This past Friday, Richie went in for his fourth surgery on his ankle… count them…
That is four times he has been taken away into an operating room, sent off to la la land, cut open, sawed on, screwed into, bolted together, scraped apart, and sewn back together. Four times that he has come back from la la land in a dazed state, first wondering where he is, and then slowly becoming aware that the inevitable pain is getting ready to set in. Four times that he has had to sacrifice days, weeks, months (and nearly an entire year the first time around) of "normal" hang out time with his family. That bedroom gets to be a lonely place after a while. Four times that he has had to let go of walking, and rest patiently to allow time pass so he can gradually get comfortable doing it again. This stuff takes a toll on a person. It is as much (if not more) of a mental surgery as it is physical. It is unbelievably taxing.
From where I sit far away in the surgical waiting room, I always find myself having this euphoric feeling of closeness with him when he is in surgery. I'm not sure if it is because I just said "good-bye" to my other half as someone else is literally holding his life in the palm of their hands. Or it could be because I'm by myself and I actually have a minute of quiet time … time to reflect, and think, and feel. Or maybe it's because of the invisible badge that I get to wear as the wife of a man in surgery - the doctor comes out to speak to me, the hospital staff releases him to me, the paperwork needs to be signed by me. All because he and I walked down the aisle together, I have all these special privileges that nobody else has.
Or possibly it is the ring that I'm holding in my hand.
His dad's ring.
The ring that he mindlessly wears around his finger every. single. day. to always keep close a reminder of our sacred commitment to each other. Holding that ring, the endless circle, in my hand, on my finger while my husband is in the other room, in another zip code, where I can't get to him… it just makes it feel like I'm connected to him, wherever it is that his mind might be. I love having that ring on my finger. It's a part of him ~ a deeply sentimental part of him ~ that I get to hold onto while he is far far away.
I took this picture with my phone while I was sitting in the waiting room. If you look closely, you can see his father's initials, RRH, etched into it with the year '67 beside it, alongside Richie's initials, RAH, with the year '02.
Richie is recovering well, and has actually started putting weight on his ankle and has walked through the house without the assistance of a cane or crutches. The purpose of the surgery was to clean up a bunch of scar tissue and other junk that has accumulated in there over the past 3 years. Hopefully, this will alleviate a lot of the pain he has been putting up with and give him some additional mobility.
Prognosis so far is… hopeful ~