“Just talk to her,” the nurse told me today as I stood next to Tracey anxiously stroking her hair and fretting. “There’s no right or wrong things to say. Just let her hear your voice.”
Which was nice of her to say, but within a minute I was getting in trouble for what came out of my mouth and feeling obliged to apologize to my lovely wife.
I think I owe you all an apology too, although it’s for something totally different.
Last night I posted on Facebook what I thought was some game changing news. Tracey’s been fighting a mild temperature all week and I thought they’d found the cause:
GREAT news tonight. Urine test picked up an infection which they’re treating. Hopefully that will get her temp down to a more reasonable level.
I was obviously very excited. So excited I woke early to race in, thinking I’d walk into her cubicle and Tracey would be grinning at me.
But things were a little crowded around my wife’s bedside this morning when I arrived and the doctors there explained they were considering opening her up and having a look around. The reason was in big numbers on the screen. Her temp had skyrocketed to 40.5.
I had to correct my previous Facebook post:
All gone to shit again. Temps are over 40 and they’re doing a scan and considering going back in to check on things. Waiting on more news.
That’s how quick it changes. Every time I update her condition on my blog I’m thinking my next post will be announcing how Sleeping Beauty woke to her Prince Charming to give him a right bollocking, and instead there’s a new dip or turn I hadn’t foreseen. Unwittingly I sort of gave you guys a seat on this roller coaster instead of a just pointing up at the scariest or more amusing bits from the ground. There are times when you’re on top of the world before you suddenly plummet so quickly towards the ground you leave your stomach behind.
The good news – and don’t I need that – is the scan they did today in preparation for the operation showed things are the same if not better in her tummy. Better is a word I get very excited about hearing because I can pack a fair bit of hope around it. That meant the surgeons didn’t want to go back in there and mess about. More good news, because if they thought they should they would.
They think the cause of the latest high temperatures problem is, what with all the fiddling about in there, a bit of bowel isn’t getting enough blood and is releasing ‘dead’ germs (if it was live germs, the sort in all our bowels, she’d get real bad real quick and they’d know what the problem was for sure) and her body is fighting them. They might need to go in and remove the unhealthy bowel. They might not. With blood thinners they’re pinning all our hopes on the bowel fixing the blood flow issue itself, but it will take time. The doctor says the best we can hope for at this point is a couple of days of the same.
Same is good, even if it’s not great. Same means not worse. I’ll take that.
Meanwhile, we all anxiously wait for Tracey to get busy and do all the healing work herself.
“She’ll do it,” I assured them, “but she is a bit of a procrastinator. She’ll probably just leave it until the last minute.”
Dad jokes. Lame and, in this case, designed to disguise the fact I’m shit scared. Petrified.
As of this minute her temps are finally back down to where we’ve been thinking they’re too high all week, and that’s with a shitload of drugs and having her effectively packed in ice like prawns at the deli.
But they’re still describing her as stable. Admittedly they’re saying it with a lot more anxiety causing ‘buts’ than earlier in the week, however the word is still thankfully being used so I’ll take that too. Her lungs are still doing great and she’s still strong, as evidenced by the amount of sedatives they need to pump into her because she keeps fighting her way to the surface.
Which I love in a guilty fashion because on the one hand I want her to sleep through this and meet us on the other side when everything is better, but on the other hand I get to see her eyes when she opens them. When they’re open it even feels like she might hear me when I talk to her and tell her how much we all miss her. I tend to talk dribble, and I’m a lot less self conscience now about what I say in front of the nurses. I do struggle for a topic outside of ‘I love you’, which let’s face it is the main thing I really want her to know – she is loved. I effectively whisper sweet nothings in her ear and hope at some level she understands.
Then other times it feels like I’m just rattling off lists of names.
“Your parents have been in, and Geoffrey and Charlotte, and Belinda and Jason. Shane’s here now and Shelley came earlier in the week.” I’ll go into where the kids are staying and read their beautiful, if now very ratty looking, note again.
Sometimes, despite the distant, unfocused look in her eyes, it feels like she’s wanting to say something.
“Don’t try to speak. You don’t have to,” I’ll tell her. “I know everything you’d want to say. You just rest and relax and let yourself heal.”
And sometimes, despite being told it didn’t matter what I said so long as I’m talking, I totally botch it.
“Tracey!” I exclaimed. As I’d stroked her hair I’d suddenly noticed something on her temple I thought she’d be interested in.”You’ve got another grey hair!”
“Hey,” hissed the nurse. “Enough of that.” She was shaking her disbelieving head at me, but I gathered from her next comment I’m not the only bloke she’s admonished over the years. “I’m really starting to think we need to hand out an instruction book to husbands in here.”
So I’m sorry, Tracey, if somewhere in that pretty head of yours a part of you frowned at me today. And we both know you did.
But the fact is I love that grey hair because it’s yours and I’m pinning all my hopes on a future where I get to see you upset by a lot more of them.