(From September 2012 – a reblog)
My husband has been home from the hospital for 48 hours. Two whole days. Therefore it must be true, and I can begin to believe it. I hope. And boy, have we learnt a thing or two about hope in the last few weeks.
Since his return, which was accompanied by tablets and appointments with various departments and specialists (not to mention emotional trauma and a true testing of nerves), we have managed a 15 minute sit on the beach, and a 20 minute walk to the local shop and back. Both of these pursuits exhausted my poor man, and the beach expedition resulted in a 3 hour session of deepest shut-eye just to recover from the exertion.
It was also, however, utter bliss. We lay on the stones, listening to the sea echo around us on a near empty stretch of shingle, marveling over the simplicity of the blue sky, the trailing wisps of cloud, and the familiarity of his chest beneath my head. We focused a little less on the fact that his arms look like pin cushions, he’s smothered in yellowing bruises, and that these – combined with his heavy head and withered little limbs – give him a not-fleeting resemblance to a smack addict stumbling his way past the sea, being avoided by parents and their small children, in the fear that he’ll be drop a needle in their path or puke on their shoes. We looked about as far removed from love’s young (alright, approaching middle-age) dream as you can get, but it felt like heaven to me. It’s all about the little things.
Our friends, as has become familiar over the past weeks, though never taken for granted, have proven themselves to be Super Friends, all deserving of coloured capes and pants outside of trousers malarky. We have friends who raced to physically support me after the time I arrived at the hospital only to find a bay empty of my husband’s bed, and in its place a registrar who led me to the Relative’s Room to explain about the first seizure, in which my husband had turned a shade of blue for a while. The feeling had disappeared from my legs as he spoke, sensation flooding away with the wave of fear that washed through me, oddly reminiscent of white noise, but in my limbs and not my ears.
We have friends who drove through the night simply to stand and hug me for 5 minutes in an NHS corridor, my snot and tears gracing their shoulders, as my husband lay under his oxygen mask and the glare of a hospital light in a ward that was otherwise dark and silent, save for the hiss of O2 and the beep beep beep of the machines to which he was wired. We have friends who organised a rota of visits once he felt strong enough to see people, all hoping to rouse him from the depression that threatened to creep across him like a shadow; friends who threw open the curtains of ‘normality’, to remind him that life still existed outside, and that breeze and sunshine and cooling rain still poured, away from the smell of cloying illness and stagnant air and bleak sterile walls.
We even have friends who, upon hearing that his appetite had returned and that only stodgy nursery comfort food would sate it, presented us with a bag from Waitrose, brimming with puddings and cream and custard and crisps. It’s all about the little things. Friends from all over the world, from whichever corners in which they may have settled after the winds of university and life and marriage threw them up and let them land, have made contact and checked, consistently, as to whether or not there is anything that they can do. Friends and family, who have delivered chocolates to my door, looked after our children, walked our dog, texted or phoned or sent love on a regular basis. Friends who define friends. Thank you.
As I type today, I sense that some of my husband’s usual mischief may be returning. He may be weak, but he senses that I am too, and is currently playing upon this in his latest effort, Mission: Convince Wife To Buy A Duck/and or Chickens. He is laying on the sofa as I type, and my eyes rest upon his foot that dangles over the edge, still vulnerable, still battered from years of football. I recall my earlier blog that spoke of their fragility. I wonder how many members of staff in the hospital ever take the time – or have the time to take – to note these little things. Because those feet of my husband can dance.
The first time we met he was dancing, and I love a man who has some rhythm. Before I became pregnant with our eldest daughter, we used to dance all the time he and I, until my burgeoning bump and changing shape became too vast for him to place his arms around. At that point in time, our time, our favourite activity was to watch the tiny life that we had created shimmy and kick and dance in my tummy, until her birth and emergence into the world. And with this, of course, our priorities changed again.
I suspect that, following the past weeks and whatever is to follow, we shall again experience a shifting of priority and a new appreciation of the little things in life. Blue skies and warm stones on my back, the dry skin on the heel of the man I love, his hand resting on my hip as I sleep, chocolate pudding and custard, the arms of my friend pressing between my shoulder blades as she whispers into the dark that this will be ok. The little things, infinitesimal unless observed with perspective, and under-appreciated unless we take the time.
Take the time friends, take your time. I cannot wait to dance with my husband again.
31st December 2014 – NYE (& insomina) have had me thinking over the past few hours, about the little things in life. Some of you will remember that my husband was seriously ill two years ago, and I wrote this blog upon his discharge from hospital. It could do with some polishing from a writing point of view, but I love that – because it’s raw and it’s honest and it’s sheer emotion; digging into the heart of what really matters in life. The sentiment is one that I’ll carry into the new year and for all the new years that I am lucky enough to experience. It really is all about the little things x