Monday, April 22, 2019

Last Woman Standing

Life as a writer poses many challenges. And not all of those challenges are writing or publishing related. Some challenges are how to carry on when life throws you a curveball.

My wife and I have been married for nearly twenty-one years, longer than most lesbian couples. We're still a lot like two lovesick teenagers, always making each other laugh. In so many ways, the honeymoon never ended.

That's not to say we don't have our challenges. Over the past few years, my wife has become disabled. It's difficult for her to stand for long periods of time or to walk long distances. So I've had to step up my game. And I'm happy to do so.

I do more of the chores around the house. I am doing more and more of the cooking (which is something she's always enjoyed doing.) I take care of our three cats. Plus my day job. Plus my writing career, which she has whole-heartedly supported.

As I said, I'm happy to do it because she's such an amazing person who helped me work through a lot of the PTSD-related issues that I had coming into the relationship two decades ago. In a very real way, she showed me what love is. And I am beyond grateful.

Me waiting for surgery
A couple of weeks ago, I started to feel some abdominal pain. I figured I probably strained some muscles pulling weeds. And then at times during the week, I felt lightheaded and feverish. Wasn't sure what it was, but I kept an eye on it.

Then a week ago last Saturday night, I felt a hard lump just above my navel. I'm realizing this isn't just a pulled muscle. Quite possibly a hernia. Not what I need with so many responsibilities at home.

I went to the Emergency Room and learned I had an abscess the size of a plum in my abdominal muscle. I was admitted to the hospital to have it treated.

Because of my wife's condition, she couldn't visit me. That was hard on both of us.

After a couple of days of being pumped with antibiotics, they drained the abscess, leaving in a JP drain to allow further drainage. After five days in hospital, they finally pulled the drain and released me.

Me getting a little silly on the whiteboard
The medical care was top-notch. The food was...well, it was not my wife's awesome cooking, I'll tell you that. And missing my wife for so long left me a little stir crazy. Writing silliness on the whiteboards.

I'm happy to say I am now home and on the mend. Not sure when I'll be back at work. And while my wife really stepped up to do what she could to take care of the cats and herself during my absence, it was a painful struggle for her.

Despite instructions for me to rest and take it easy, I simply can't. With all I went through, I'm still the most able-bodied person in the house. A day after my release, I was making meals, shopping for groceries, cleaning litter boxes, etc. Because shit still needs to get done.

Yes, I know the old adage about taking care of oneself as a priority before helping others. But the truth is, it's a balancing act. Difficult choices must be made when you're the last woman standing.

Maybe now I can get caught up on my editing.


2 comments:

Claire Booth said...

Dharma, I hope you heal quickly! (And I love your physician list--it's quite the lineup!)

Dharma Kelleher said...

Thanks!