And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.
Well, if you follow me on Facebook, you know that this has been the week from hell. I’m sure many are wondering if I will indeed be able to find a moment of happiness.
So my husband Michael has been fighting a foot infection. He saw his doctor a week ago today and was put on a new set of antibiotics because the doctor wasn’t happy with his progress. On Saturday, his foot began to really hurt. On Sunday, he had to come home from work because he couldn’t stand to stand. I took him in to Urgent Care, who sent him to the ER. ER took an X-ray, said the bone wasn’t infected, but he needed to be admitted for IV antibiotics. Then they said, “Wait! He might have a blood clot!” and so they did an ultrasound. No blood clot. He was admitted and IV antibiotics started. Monday, the hospital called in an infectious diseases specialist. He said, “Let’s have an MRI, just to make sure there’s no bone infection.” On Tuesday, Michael’s doctor showed up; she hadn’t even been told he was in the hospital. She looked at the MRI and said, “We need to open this up and clean it out.” Later that day, she called him and said, “I’ve talked with the infectious diseases doctor. You need to be prepared to lose your little toe. There’s likely a bone infection.”
From Sunday to Tuesday, I never saw his doctor. She was supposed to call me. She didn’t.
On Wednesday, after we were given three different times for his surgery, they finally came to get him. The nurse told Michael, “I saw your surgery orders, which you will have to sign. They have the wrong foot listed. Make sure you have them change it.”
I walked beside the rolling bed as far as I was allowed. Then I watched him leave, clutching his glasses so he’d be able to read and hopefully fix these orders. I was left all alone in the hallway.
I can tell you I have never ever felt so alone in my life. Never.
I turned and went into the family waiting room. The volunteer there showed me the glowing board that listed everyone who was having surgery. The colors of their individual row changed with each step – waiting for surgery, surgery begins, surgery ends, patient is in recovery. I explained that my computer was in Michael’s room, and I was going to be up there to wait. She took down my cell number and said she would call me as Michael progressed.
She never called.
45 minutes later, a nurse poked her head into Michael’s room, where I’d dissolved into tears. “Oh!” she said. “He’s not here!”
“Um, no,” I said. “He’s in surgery. I think. No one has told me.”
“Oh!” she said brightly. “I can find out for you!”
She never came back.
At noon, an hour and a half after I was left alone in the hallway and Michael disappeared into the bowels of the hospital, I decided I was going to find my way back to the family waiting room and check that stupid glowing board. It was not a human, but maybe it would tell me. I wound around and down and finally found it. “Oh!” the volunteer said. “I tried to call you, but I must have written your phone number down wrong!”
I checked. She did. But she also had the room number where I was waiting – and there’s a phone in there.
“The doctor was here to see you,” she said. “She said she would find you in your husband’s room.”
When was this?
“At 11:30.” A half-hour ago. But at least now I knew that Michael was in the recovery room. The board told me.
I went back up to his room and crossed to the nurses’ station. I told the nurse what happened and she said she would page the doctor.
I didn’t hear from the doctor until Thursday morning when she called me.
The nurse said I should go ahead and have some lunch, that it would be a bit before Michael was back because he was experiencing low blood pressure. I was tempted to ask if they got the right toe, but I was so fit to be tied and exhausted by then, I just wandered down to the cafeteria. I think I ate.
Twenty minutes later, I returned to the room. I could see a nurse standing outside his door. And for the first time in I don’t know how long, I broke into a run.
Looking over the nurse’s shoulder, I could see another nurse straightening out the bedcovers over a very familiar form. A form I’ve been married to for 22 years. A form I know so well. I reached over the nurse’s shoulder and pushed the door open a little further.
And Michael looked over. He looked right at me. And he smiled.
And there it was. My moment of absolute happiness.
(And so you know, they got the correct toe. Michael is expected to come home tomorrow, make a full recovery, and be back in a shoe and back at work in 3 weeks.)
And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.