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The Longest Day

Posted by benbeatscancer@gmail.com on July 2, 2020 at 5:20 PM

The hotel is amazing. It's right on the lake front. A true treat and a luxury I didn't expect. My sister and I turn in as soon as dinner is done (okay, full disclosure, probably 30 minutes later... but not like our usual nights together). We tuck into the queen size bed and sleep comes fast. 


It doesn't last, though. I wake up at 6 and send Ben a hello. He's still in Salmon Arm. Transport is scheduled for some time this morning. We text for a while and by 8am he's off to rest again. 


Lisa's so thoughtful. She brought nice shampoo and conditioner for us. Without her, I may not have even showered. It's one day. But a shower feels amazing and I needed it. It refreshes me, and good thing too... a long day ahead is about to start. 


We go for breakfast and around 10:30 Ben texts that he is in the Kelowna General and his wife may visit. Now. We grab the tab, run to the car and zip to the hospital. It's only 2km down the road but it feels like forever to drive it. 


We squeal into the main entrance, both car doors fling open- I run inside. Lisa runs to the drivers seat and she's off. 


I am stopped by welcome/screening at the front door, but it's too slow for my liking.

COVid, coughing, temperature, travel. No, no, no, no.

The screeners make a call.

I wait.

I'm anxious and I text Ben, I'm here, honey. 

He sends a smiley. 

I wait. 

The screeners say, yes, I'm on the list. I may proceed. 

I find Ben in the GI ward (gastro-intestinal). 


He's so cute in his hospital gown and bald head. And that smile! I saw him last night but it feels like forever. I slide into his curtained-off-zone and we chat. The transport was so-so, the hotel is great, yes I'm tired, yes it hurts. I sit at his feet and rub his legs. Swollen again. 


I text Ben's sisters and ask them to fill in his mom. I don't want to make phone calls in the hospital. 


Beep, beep. I check my phone. It's Lisa. I left with my car keys. Stupid buttons! Who makes cars these days! Argh. She pulled over and parked 4 blocks away. The car started screaming at her and she didn't know how far she could actually get without the key-free FOB. So, she's walking back for keys and I go to meet her. I tell the screeners, Oh hey, I'm just stepping out to give my sister keys... I will be right back in. 


Keys to Lisa. Done. Hugs. Bye. Message soon. Yes, yes, of couse. I'm so glad my sister is here. I return to the hospital. I've been gone 2 mintues and 12 seconds. 


The screeners pretend they have never seen me before in my life. They are appalled that I suggest they would remember me from a moment ago. And so the important entry routine begins again: 

COVid, coughing, temperature, travel. No, no, no, no.

 

The screeners make the call. Again. 

 

I wait. Again.

 

I'm annoyed and I text Ben, be back soon.

He sends a smiley.

 

I wait.

 

The screeners say, yes, I'm on the list. I may proceed.(no, kidding.) 


I return to Ben. A nurse stops by and tells us two others are ahead of Ben for GI surgery. Each surgery can be 30mintues to 2 hours. She will keep us posted. She never returns. 


At 2:15pm the anesthesiologist comes to talk us through the procedure. It's now that I learn we are not removing the gall bladder. It's now that I learn that it could be a drainage or stent procedure. It's now that I learn it could be a futile surgery, success is not guaranteed. I ask about the effects of going under on the liver. The doctor explains that they will use different drugs- ones that don't filter through the liver - so that Ben is in the best state. I think of my uncle who was an anesthesiologist and this guy reminds me of him. Friendly, loving, helpful, kind. 


At 2:20 the GI doctor comes by. He is stoic and all-business. He makes funny moves, sucking in with his teeth and lips. He is no-nonsense and fires through stats about complications, deaths and blood transfusions. 20%, 5% , 1 in 1000. His no-nonsense approach is great for Ben. Yes, I understand, yes to blood if needed, no, I don't have questions. It's fast and I am left wondering, what about me? Do I have questions? 


But I have no time to process that. The GI doctor leaves. Ben imitates his mouth-gestures and I snicker. If Ben feels good, then I feel good. And this small giggle relaxes me a little. Once the doctors leave, Ben will be going in moments. He says, well I guess you can go. I'll text you when I'm done. 


Reluctantly, I leave him. My sister picks me up with 2 coffees. We drive to a residental street and park, drinking lattes in silence. 



 


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