I had surgery once, about eighteen years ago, when I broke me leg. I remember waking up and being on a morphine drip and feeling euphoric. Unfortunately, I thought I was a tough guy and insisted on checking myself out of the hospital despite the doctors’ warnings that they weren’t going to give me morphine to take at home. My friend Steve picked me up, and I proceeded to spend the next week in a sweaty, delirious agony. I was definitely not tough.
Marshall has been on morphine since coming out of surgery Wednesday evening. He’s being weaned off it slowly, but I can’t imagine how painful it must be for him when it wears off now that he’s taking it orally and not on a continuous drip. They drilled into his head through his mouth to widen his nasal passages. The thought of that gives me shivers. He’s sleeping next to me in a constant observation room (he’s out of Intensive Care), probably dreaming about cats, vats of breast milk, and board games (I, too, dream about two of those three items).
His appetite is still poor; I can’t blame him for not wanting to eat with a swollen mouth full of stitches and a swollen throat from having his tonsils and adenoids removed. The poor guy fell asleep while I was feeding him in a high chair last night.
Other than an overnight stay for a sleep study last month, we haven’t had to spend any nights at the hospital since June. I had forgotten a lot of what that’s like. The noises. The lights. The constant crying and moaning from patients in pain. The slippery vinyl of the armchairs that fold out into a makeshift bed. Waking up and going to work but not being sure what day of the week it is.
I listened to an incredible episode of the podcast Death, Sex & Money yesterday. The episode focused on a mother of two teenaged boys with autism. The episode opens with her saying that if she had known what it was going to be like, she would never have had children. I got choked up hearing that line; in the early days after Marshall’s birth, the same thought selfishly crept into my mind. Another incredibly heartbreaking sentiment from the father was that he says he would have been a great father, even though his partner says he is an incredible dad. The reasoning behind that line is that there are so many things they thought they would get to do as parents, and none of it has happened like they expected.
Life is so fickle and random. We were so, so close to having an average two-child family, but instead, this is the path we’re on. I’ve spent so much time with Marshall that there’s no way I would wish him – as he is – away even if I could, but I’m looking at my little fluff next to me with bloody foam crammed up his nose and it makes me angry and sad still. I’m definitely more hopeful for the future than I was nine months ago, but I’m not sure I’m any less scared. This was the first surgery of his life, and unfortunately, not the last. With every procedure, though, I know it gives him a better quality of life and a better future, so I hold on to that.
Again, thank you to everyone for your support this week. Thanks to the surprise meal drop-offs, I’ve gained about ten pounds and can no longer fit into my pants, but then again, I’ve always liked the look of hospital gowns.
Here’s to a bright future of cats and board games.