Sunday, October 10, 2010

Human Emotion

The human heart is an interesting thing. In all actuality it is merely a part of the puzzle that is the human body. It is not capable of emotion. So why then is it capable of breaking? Somewhere in the depths of the human soul there lies a tie to the human heart and it seems as though when one aches the other follows suit. Human emotion is likely one of the most difficult things to understand. What I am having trouble understanding is how can sadness and devistation turn so quickly to anger? When you are told that your whole life is going to change, that your best friend is going to leave you it is a feeling that cannot be described. The day of Matts first surgery will be one I will never forget. We were so hopeful and even excited. I felt guilty for wanting him to have the surgery so bad, I did not want him hurt but I knew it would make him better. I kept asking him if he was nervous. I must have asked him a hundred times. It was one of the last things I asked him before they took him into surgery. His answer was always no. The truth is, I kept asking him because I was terrified. I wanted to be in that OR holding his hand, not because he was scared but because I was. After they took him from me I didn't know where to belong. I couldn't stay in the pre-op waiting room but I couldn't quite face the family waiting room by myself either. I felt akward and so alone. If ever I needed a hand to hold it was that moment. I checked into the waiting room so they could find me after the surgery was over. I felt as though I were being cataloged. I sat to wait and waiting soon turned to worry. I found myself thinking of all the things that could go wrong and what would happen if they did. I didn't have long to worry before the surgeon entered the room. It had not been the 2 hours she said it would be and immediately my heart began to pound. She smiled and sat down next to me. We were surrounded by other families of other patients who were waiting for their good news. From her smile I could tell it had gone well. She told me he was done and headed to recovery and that the operation had been a success. There was good indication that this first surgery would be the solution we were looking for. I sighed with relief and thought about how silly I had been to worry so much. He was fine and our lives were going to get better as he did. I was so busy doing a happy dance in my mind that I was completely unaware of the news that was to come. I was broadsided, I never had a chance to see it coming. She began to explain that when they entered his brain cavity to perform the third ventriculostomy she found that the part of his brain that stores memory was paper thin. I didn't know what this meant. She went on to explain that the tissue should be thick and healthy but due to the chronic hydrocephalus it had been damaged. I felt a wave of shock hit my body. We looked at one another and then she said the words that changed the course of our lives. "you can expect him to lose his memory at an early age." what did that mean? I didn't want to ask but the words slipped out and sounded like they belonged to someone else. The whole experience felt like it should belong to someone else. "how early?" I asked. "within the next year to two years is what I suspect." she answered. The numbness began at my toes and spread like wildfire through my body. I immediately thought of Claire in her wedding dress. What a funny thing to think of but it was there and clear as day. The numbness reached every part of me but the heartache broke through and so did the tears. If the human heart is incapable of feeling emotion I wondered why my chest hurt so badly. I blinked hard as not to let the tears escape my lids but it was too late. The salty drops ran down my cheeks as the surgeon told me we were going to try to remain positive. She shook my hand and then she was gone. Just like that she was gone and everyone around me could see my naked shock and my tears. I fled the room. I didn't know what else to do. I called my sister. I needed someone to calm me down and she was who came to mind. After speaking with her it was phone call after phone call repeating the same information to too many people. I knew the worst was to come, I knew I had to tell Matt. When they took me back to recovery to see him he looked so much better than I thought he would. Our roles had changed however and without either of us knowing it, I had become the caretaker and the bearer of bad news all wrapped into one. It took me nearly two hours to tell him. I knew I had to tell him before the doctor came to the ICU to see him but I wanted us to be alone for this conversation. In the movies there is always that moment where the bad news can be given in private so as to spare some dignity of those involved. We did not have that. There was nurse after nurse and so the news spilled out in spurts as they entered and exited the room. When I finally did tell him he began to cry. "is this going to kill me or just make me crazy?" he asked. I didn't know how to respond because I knew that no answer I posessed would bring him comfort. We cried together. That was the beginning of the rest of our new lives. It's amazing how quickly ones vision of
"happily ever after" can change in an instant. Nothing could be worse than this, not even the second surgery just one day later could top the anxiety and despair of that day. Now we live with a ticking timer in the background of our days. Counting every lucid second we spend together only we don't know when this timer will run out. Now i find myself mourning the time that we will lose. My sadness often turns to anger before it turns to despair and this brings me back to my original conclusion that human emotion is likely one of the most difficult things to understand.

1 comment:

Mary said...

Aubrey, I am so very sorry that this is happening. I wish I had comforting words for you. I am keeping you in my prayers for I can't imagine the challenges you will be facing.