on like nothing happened. It’s extremely disruptive for me. Pain, pain meds, nausea from pain meds, physical therapy, the unavoidable torture that is crutches, it’s all disruptive. My first surgery, in September, should mess things up for a week or so, and then things will hopefully go back to normal.

The surgery at the end of October, however, is a big one. A doozy, you could say. That one will keep me on crutches for six to eight weeks. I’ll lose all my muscle tone in my left leg again and have to learn how to walk for the second time in as many years. It’s going to be a challenge, and you can trust me on this because I’ve already done it.

So I guess you could say the reason my bullet train life is speeding out of control is because I know my awesome, reckless train has to pull in for some scheduled maintenance soon so I’m getting some joyriding in while I can.

The only thing I can do is hope this scheduled maintenance keeps me on the rails for a long time. Fingers crossed.

In Sickness and in Health

1148904_10152132338809392_1379764411_nWes and I have been married eight years now. Well, technically, seven years fifty one weeks. Our eighth wedding anniversary is next week and I’ve had much occasion to think about the vows we took that day in 2005.

You see, Wes had minor surgery last week. As I’ve learned from my own brushes with surgery, however, even surgery that’s preceded by the word “minor” means pain and limitations for a good long while.

It was difficult for me to watch Wes get prepped for surgery. Part of the reason, I think, is that there was a strange reversal of roles. Well, there tried to be. Rather, I tried to let there be but it didn’t work out. You see, Wes is the emotionally steady, unshakeable, indefatigable rock of our marriage. He’s confident, he’s calm, he’s rational. I’m a bit more excitable. You can measure my emotional highs and lows with a Richter scale, and because of my inexhaustible imagination I am quite good at conjuring worries where there needn’t be.

Prior to his surgery, I kept asking Wes how he was doing, prepared to comfort him if he needed it. He was fine and in no need of pep talks. Despite his stoic calm, I told myself it would not be permissible to worry. In no universe is it ok to make my husband comfort me before he goes in to surgery.

And then the nurse told him it was time to go back to the OR and my treasonous eyes cried a little, despite my sternest warnings that they were to remain steadfast and dry. Wes laughed at me.

During the surgery, I fretted. I gnawed my lip, I picked at my cuticles, I looked up every time someone walked by, I all but paced the tiny waiting room. When two hours had gone by on what was supposed to be a 60-90 minute surgery, I started feeling a bit frantic. I just wanted to see him with my own eyes to make sure he was ok.

The nurses took pity on me and let me come back to the recovery area a little early, and then something interesting happened.

Wes was in a lot of pain and extremely groggy, but I was fine. It wasn’t until I was bringing the car around to come get him that I started feeling rattled, but then as soon as he was in the car next to me I was a rock. I finally got the chance to be the steadfast one!

The next few days passed in a blur of the hundreds of menial little tasks you do when you’re taking care of someone post-op, and it seemed to me the perfect way to spend the weeks leading up to our anniversary. Because a relationship untested is a relationship unreliable.

It’s been nice to meditate on the “In sickness and in health” part of our marriage vows this last week, to be there for Wes the way he’s been there for me so many times before.

Of course, everything is almost back to normal now. Wes is still required to take it easy (ha!) and not allowed to lift anything heavier than ten pounds (so no kids), but he’s back to being Super Man and I’m back to being…Well, me.

Here’s hoping 2014 involves a lot fewer trips to the O.R.