Sunday, March 27, 2016

Block 3 Week 9: Life is pain, Highness

I was really hoping to be able to reflect on the past week and say we got through it and we are back home and on the road to recovery. That's not the case yet. HB is still in the hospital with some complications from pancreatitis. There is some hope that he will be released on Sunday (Easter) or Monday (not Easter), so I'm trying to be hopeful without allowing so much hopeful that I crash and burn if it doesn't work out. That's the thing about throwing all your energy into being hopeful. People advise you to not lose hope, but not hope so much that you get disappointed. That's not really something you can help, is it? I mean, you try to balance hope and expectation in this delicate fashion so that if it works out -- YAY! -- but if it doesn't, you aren't terribly disappointed. I'm of the opinion that you can't avoid hope just to avoid disappointment. I'm throwing all my energy into the hoping, and if disappointment is what I get instead, I'm just going to allow myself to feel that and crash and burn temporarily.

A fellow class member told me on Friday that I was so strong, and that they don't know how I'm doing it. I don't feel like I'm doing much of anything, except being dragged along rather unwillingly while trying to look like everything is fine and my hair isn't a mess. I told her that I'm faking the heck out of keeping it together, and once HB is out of the woods (or hospital as it were) and home safe, I'll fall apart for a matter of days. I think she thought I was joking. I'm completely serious. I'm really good at keeping it all together for the most part while everything is falling off a cliff, but once everyone gets up and brushes off and is OK, I will lose it. For a while.

I have to say that just about every night I wake up at about 3am and decide that a career in medicine is not for me. That's about the time that HB wakes up needing pain meds. It's a good thing I don't listen to 3am me very much, except for that one time I was pregnant and my water broke and it was time to have a baby -- but that's another story. I am not at my best for making life decisions at 3am, and I have over 40 years of experience to back that up, so no worries about my career decisions. The thing I worry about at 3am is having to exist in this limbo that is hospital life indefinitely. This is a vast improvement over about a week ago, when all I could think about is whether we were going to get out of this with both of us still kicking. One of the things that makes 3am worry sessions a little easier to manage is that most of the things I've worried about at 3am in the past have not happened. I wish that would eradicate these sessions altogether, but maybe in another 40 years...

Since school has started, I've been pretty dependent on HB and our extended family/friend network. Since he's been sick, I've been even more dependent. I'm not fond of being in this place of need, and I struggle with letting people step in and help out. But there's no way I could drop everything and stay up here with HB during this if I didn't depend on everyone a little more. I'm amazed at how many of my friends and family have stepped up to help out. Our refrigerator is overflowing with yummy food. People just call and say, hey I'm going to do this thing so that life will be moderately easier for you, and they do it. My classmates show up with bagels and coffee.  Or they mention what's going on with us to people that they know at the hospital, and the CEO of EAMC shows up in our room to check in. We are so overwhelmed with how much people love HB and want to help. I feel like I have a list a mile long of thank you notes to write. I hope that I can be this awesome to my tribe if they ever need me. Because, wow.

If you've made it through this 3am-worry-session-turned-blog-post, you should give yourself a good pat on the back and maybe buy yourself a coke. I'm sure I'll read this tomorrow and feel a little sheepish, but as it stands, I'm about to hit publish. My idea of a medical school blog didn't really involve outlining how to deal with life threatening illness in your spouse while not dropping out, but as I've said before, I can only write where I live. And for now, this is home. I can only hope it helps someone out there who has to go through the same thing. That will make it almost worth it.

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