A weekend of rest and relaxation and selfies and goat-petting. And being impressively well organized and extremely well fed. And consequently, being pretty proud of ourselves for adulting so well. A bachelorette weekend, I guess, is a good time to feel like a put-together adult person. 🙂
Props to Meesh for the Excel-lent event organization and the crucial face masks, to Iz for bringing along all the food love from Mama Lee, to Clarisse for being our grillmaster and headlamp-ed firekeeper (and for the pervy reminders that we are at a bachelorette weekend, after all ;)), to Grace for butchering a hunk of meat nobody else wanted to touch, to Schoi for the scream-worthy spider discoveries, and to Rebs for everything else — killing said spiders, blowing up then destroying decorative balloons, driving us through the mountains (with two in trunk), and of course, for the selfie stick.
This surgery’s been a long time coming, though we didn’t know it.
Mark hurt his (ring) finger about a month ago, playing frisbee. He dove for a catch (read: threw his body toward the unforgiving earth with too much confidence in his youth and flexibility) and dislocated and fractured his lil digit.
At first, we thought it was just a dislocated joint, especially because he had “popped it back in” right after the crash. It took an x-ray three weeks later to reveal that he had popped it back in…just not to the right place.
The joint (first one up from the base) was popped out about a finger’s width on top of the rest of the hand, and the bone connecting the two joints was chipped, too. The way the surgeon described it, it seemed like the three weeks’ delay had been like a desert storm on that lil chip, wearing away at it until it was no more. Here, questions abound: where did the fragment go? Does it get reabsorbed into the blood stream? Is there a lot of erosion going on in our bodies, normally? If so, what’s doing all that jostling in there? I didn’t know how to phrase these questions appropriately and quickly enough to ask.
So the surgeon reset Mark’s joint (as a “let’s just see if this works” measure) and scheduled the formal surgery (because we were pretty sure the measure wouldn’t work) for the following Thursday. And since the resetting, Mark was told to keep his hand elevated above his heart — it prevents undue swelling — and thus, the multitude of photos of the Markling in the perpetual worshipful-hand-raise pose.
After that first manual resetting, Mark was in a lot of pain. A desperate, helpless, sleepless kind of pain that demands all your attention but only intensifies when you offer it. He texted me all through those first two nights, unable to sleep — midnight… 1 am… 3 am… 5 am… It was heartbreaking, and I was completely useless to help. We tried getting the surgery moved up, but no luck.
The surgery day finally came, and as it approached, Mark’s fear grew and grew. It was kind of astounding to me, because I have an almost unnaturally blase attitude toward medical procedures. Needles, blood-giving, surgery…it’s all NBD to me. All the opposite for Mark. He despises needles, hates the thought of steel objects penetrating his dermis, fears physical pain above all else. Don’t tell the terrorists, but he would last zero seconds under torture…
The fear was palpable and uncontrollable. I was even getting frustrated with him — the fear becoming bigger than a matter of the finger and the pain itself and triggering questions of character, of faith. Why is he so afraid/what is it that makes me not as afraid? At the core, I trust in the medical establishment and their ability to make me better. Does he not believe that? Is this a trust-of-establishment thing? Why does he always expect the worst? Is it a God thing? Does he not believe that God has this under control? Is he even praying?
I tried, really, to be patient — though I broke down at the last minute and mini-yelled at him to “Stop meeping!” right as we were walking into the surgery center. Worst, ever. I know. He forgave me, gracious even amidst the fear.
We met with the surgeon and discussed what the procedure would be like. Mark was small and shivery in his flimsy hospital gown and high-fashion hair net. We tried to watch Food Network to distract him from the gloomy chill of the pre-op area, analyzing cupcake flavors and laughing at the made-up drama of food competition TV shows. It was hard, though, because the surgeon had just told us that it would not be a good idea for Mark to travel right after his surgery, as we had been planning to do. Mark’s brother was graduating the next day, so we had planned to head down to be there.
