A Scary Valentine’s Day!

I do not expect flowers or chocolate or candle light dinners on Valentine’s Day. I know that Mr. M loves me and I think it is a total waste of money to spend them on overpriced perishables like roses. Don’t misunderstand me, I love roses for their sweet sensual smell but most of the roses sold on Valentine’s Day are deep red, lovely to look at but do not smell at all. Mr. M and I love dark chocolate and we always have some in the fridge. I don’t have to wait for Valentine’s Days to enjoy a good dinner in the company of my loved one. But this blog is not about me dissing the commercialisation of love in the name of St. Valentine. This blog is about love and dealing with the fear of losing one’s love forever.

The 4 ½ hours that I spent today waiting in a hospital room for Mr. M to be brought back from the operation room were one of the worst in my life. Even worse than being locked up in a cell for 24 hours but that is another story.

Mr. M has a history of ear infections since he was young. Last year he complained of hearing problems and the visit to the doctor’s confirmed that he has a cholesteatoma in his left ear. The doctor said that he had to remove the growth through surgery as soon as possible. Do you read the side effects written on package leaflets that come with medicine? I have stopped reading that part of the leaflet a long time ago. It only caused me to wonder, which was the lesser of two evils; the ailment or the possible side effects? In this case, the surgery could potentially lead to paralysis of that part of his face and the general anaesthesia could lead to complications. Since not having the surgery was not an option, Mr. M went to several doctors looking for a surgeon he felt he could trust. His search led him to a private clinic that specialises in head surgeries. A few weeks ago, he finally got a date for the surgery – 14th of February!

As we packed his overnight bag for the clinic today, I could sense that Mr. M was feeling quite tensed. It isn’t a wonder. The operation was supposed to take between 1 ½ to 2 hours. Sounds like a long time just to remove a growth. I tried to console him as best as I could, as we were waiting in his private room at the clinic. As promised a nurse came to accompany him to the operation room around 12.30 pm. Mr. M had to remove his wedding ring and had to use soap to get it off his finger. The nurse joked about him putting so much weight since the wedding. Her chin fell when she heard that we have been married for more than 11 years. Predictably she asked how old I was because people usually judge me to be younger than I am. I put on his ring was  but it too large for even my thumb.

All the time, I tried not to think about the “what ifs”. What if something went wrong? Instead I tried to spend my time usefully by getting him some toiletries, which he had run out of. Unfortunately for me the shopping centre is just around the corner and I was back after only 30 minutes. Since Mr. M was not supposed to eat 6 hours before the operation, he had not eaten breakfast and I didn’t want to make it difficult for him I did not have breakfast either. Therefore by then I was starving as well and got myself a pre-packed Sushi box. The freezing temperatures outside were not suitable for a lunch on park bench. So I took my shopping back to the clinic and decided to enjoy my sushi in front of the TV in Mr. M’s room.

Until the moment I tried to pick up a piece of sushi with chopsticks, I thought that I was coping fine with the situation. I thought that I was not stressed out. But then I saw the way my hand shaking as I used the chopsticks and it hit me. I was not cool about it all! I was perspiring and feeling cold at the same time. If not for my black shirt, one would be able to see dark patches under my arms. My body was feeling the tension that I did not want to think about. I was worried sick that something would go wrong and I would lose him forever. A few days ago, I wrote that death is the only thing that is absolutely certain in life. I am not afraid of death for myself. But losing only one half is a terrible burden to bear until the end of one’s life. Mr. M is my soul mate. The person I am now is largely due to his influence and our past together as a couple. As in all relationships, we have our problems. But there is one problem we do not have. Even after all these years, we have not fallen out of love.

Although the TV was on, I could not concentrate on the programme shown. I knew beforehand that I had a long wait and had brought a book to read and my laptop to prepare for the interview on Thursday. But I did not feel like doing any of it and the internet provided a distraction only for a short while. I ended looking at the watch at 5 minute intervals. At about 2.35 pm there was a knock on the door and I thought “Finally”. The nurses rolled a bed into the room and I had a good look at the man lying on it. Mr. M was only gone for 2 hours and there was no way he could have grown a 3 day beard, lose about 10 kg and age at least 20 years in that time. Just as I was about to say that they had the wrong room, the man commented, “That is not my wife!” We all laughed, I wished him “Gute Besserung!” and I was left standing alone in the room.

After more than 4 hours of anxious waiting, there was another knock on the door. The nurse wanted me to leave the room, while they bring Mr. M back. Was I relieved! I had to fight hard to stop the tears from running down my cheeks! I was informed that the operation was more complicated than expected but they are sure that all will be well. He was still pretty groggy as he was brought back into the room and has been sleeping almost the whole time since then. He woke up once to go to the toilet and in that moment of clarity, he thanked me for being there. No reason to thank me! There is no other place, I would rather be at this moment and the sound of his snores is music to my ears because I know that he is still breathing.

Hope you all had a less nerve wrecking Valentine’s Day. Happy Valentine’s Day! Don’t forget to tell your loved one that you love them tomorrow and the day after and the day after that and …

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