Friday, March 4, 2011


So from my previous posts, you may have gathered that the Nichols household has been fighting off viruses and bacteria for the past month. Thursday marked the end of antibiotics for all of us, which coupled with Dave's 38th birthday, was definitely cause for celebration! I bravely took on the task of making dinner: enchiladas, Mexican rice, beans, garnishing, and chocolate cake (I suppose I should have gone with churros or sopaipillas to keep the theme... hindsight...). As we all sat down to eat, I felt a wave of victory- as if I just reached the summit of a hill... and in my shape, that is a victory. A mountain would just be plain unrealistic. I had made dinner, nothing was underdone or overcooked, food was tasty... it was good and it felt like for a brief moment, the stars had aligned. By the end of it, we were all stuffed (or if you read my previous post- "gut-loaded") but isn't that what special occasions are for? I should add though that the kids didn't eat too much of it... Ella opted for plain bread (really? Is it that bad?) and Hanna had something... I think...Dave woke up Friday morning with a stomach ache and my parents insisted it was the enchiladas. I rolled down my hill fast. By mid-afternoon, he was home from work early and still in pain. I hadn't had any issues with the dinner so it was strange that he was still feeling the "after-effects". I knew that if he didn't figure out what it was, he would be out of commission longer than if he just went to the doctor and got some antibiotics. Or even better, if there was nothing wrong, he'd have no excuse not to pull his weight around here. I left to run some errands and pick up the kids and by the time I got home, he was hunched over in pain... very dramatic. I have always felt that men have a propensity to exaggerate when it comes to pain and have little patience for it. Yes, mean. I know. I won't deny it. It really isn't my strength but I have worked really hard to try to change this part of me, or at least lead some to believe that I am. He went to an Urgent Care center, and after a series of x-rays, he called to let me know he was headed to the ER for a CT scan. I had just put the three kids to bed and was already in my pajamas. Clearly, I underestimated the severity of his ailment. I arranged for a friend to come and stay with the kids and headed out to the hospital around 11. He had gotten the results of the scan and was already scheduled for an emergency appendectomy. He was going to be out longer than I thought. Trying not to panic, I tried to think of the positives... perhaps he could keep his appendix for Ella to share with her class? They are studying the human body after all... he wasn't really interested and wouldn't even allow me to bring it up with the surgeon. He was taken to the operating room on the second floor... the nurse showed me the waiting room. It was completely empty, dark, and downright creepy. For a moment, I wondered if this surgery was even legit- it seemed like a scene from a bad horror movie- where the patient gets wheeled away for a "surgery" only to find they are conducting experiments and implanting devices in him while he is out. I guess who is to say that didn't happen... every now and then doors would close, but there was no sign of life. My imagination continued to run wild- it was 3 a.m. after all and I had gotten no sleep. What if I am kidnapped (or woman-napped)? No one would even know that I was gone... I could have been the one drugged and medically experimented on and then left in some obscure corner on the second floor... sadly, I wondered how I would pump if that happened, and how much pain I'd be in if I couldn't pump. "OK, if you MUST take me, can you at least give me a chance to pump every three hours?" I was fortunate enough to find some hot coffee which perhaps settled my thoughts. Surgery went well but recovery was tougher than expected. He was discharged that afternoon (slightly over 12 hours after his surgery?!?) despite my urging him to stay as long as possible. Hey, there at least he got sleep, it was quiet, he was being tended to... seemed like a good deal to me. And for me, it was one less person to care for at home. Things were tough enough when the ratio was 2:3, but 1:4 seemed daunting and downright exhausting. Every time he walked around, I told him to rest. Whenever he sat for too long, I told him he needed to move. Poor guy. Now, almost a week later, he is doing much better and has begun resuming his household duties. Had it been me, I think I would have milked it for quite a bit longer. "Sure, the incision is completely healed, but the pain is on the inside. I need to rest." His incision sites still make me cringe- and I am convinced now that even those two weeks during freshman year when I thought I was pre-med was too long. Yes, I was one of those many freshman who thought they were pre-med only to transfer to the business school shortly thereafter. But I can guarantee that had I made it through medical school, cutting people open would not have been my specialty. I feel the same way about colorectal specialists... I know someone has to do it, and I guess I am thankful that someone does, but of all the areas to specialize in? I imagine bedside manner is key for this field, because it just plain uncomfortable inside and out when you have to see them. Perhaps a subject for another blog. For now, I'll be thankful for my teaching job where on most days, band-aids are still the cure all.

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