Monday, July 26, 2010


I'm in a slump. Yeah, I know. Wah Wah, poor lil me. You don't have to tell me to "get over it" because I've already told myself. The thing is that I'm also a procrastinator so I think I'll wait till tomorrow to "get over it." I can do that. It's allowed.

Trouble comes in 3's right? The faucet on the tub is broken, the desktop is having boot up issues (which is probably being made worse by me shutting off and on the power to get it to boot up) and the bottom element on the oven has died. That's three. We reached our quota, right? So what if they are all fixable problems. It's the inconvenience that counts! It's taking forever for the tub part to arrive. I'm having panic attacks about bringing my computer in to be fixed (how long is it going to am I going to survive?), and the oven repair person won't be here until the end of the week. :::cue the wah, wah, wah:::

But none of that put me in my slump. None of that has me feeling helpless. Forget three. Trouble came in four this time.

It happened in a flash. My husband leaned slightly over the table to take a bite of his supper. That was all it took. No heavy lifting. No straining or twisting. He just tried to eat something and his back seized up. It wasn't the first time. He has dealt with back pain for quite a while. The worst was a little over a year ago. That time it hit him so hard that he fell and was unable to get up at all. Woefully weak woman that I am, I wasn't even able to help him get off the floor. A call to 911 brought the paramedics who took him to the ER, where he was admitted to the hospital for a couple of excruciatingly painful days before his back was sliced open and the offending part of his ruptured disk was removed.

Have you been in the position of watching a loved one suffer, knowing that there is nothing you can DO to make it better? Being here, in that helpless state again, has brought to mind a time when he was the one who was forced to stand by - unable to fight the invisible enemy that was attacking me. I never really looked at it from his point of view before. He had just come back from a 5 1/2 month tour in Haiti a few weeks before it happened. I was seven months pregnant with our second child. I went to my OB with a complaint of feeling "chilly" and before I knew it I was being hooked up to a special bed that circulated ice water, one monitor for our baby's heartbeat, another to watch for contractions, an automated blood pressure cuff that went off every five minutes, a pulse ox and three IV's. Naturally I can remember what that was like from my own POV, but now I wonder...what did HE see? What went through his mind when the OB told him that she decided to air vac me to a civilian hospital in another city because there were fears that if I were to go into labor at that point, the military hospital I was in wouldn't be able to support both my life and the life of our unborn baby. What must he have felt watching them load me into the helicopter? What strength did he drawn on when he took our little girl back to our empty quarters?

The funny thing is that I knew that we (baby and I) were going to be fine. Oh, there was a claustrophobic moment when I was pushed through a tunnel like tube into the helicopter. For an instant I wondered if the scurry and fuss was warranted after all, but that feeling quickly passed and I just knew that everything would work out.

I didn't KNOW that last year when I was the one watching. I only knew that my husband was in pain and I couldn't do a darn thing about it.

I didn't KNOW it yesterday when I was so frightened that he was going to have to go through the same ordeal once again. I still don't know that he isn't headed in that direction, but I am relieved that this time at least seems to be a bit different so far. He is still able to move on his own and there is hope that he can be treated with medication instead of another surgery. We'll find out more after his MRI tomorrow. Till then, I'm going to stay in my slump and admit that I'm... helpless.


  1. Helpless implies that you are not able to do anything. I would beg to say that you being there is more than he could ask you to do. Don't underestimate the value of having your spouse with you during these trying times. I personally would have it no other way. I don't want my wife to do anything (because I'm stubborn that way) but it's great just knowing she's there. So I don't buy that helpless stuff! You are giving him exactly what he needs.

    P.S. I don't know if you did it on purpose, but it's ironic that the time of the post was 9:11PM.

  2. That must have been frightening to see your big, fearless man, incapacitated by pain. May God strengthen and heal him. Remember, in our weakness, and helplessness, you know WHO is strong.

  3. Thank you Que. I know that you are right.

    No, I did not time the post that way. Actually, it was around midnight here when I hit the post button. Weird. Doubly weird because the date September 11th appeared in a chapter that I was reading today - from a book that was first published in 1957.

    @Julia - excellent advice.