Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Love Story

Most little girls dream of growing up and finding Prince Charming. I wasn't different. However, by the time I hit 20, I was not looking for Prince Charming. I was looking for someone I was compatible with and whom I knew would be an amazing father. That the man I found happened to be someone I fell madly in love with was a bonus for me.

For twelve years, I thought I had that fairy tale. Yes, we had our problems, but we worked them out. Yes, we had times when we felt distant from each other, but we worked on our marriage to bring ourselves back together again. Then, one day I found out he had been lying to me for five years of the marriage. Only the first seven years had been honest and forthright. The next five had been a joke.

I stayed. I never imagined I would love him again. I never imagined I would want him again, but I stayed. I had children who needed me and their father. The decision to stay was a simple one of the economy I exercised as a mother, not a woman and certainly not a wife.

In time, we rebuilt. Piece by piece the love was put back in place. Little by little my trust was restored. Eventually, I forgave him. Then, I sent him away. You would think that would be horrific for a marriage so recently rocked to it's foundation. Yet, it hasn't been.

Is he being faithful fifteen hours away? So far, yes. Will he always remain faithful? I can't answer that. I refuse to spend my time focused on that what if. If he cheats again, I will find out. It might only be a short time, or it might be a long time again, but I will find out. When I find out, the marriage will be over. He knows that. I know that. I am content with that boundary. Otherwise, I focus on the marriage we have now, strong, restored and healthy.

So when I got sick in December, his heart began breaking to watch me struggle. Every day I got worse instead of better and every evening he sat on Skype and monitored me while I slipped into very dangerous waters. On December 19th, it was clear I was beyond a critical point. He sent me to the Emergency Room. I was so tired of not being able to breath that I cried, but I obediently went.

He did something else that night though. He packed his bags. He had an airplane ticket to get home on Christmas Eve, and he was supposed to be home for a week. Monday night, as he argued with me to go to the hospital, he was packing, taking out his trash and feeding his guinea pig. By the time I got to the emergency room, he was already on the road. The trip took him seventeen hours through the night. He stopped twice to sleep so he wouldn't wreck, and he called me frequently in the hospital to check on me. When the bloodwork showed I might have a pulmonary embolism, he cried with me. Yet, he continued his journey home.

I was terrified he could lose his job. Yet, I was so sick all I wanted and needed in this world was for him to hold me again. When the sun came up, his boss emailed him in response to the email he sent as he left for home. It was to chastise him. Had he called his boss, his boss would have purchased another airplane ticket to get him home without the driving. He couldn't find a flight out in the night anyway, that's part of why he opted to drive. His boss had no worries that he would have to now work from home for the week before Christmas. His supervisor that he cancelled a vacation day on the 23rd because II couldn't be there to cover his absence gave no complaint. II pointed out that the supervisor was given liberal comp time in the summer when the floods came and his house was nearly destroyed. He was merely burning a vacation day he couldn't roll over and II would give him comp time in January to make up. Everyone was supportive of his decision.

He came home to me. They kept me fourteen hours in the hospital. Turned out, I did not have a pulmonary embolism, but the CT scan caught was the doctors in the ER missed, double lung pnuemonia. I can only imagine that the radiologist who reviewed the CT scan (because an ER doctor cannot rule out PEs) probably pulled the chest x-ray that was declared fine and re-checked it as well. They gave me a round of IV antibiotics before sending me home. I came home to bed and within a few hours, he was there.

The hospital was so blown away by the pnuemonia that they forgot to address the asthma flare-up that accompanied the pnuemonia. I went home with two massive antibiotics but nothing for the asthma....and I got worse again. For two days, he held me and watched over me as my breathing got worse. All I have ever had previously for asthma was a rescue inhaler. My astham was mild before December. Two days later, I was coughing up blood and unable to breath at all. This time, II took me to the hospital. When they dismissed me and tried to send me home, he took charge.

I'm a good medical advocate....when there is oxygen in my brain properly. When I cannot breath, I cannot think, and I certainly cannot advocate for my own medical needs. II had me admitted to the hospital. THe attending and the hospitalist could not argue with his reasoning once he gave them the full history of what was going on.

It was only one night, enough time to throw massive steriods at me, and to do some intensive breathing treatments. Through that night, he laid in the bed with me and simply held me. Then, he brought me home. For two weeks, he didn't sleep well. He watched over me at night, and he ran the household during the day. He made sure I took my meds even when I couldn't think straight, and that I slept most of my day.

A week and a half into his stay, I saw my family doctor. He informed me that II saved my life. He is not a man known for overreactions or strong emotions. I've never heard him say something even close to that before. If he said it, he meant it, and I really was as sick as I felt I was.

My life is not a fairy tale. I don't even want it to be one. However, I have come full circle in this marriage, and gone to a place even beyond where I was when things feel apart. II didn't have to come home. I didn't ask him to come. In fact, I tried to talk him out of it because I feared what it would do to his job. He didn't tell me what he was doing until he had already left. He wasn't going to argue with me. He knew I needed him and he came, at all costs, through the night, until he reached me. He held me, he comforted me, he watched over me, and he nursed me back to health.

That is love.

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