It is 5am, and I am in the waiting area at UAB Highlands Orthopaedic Group, same-day surgery. Last year at this time it was my turn when I came in for shoulder surgery. This year it is my sweet Dan’s turn as he has his second knee surgery in two years to repair torn meniscus. Between the two of us, this is the fifth time that we have come to Highlands for surgical procedures; two meniscus repairs, broken ankle repair, shoulder, and a pain block to combat Dan’s chronic neck pain. We’ve decided that by now they should name a wing of the hospital after us…we seem to be pretty rough on the old bods. We know we’ve been here too much when the nurse looked at me and said, “You look very familiar- I think I assisted at your shoulder surgery.” I think I’d like to cash in our frequent flyer miles…
“For better, for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health”…Dan and I have been there together through it all for twelve years. Each time I go through these life experiences with Dan, my love for him only grows. As I watch his sweet and gentle nature, his humor as he makes all of the nurses laugh, as he reassures his worried wife and tells me how much he loves me. So many people would be totally focused on themselves when facing surgery, but Dan’s first thought is to put others at ease. He really has a gift, a light of kindness and empathy that shines brightly. I have learned so much from him as I’ve observed him in good times and bad; he thinks of others first, he rarely loses his cool, and he keeps his sense of humor in tact. He helps me to be a better human being.
I just met with our wonderful Dr. Ponce. He told me that this knee was much worse than the last, as there was much more arthritis. The photos he showed me were bad- jagged bone, a bone spur, and no cushioning left. Dr. Ponce shook his head, saying that he was afraid that Dan wouldn’t see much improvement in his pain, unlike the last knee surgery, and that he sees a full knee replacement will be needed in the not-too-distant future for someone as fit and active as Dan. My heart hurts for him, as this is a man who never stops, who is passionate about his yoga teaching, exercise, and his many responsibilities keeping our old house going. No matter what, I will stand by him and take good care of this man who holds my heart.
As I sit here with many other families waiting on their loved ones, listening to the waiting room television full of the sad news from Paris, I again think of how life goes on- some how, some way. We are dealing with life, just as those in Paris are, getting up in the morning, moving forward, laughing and crying, doing the everyday things of life. Some of those in Paris, though, no longer have loved ones to go home to. When Dan wakes up from surgery, I will kiss him tenderly, hold him tighter, cherish him even more than I already do. As my mom often said when she witnessed sadness and tragedy in the world, “There but by the grace of God go I.” I will continue to see the world in light and love, sending prayers of healing in many, many forms. La vie est belle…life is beautiful.