After my first surgery, the first night in the hospital my mom stayed by my side, jumping for every moan and groan. In that moment she taught me what it is to be a mother. To be relentless for her child. I saw the same gusto in my dad as he asked questions and pored over article after article trying to understand and give comfort to what we were going through. He taught me how a dad protects. My sisters and brothers did the same. They lingered when they knew I was scared to be left alone. They brought treats and told jokes. They hugged me and laughed with me. they kept me happy and watched rerun after rerun of the office with me. They loved me so hard and their relentlessness proved to me what a family was and is. Even my nephew sat by me, as I lay in a strange bed, taking care of his Mimi. And Jason, he couldn’t stay with me, he knew my mom wanted to and should be there that first night. So he left me his sweater, a little piece of him until he’d be back. He bundled it next to me and it kept me still in those few seconds between a cry and someone’s response, the nurse, my mom, whomever. He left me that little piece of him that was such a fraction of his commitment to me at that time. He loved me through the fear and it was a love so natural and so full and all consuming, I don’t know that either of even recognized it as it happened.
This second time my family loved me so well. I knew they would. And Jason, in a miraculous return to my life, packed a peculiarly heavy sweater for a surgery in July in Arizona. I saw it tucked in his backpack but thought nothing of it. I was just glad to have him there, sitting in the shit with me despite everything that had happened. That first night in the hospital he gave my mom a hug thanking her for staying with me (she wouldn’t have it any other way!) and then he handed me a sweater. To keep me warm when it all just feels very cold.
Love isn’t in saying those key words. It’s in those moments where you know each other is there even when it’s tough or hard or far away. I’ve been blessed with a lifetime of that love, from family, from friends and from my partner in life.
And now? Welp, my second brain surgery is under my belt, I have a slightly larger scar and the right side of my head is substantially heavier than the left because every possible nook and cranny that could have leaked CSF has been plugged. Take that Flo!
My stitches are driving me insane, it still tastes like metal in my mouth but overall, I’m ok. A few weeks will tell if the leak is fully gone forever since it was not a particularly obvious leak. I’m off the heavy pain meds and have been for days. I’m on day 11 of recovery – but whose counting? The headaches actually do seem better! I have hope on my horizon for the first time in a little while and I’m so grateful for the second chance to make good on a pain free life. Maybe, if the surgery worked, while I’ll still be living with Herbert, I’ll get to see how the other half lives. Perhaps for the first time in about a decade I won’t be the one with “just in case” ibuprofen at the ready. I’ll live like the pain free world. Careless and blissful, albeit a bit off balance.
Peace and love-