We are almost two weeks out from surgery. Things could be better but I know they could also be much worse. I’m really finding myself a bit numb in response to it all. We have been preparing for such monumental surgeries and life-changes for eleven years and (luckily?) my brain has trouble feeling truly depressed about it.
Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t all Pollyanna and sunshine over here. Far from it. But when I think of the magnitude of what the surgery accomplished and where it leaves Ben, not only in the short-term but for life–I would predict (knowing myself better than anyone) that I’d be moping around, crying a lot and complaining a ton. But I’m not. And I think it’s because I’m numb. Well that and Lexapro. And Pinot. And daily naps. And ALL the food.
I feel the magnitude. I see it. I nurse it. I worry about it. But it’s not collapsing me like some of our other news, surgeries and diagnoses have done in the past. Numb. This seems like a ridiculous comparison but I’m currently reading the Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (2018). The main character talks about becoming numb to some of the atrocities that he witnesses in the time he is in the concentration camp. I’M IN NO WAY RELATING MY LIFE TO A CONCENTRATION CAMP PEOPLE–just the numbness to Ben and Kelsey’s relentless struggles. It could also be described as acceptance, which is something I struggled with for awhile but have achieved, I suppose. I tried to cry and let it out on Sunday when I learned Dave had to go back to work the next day…the nerve! (love ya babe and how hard you work for us!)…and that our one-on-one time at home convalescing for five weeks would begin, but I couldn’t. Not as much as I wanted to anyway. Numb.
All of that being said, Ben is recovering as he should be. He has daily pain, but most of it is handled quickly with a heating pad and his medicine. He’s sleeping a lot, but we just got word from his surgeon that backing down on the Valium he’s taking is a good idea which should help the lethargy. He’s moving a little more each day, but he’s nervous to do so. Apparently all of this is exactly as it should be from our surgeon’s perspective so that’s reassuring. Ben’s appetite is nowhere near it’s normal, but it’s increasing. He’s playing a little more too which is good to see. It’s hard to remember to be grateful at a time like this, but it’s such a relief that there doesn’t seem to be any infections brewing or complications from the surgery either.
I do feel sadness that Ben has to deal with this. He knew why he was having surgery but at 11, there’s no way to truly understand it. Bottom line it was to protect his kidneys. Who cares about their kidneys at 11? Even as an adult, unless there’s an acute problem, we adults don’t protect all our organs as much as we probably could. So imagine being a preteen and having to endure all this crap!? He doesn’t seem to complain about it as much as I worry about it, though so that’s a relief. It’s also bittersweet.
Another thing that I constantly worry about is making Ben’s time home productive. He is missing so much school (six weeks at least!). I will beat myself up in the very near future that I’m not forcing him to read and practice math on the reg. I even considered having him do a project for the Science Fair during this time at home so that he could be involved…and then I thankfully reconsidered. Ha! The county in which we live will eventually send a Home/Hospital teacher to the house for a couple of days a week to do some instruction. I’m not sure how it will all play out, but hopefully enough will be accomplished in their time together that this can be one thing to take of my worry list. Doubtful though. When the kids aren’t at school I am ALWAYS critiquing myself in how little I make them do educationally. I am no Tiger mom by any stretch. And that stresses me out.
Okay, I guess I’m not completely numb.
So, could be better. Could be worse. Patience is not a virtue for me so I’ll try to remember to put my head down, soak in the numb, and hold on for the next month or two. And to look forward to the next season which is hopefully less awful and more amazing. Hell, I’d settle for mundane right now.
Thanks, Tribe. I couldn’t do it without you either.