Right now, my wife is in surgery. A partial nephrectomy. I probably won’t see her for about four hours. It’s a relatively minor procedure, but I’m feeling scared and anxious.
We didn’t talk much about it in the weeks leading up to the surgery. As usual, I avoided the subject. Subconsciously, consciously, probably both. Any time you are anesthetized or operated on, there’s a chance you could die. It’s unlikely. Unfeasible. Improbable. It’s all of those things, but not implausible. So when I finally brought it up with her the other night, my question to her was, “So, you could die, right?”
I hadn’t shown much emotion about it until then, and I still didn’t in that moment, but it was more than I had previously. Part of the reason for that was avoidance. Denial. This is so minor, I thought. And the part of me that didn’t consciously think about it knew there was some risk involved. Hush up, brain, I thought. I said this is minor!
In the moments leading up to her leaving the prep room for surgery, we had mixed emotions. Anxiety, hope, dismissive-ness. We nervously joked about going ahead and yanking out her gall bladder while they’re in there, fashionable hospital wear, and how the anesthesiologist could be a complete jerk, even if the nurse did say he was a good guy. (Why would he say otherwise?)
As I kissed her and told her I’d see her soon, nurses and doctors wheeling her away, I made a wish that her wedding ring, worn on my pinky, would keep us linked while she’s asleep.
P.S. Thanks for all your thoughts, prayers, and well wishes. I’ll keep you posted.