It makes so much sense, in hindsight, that we would have to stick around at home and let Mark rest over the weekend, but we just had no idea what it would be like. We are — luckily — both pretty inexperienced in hospital procedures and figured that as long as I did the driving, it would be no big deal for us to travel. Wrong-oh. The surgeon looked at us with the single eyebrow raise almost visible through his tight facial control, questioning our common sense, and advised that it would be best to take it easy all weekend, hang out on the couch, watch TV, and administer meds as necessary.
It was disappointing… But I came to be grateful for the dashed plans, because this meant that both our schedules were completely free for the time that we had expected to be away.
Those four-ish hours in the waiting room flew by… I was busy texting updates and emailing prayer requests, reaching out and asking to be touched. My fear bubble had grown, too, because fear is infectious — I was feeling grave and sad and sending out pings in hopes of receiving some back. And receive I did.
People came through. Events like these, I realized, clarify who makes up your community and family. People called, emailed, texted, visited (!), letting us know that they loved us and were praying for Mark. Mark’s family even came up on Saturday to see Mark after his surgery and to grab a meal with us. Afterwards, Mark smiled like a goon and said, “I love my family,” at which I cracked up cause, like, duh.
The surgeon came out, showed me before and after x-rays, complete with new bits of bone and pins poking through. He said that the joint was able to bend all the way to normal range (110 degrees, for those of you counting), so we’re hoping that with physical therapy, Mark can reset the doc’s PR for best recovery.
And thus began our four-day weekend of resting and worrying and relaxing and an uncharacteristic amount of cooking on my part. Like seriously, I have never cooked so many things in the span of four days. Who even am I?
It was a weekend of fitful sleeping, for sure, what with the medicine schedule and the jingle-jangle of Rogue the dog’s midnight prowls through the living room. But we did things we’ve never. done. before as a couple: hang around the house for hours, cook multiple meals in a row, (re)watch seasons of TV shows old and new, sit on the couch until my back hurt, do zero things of productivity. Like, normal people weekend activities. I know we were caring for an invalid here, but it felt kind of luxurious to me, in some ways.
And I got a teensy little taste of what it means to serve selflessly — like, putting my needs and wants on a back burner somewhere and thinking first about somebody else. And I noticed that the caretaking got easier over the weekend as I got more used to it. My selfish sharp edges were dulled a little in the face of real need and a very polite customer. Mark was an easy patient, grateful and eager to get better.
He has his post-op appointment on Tuesday, the day after tomorrow. And as our super-weekend winds down this evening, the Sunday feels are real. We’re sitting here, both back in our respective productivity modes as I blog with a vengeance and he puts the finishing touches on the wedding website. But for the first time in a long, long time, I feel really refreshed from what was actually a pretty stressful weekend. Ironic, yep. Such great ups and downs we’ve traveled in the span of these past 48-or-60-or-whatever hours — counting in chunks of four-to-six as the prescription bottles dictate, constantly asking for the enumeration of pain levels (on a scale of 1 to 10, how do you feel?), cooking and eating real meals, laughing at the antics of Michael Scott (and falling asleep to an anime episode…), taking stock of one another and feeling grateful for the way things are and not how they could’ve been.
Will have to keep you posted on how we fare through next week and the next; I’m sure the chronicles of physical therapy will bring more ups and downs. But as of this moment, I sit here, grateful for the weirdness, the normalcy, and all the cheezy blogposts in between.
there are spheres of life in which you feel at ease, totally in your own skin, and open to newness because you’re okay with all the right-now atoms in your current atmosphere. and then there is everything else, which is the majority of life. at least for me, right now.
