My husband had a pain management procedure done on Tuesday. Thanks in great part to some wonderful new friends; I was able to be with him for this one.
I went to the hospital, sat in the waiting room, and held his hand while he waited to be called in. We’ve done this before, many times before, though this isn’t something I’ve done in quite some time. With three children, Dr.’s appointments are usually solo excursions whenever possible, and to be honest with his chronic medical condition there is no way I could accompany him to every appointment nor would I want to. This one felt different. This was a new (to us) procedure to “burn” the nerves in his back which are likely the cause of a great deal of his pain and discomfort. So I wanted to be with him, because I knew he was scared, and I knew he was hopeful, and I knew he needed me to be.
After meeting the nurse, the anesthesia prep person, and the Dr., having a chance to voice my concerns and ask my questions, I was pleasantly directed to the waiting room while my husband was escorted to the place where the anesthesiologist (“Dr. Feelgood” as he likes to refer to him) would meet him and give him something to keep him calm and make him “comfortable” while they inserted three needles into his back and basically micro-waved the nerve endings.
As I sat in the waiting room trying to no avail to read, a man in his early fifties came out of the examination area. I watched as he leaned his small figure on his cane and made his way gingerly across the room to the nearest chair, lowering himself into it with great strain and effort. I watched him close his eyes and grit his teeth against the spasms of pain that wracked his body. I saw the goose-bumps on his arms and the death grip he held on the handle of his cane. I heard the hiss of his breath as he struggled not to cry out loud in agony. In a moment I saw all of these things, and I recognized them. I’d seen my own husband in that sorry state more times than I care to recount. And in that moment I found myself moving closer to this man (whose name I later learned was Joe) and gently placing my hand upon his shoulder in hopes of offering some minuscule amount of comfort to ease his obvious distress. I imagined in that short interlude that he was someone I cared about very much and I longed to ease his suffering with the strength of my love. He spoke of how “they” sometimes hit just the right spot with the injections, and the “moment” was over. I took my hand from upon his shoulder and we passed the rest of our time comparing “treatment” stories, his and my husband’s. A woman and her grown daughter joined us and we all chatted lightly while waiting for whatever each one of us was sent to wait for…
When my own loved one came through the door into the waiting area, I was happy to see him. Anxious to touch him, love him, and comfort him. As we were slowly making our way out to the elevator and then the parking lot, the mother, and then downstairs, the daughter with whom I had been chatting both said goodbye to me, and smiled and offered best wishes for the day. My husband laughed and said “You’ve been making friends?” Yeah, I said. “Of course you have.” he said.
I wound up being glad that I chose to go along for this particular appointment. It left me with a sense of purpose, and an overwhelming urge to give loving energy out to everybody I meet. I have no idea how to apply that yet to my everyday life, but it was none the less gratifying and inspirational. An experience I won’t soon forget.