"The first 24 hours after surgery are critical. Every breath you take, every fluid you make, is meticulously reported and analyzed. Celebrated or mourned. But what about the next 24 hours? What happens when that first day turns to weeks and weeks turn into months? What happens when the immediate danger has passed, when the machines are disconnected and the teams of doctors and nurses are gone? Surgery is when you get saved, but post-op, after surgery, is when you heal. But, what if you don't?" (Meredith Grey; Grey's Anatomy Season 7)
I cannot imagine a better way to put my feelings into words than the above quote. Seeing Matt after his first surgery just 3 short months ago was terrifying. I sat and waited for what seemed like hours for the damn nurse to come and get me. I sat alone and scared. I felt so little. I felt so alone. I needed my mother and she wasn't there and I am mad about that. How childish is that? I am 30 years old and all I wanted was my mother. All I still want is my mother. I will admit it out loud, right now. I think it is the first time I have put it out there. She doesn't even know that and I am too childish to tell her that. I am too childish and too scared because I know she will tell me that I am strong enough to do this, I am strong enough to make this work and that is an answer I sincerely disbelieve. When the nurses finally did come to get me I followed quickly and quietly. Had I known that our world would change forever that day perhaps I would have slowed my steps just a little. I would have dragged my feet and cherished the last few steps of ignorance I would ever walk. The first 24 hours after Matt's surgery were nearly identical to the above quote. I watched the monitors, I watched the fluid drain from his head and I obsessed over every sound that he and the monitors made. I think that because my mother was not there to hold my hand I turned into a version of her and I shut my sad and scared little self away somewhere. To this day I have been shutting that sad and scared little part of myself away. Once and a while she will try to surface and I will get a glimpse of her and I hate her. I hate her for her weakness and her fear. I hate her for her obsession and her worry. I have been watching him ever since. I have been silently charting every noise and symptom that present themselves. I have been analyzing every little part of him that is or is not working right and it is driving me mad. The sad and scared person inside of me is pushing her way to the surface and unfortunately although while she is pushed deep down inside she is quiet, when she surfaces she is angry and hurtful. She cannot handle the changes that are flying at her so fast...I cannot handle the changes that are flying at me so fast. What's even worse is that I am selfish enough to feel all of this when I am not even the one who had the surgery. I am not the one in and out of the hospital every month. Is it possible that it is just as hard for the caretaker as it is for the patient? Surgery is when they saved my husband, when they gave him back to me. Now that surgery is over and we are home, I feel him slipping from me. The countdown has started and I haven't even begun to heal. The race has begun and I haven't even made it to the starting line. This illness, this surgery has left a hole in our lives. Matt is beginning to heal but with major set backs at every turn. I have not yet begun to heal. I still want my mother. I want someone to take me into their arms and tell me that everything will be alright. To tell me that my husband will get better and we will be happy once again. To tell me that I will be able to stop worrying that he will die. To tell me not to be afraid of him, that it is okay to touch him and that I will not break him. I want us to be able to go back to the life we had and that will never again happen. I want him to be the strong one, I don't want to be in charge anymore. I want it to be okay to be scared and sad all at the same time and have someone else pick up the pieces. Would that I could tell that sad, scared little person inside of me that it is okay to face the world without being angry. I want to tell her that things will be okay physically for Him and emotionally for her. I cannot think of a better way to express my feelings about the future than with the following quote:
"The goal of any surgery is total recovery - to come out better than you were before. Some patients heal quickly and feel immediate relief. For others the healing happens gradually, and it's not until months or even years later that you realize you don't hurt anymore. So the challenge after any surgery is to be patient. But if you can make it through the first weeks and months, if you believe that healing is possible, then you can get your life back. But that's a big if."
(Meredith Grey; Grey's Anatomy Season 7)