but those spheres, they are so good. and they exist in the weirdest, randomest places. walking the halls at work for a clear-the-head break, arms a-swinging like the Cake song and teef a-smiling at the unknown peoples because they’re unknown to me; there’s no risk (there’s freedom in smiling at strangers). sweatpants life, veg-ing out at homehome, visiting for the weekend having brought real clothes but teebee.H. not needing them at all, all weekend long. blog mode at a cafe where the temperature is not too cold not too warm just right and zoning in on not to cold not to warm just the right words even though there are other, Real things to be done, and feeling so accomplished at the end of the thought train, at the bottom of the latte cup, zero of the said Real things having been accomplished. phone conversations with really helpful customer service repuhresentatives, knowing what you mean by your uncertain blabbering because they’re just that experienced in customer blabber-needs. spending way too many minutes perusing all the things I won’t buy up and down the aisles of the korean grocery store where I buy my weekly kale because produce is freshest there (huzzah for kale, huzzah for nova groceries).
and running into my mom’s friendladies and saying hello, no hesitation, because I feel able and natural. and getting impromptu shares of life wisdom from an older and wiser soul who’s brimming with it, only needing to be tapped, to be asked.
but honestly, it’s not even the content of such conversations — rather the context. what makes these moments possible. that sphere of ease. that comfortsphere. where you’re open to impromptu conversations with acquaintances that aren’t even yours, but your mom’s. knowing full, knowing well — smalltalk is not your strongsuit. going out of your way uncalculatedly to call out to people and open up your bubble to touch theirs, connecting for a moment or two.
what is it that creates these spheres of possibility? I have a feeling it’s something really specific: two heaping cups of really good nights’ sleeps. a liter of contented conversation stores. a mindful of vocab in that (un)foreign language you’re delighted to be discovering, again. three generous drizzles of chocolate frosting over that birthday cake baked at 375, for-ty8 minutes. those two bunches of bananas someone placed in the back of your car so you wouldn’t even have a chance to refuse them when offered. an extra day of rest from the running schedule, because your body — and your mind — needed it though you weren’t even clever enough to know it until you’d had it. eighty-three miles of road driven, harmonizing all the way with singers on your iPod loop loop looping all these years you never updated your music stores.
how interesting to organize the experience of Life this way — it’s just a practice in negotiating these spheres and the rest. just a long series of navigations in between, from circle to amorphous circle. and the resolutions, the lessons, are to:
expand these comfortspheres, each and all, until they’re the majority and the “restofit,” the exceptions.
find out other people’s spheres of ease and discover them in living in theirs. observe. appreciate. smile aloud, teef and all.
test and exactify that recipe for sphere success — so you can do numbers 1 and 2 better and better. this will probably take some more days off from the relentless schedule of working out and making lunch salads because you’re still only a young padawan (what even is a padawan? why do I use these words I don’t really know?), the greenest grasshopper, and apparently you can’t run and think at the same time. at least not to the same level of intensity. one’s gotta give way to the other.
get better at running, so you can think more.
get better at thinking, so you can run more.
wow. lots to do here. guess I better go get some more sleeps to get started.
This is the post in which I belatedly do a photodump of the photogenic and otherwise-memorable moments of the year that was 2015 and unabashedly and sentimentally caption them to my heart’s content. Saying my goodbyes and thank yous and reminding myself to live another year, full, like this.
By the end of my life, I want to have experienced all the layers of love that my circumstances will have offered me.
Mads: All the layers of romantic love, yes, but like, all the layers of all the other kinds, too. Wow. Can you imagine what kind of life you would be able to lead if your goal, each day, was to experience more layers of loves? To give, to receive, to witness, to empower others to do…all kinds of layers, of all kinds of loves! Marriage love and parent love and acceptance love and covering love. And tucking-into-bed love and you-can-shower-first love and let-me-rub-your-tired-feet love and here’s-some-soup! love and dearly-beloved-we-are-here-to-say-our-goodbyes love.
Meesh: Yeah! I mean, the Bible is full of commandments to love one another, honor one another, mhmm!
It is a good thing you are here, Meesh, to tap my path straight and remind me of the purpose of it all. I can wander into lalalayerland far and wide, if left to my own devices. Thanks for remembrin’ us about the Bible. About our God. And of His plans and purposes and layers of love for us. Without that, it’s just indulgent philosophizing.