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11:30 a.m. - 2011-05-20
Love in the Time of Surgery

Yesterday was another adventure for Sandwich Girl. This time to a day surgery adjunct at the one area hospital none of us had ever been to. Figures, right? If you define the 'area' as the 120mi stretch from Yonkers to Albany on this side of the Hudson there's seven hospitals. Now we've been to them all.

It was a very nice facility. Spanking new and well run. Didn't help poor MIL though, she was flipping out. Not in any obvious way, histrionics aren't her style, but the way her eyes were moist and kept leaping around unable to settle on anything. Her tense shoulders and how she sat leaning forward, even in the car, told me how keyed up she was.

FIL was as 'here' as I've seen him in a long time. Quite aware he was having surgery and why. He was chill about it, once you've had a brain tumor removed anything that comes after is cake. He'd had the tumor removed about 16 years ago, so yesterday's procedure to remove a small weight that had been put in his eyelid to help with the nerve damage after the tumor removal and now no longer needed was easy-peasy to him.

We got there way early, of course, this time because I was overly cautious about how long it would take to get there. In my mind I was navigating from Hometown and remembered that to get to the town where the hospital was took about forever plus 16 hours. Duh. Not so from where I live now. Even with Google driving directions I felt the place simply could NOT be that close by. It was. Live and learn.

Colored by Mick's stories of how his parents battled and stormed throughout his growing up years and by how casual MIL seems toward FIL nowadays I'd always assumed their relationship mostly ran on inertia and habit and MIL's disinclination to make any drastic changes at this late stage and her good sportsman-like belief that to divorce someone slowly being swallowed by dementia was poor form.

Not so.

After FIL had been taken away and prepped we were allowed to go in and sit with him until it was time to take him to the OR. When the nurse fetched us from the waiting lounge MIL flew across the room to his bedside, hitched a chair right up next to FIL's gurney and grabbed his hand. I tried to keep things light, making chat and being stolidly reassuring as only large and sturdy people like me can. (Yeah, every once in a while being a human St Bernard comes in handy.) FIL joined in the chatter, but MIL hardly said a word. She just sat there clutching FIL's hand and blinking back tears.

She loves him. She really, really loves him.

The OR nurse came by to make one last check and to announce that FIL's operation would begin momentarily. MIL jumped up and after kissing FIL on the brow let me put an arm around her and lead her from the room. Once out of earshot MIL shakily said she couldn't bear to watch them wheeling FIL away. It's too gruesome. Too reminiscent of the tumor surgery, something she was convinced would kill him.

I gave her a big squeezy hug and coaxed her into leaving the hospital for a short walk over to Subway where we'd get a sandwich and pass the time more pleasantly than sitting in the lounge. The staff had my cell number and could reach us if anything came up. She agreed. So we did. Ate a nice lunch. And then went into the Dollar store next to the Subway place. It was a great dollar store, full of all the weird shit and handy goodies any decent dollar store has. We took our time and picked up some fun things. Then while we were in line to pay my phone rang. It was the doctor. The operation was a total smash success. Went smooth as buttah and was over far more quickly than anticipated. FIL was fine and not only had he already shaken off the anesthesia, he was being prepped to go home.

Well! We threw some money at the clerk and MIL booked it from the store. She raced back up the hill, leaving me gasping and lurching along in her wake. I finally caught up, took the rest of the stuff, said I'd fetch the car and sent her inside. She gabbled her thanks and zoomed away.

She really, really, really loves him.

It was like a gift, seeing this. A surprising window into a place I was pretty sure I had the lay of. It turns out this supposedly familiar place has all sorts of hidden charms. Secret nooks and crannies, deep inside places full of loyalty and memory and love.

Reminded me again how you can't ever really know what keeps people together. That the outside and obvious is never the whole story.

I like that. I like it a lot. ~LA

5 Wanna talk about it!

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