Time has lost any real meaning to me as the COVID-19 pandemic nightmare continues, and especially since my Dan was diagnosed with the virus yesterday. Usually a person incredibly driven by structure and routine, now I have to check the calendar on my phone to know what day it is so that I know what I’m supposed to do. Is this a teaching day? Do I take out the recycling? The trash? And the most important question of all- is this the day that Dan might get to come home?
This afternoon was awful; as if things weren’t already miserable enough for him, he had to have a NasoGastro procedure to remove an impaction in his upper intestine. This involved a tube being inserted through this nose, down his throat, and into his stomach. The doctor had told him it would take four or more hours and would not be “fun”; the nurse told him it shouldn’t take more than thirty minutes, which brought great relief to Dan and to me. As usual with this hellish week we’ve had, things didn’t go quiet as expected.
I was outside watering plants when Dan’s text came. Now the plan was to leave the tube in all night, taking Dan to- in his own words- the Thirteenth Gate of Hell. My heart just breaks every time another painful procedure or experience happens to my sweet husband. He was not able to talk, as the tubes were painfully pressing against his vocal cords. At least a small blessing; they gave him morphine that allowed him to sleep some during the ordeal. Hopefully they will remove the tubes early in the morning to give him relief sooner rather than later.
Dan is such a strong man, so positive and spiritual, but as each of these experiences come at him I worry that they are chipping away at his spirit and his resolve. The ultimate goal in getting through the procedure today is that it will hopefully put him another step closer to being stabilized and able to come home to quarantine, something we both want more than we can adequately express in words. To have to go through this hell apart, without being able to hold hands and support each other, has been unbearable. He is alone, in pain, and afraid; I am alone, worried sick, and afraid. We are always stronger together- and we’ve been through so much together over the years to prove it.
I have been on edge today, the smallest sounds or intrusion rattling my already frazzled nerves. I am trying my best to be there for Dan in any way that I can and to get the house ready for a true quarantine, I’m trying to keep family and friends aware of Dan’s status, trying to take care of the gardens and the animals, and, bless my wonderful students, I’m trying to keep some semblance of our derailed semester moving forward.
I am a wreck but trying not to let myself give in to the fear. Writing is helping me process it all, just as if did when I was caring for my mother. I am staying razor focused on the goal of bringing Dan home and getting him healthy again…and hopefully not having this evil virus myself. Again, today I circled my wagons and touched base with my small circle of trusted friends who are like family to me. As an INFJ (just like Dan) and a huge introvert (just like Dan), when times become stressful I go inward, feeling emotionally safe with only a very few people. I appreciate my tribe; there is no pressure, just love and support, and the ability to help me find the silver linings and the laughter even on dark days.
I have to believe that tomorrow will be better, and that soon Dan will be in the comfort of his home, surrounded by the love that is always there. So many people are lifting us up during this time. One day, one trial at a time, we will get there. Love will win the day.