The Ties that Bind

I woke up very early worrying about Dan. I hadn’t heard anything from him since late yesterday afternoon, and I knew he was going to be suffering all night with the NasoGastro procedure. If the Coronavirus is not bad enough, he is still dealing with complications from his appendectomy. Two ER trips and two hospital stays in one week…I want nothing more than to take away his suffering and bring him home.

I got up and began taking care of Marley and Shiva when the phone rang. My first husband had called to tell me that his mother, Virginia, had passed away. My heart broke a little bit more at the sad news. She and I had remained close after the divorce; she told me many times that I was the daughter she never had.

Virg was a tiny Irish Catholic woman from Southside Chicago, as tough and independent as they come. However, she was never anything but kind and supportive of me. I will never forget the first time we met- I was a very young twenty-three year old, the front door to her house opened, she looked me up and down and said, “Well, she certainly is the prettiest girl you’ve ever brought home!” I loved her spunk and I will miss her. I was fortunate to have two amazing mothers-in-law. I like to think of them all together now with my mom, looking out for us. Another much-needed angel during these sad times.

I took Marley on a long walk to collect my thoughts and then did some kickboxing in my gym to burn off the ever-present stress, keeping my phone propped where I could see if Dan responded. My phone is very much a lifeline now, another crucial appendage, and each sound it makes puts me on high alert, hoping upon hope that I will hear from Dan or the hospital with news.

The morning was frustrating where news was concerned. Dan called briefly to say that the tube was still in him and that he’d had awful hiccups all night. Right after he said the words, the hiccups resumed and we had to end our conversation. I tried twice to call the nurses’ station today to get some sort of update, and both times was told that Dan’s nurse was busy and to call another time. I burst into tears at the frustration of knowing so little. I’ve not heard anything from a doctor or nurse in several days now. In these strange times, I have no idea what to do to try to advocate for Dan. A dear friend suggested that I reach out to our primary care physician, and so I wrote to ask if she could help.

Finally, some good news came this evening:

Any positive news does so much to buoy our spirits. Things move slowly at the hospital, and we have no idea when Dan will finally be released to come home to quarantine. He hasn’t had solid food in three days now, and I am so worried. At one point this afternoon he sent a short text just saying that he was so tired of being in the hospital. For a man who never stops, always has a home project, is always preparing for a yoga class, is always helping to support me in my career, I know that being in a hospital bed for this long is torture. It feels like weeks since I have seen his sweet face in person. How strange to be blocks from him and not be able to get anywhere near him.

Again I came up to the top deck to enjoy the view and feel the peace of Chez Gainey. I feel Dan close to me here, something that gives me hope. I have been thinking of the ties that bind us all, even the awful COVID-19 is a connection of humanity across the globe. So many of us are dealing with the realities of this life-changing virus. I just hope and pray that our story will have a happy ending. It just has to. I have been so grateful for the hundreds of messages of love and support and kind offers of help that we have received; it really does lift my spirits to know that so many are thinking of us and praying for Dan’s healing and return home. I can just see the celebration now, enjoying the peace and beauty of our funky old home in springtime, all of this just a bad dream.


24 thoughts on “The Ties that Bind

  1. Love you , Denise! Thank you so much for the update. I’ve thought of you and Dan all day, and my heart says he’ll be home with you soon! ❤

  2. Thanks for writing this and for the update on Dan. I know you have hundreds of friends and we feel free to call me if you just need to talk. Much love to you both

  3. Thank you for helping us all understand where you are coming from. Dan is one lucky fella and is going to come out strong!

  4. Glad you had some good, encouraging news today! I can relate that in my own past times of crises the waiting, not knowing, is so hard. Yes, the phone becomes an appendage, never out of sight or sound, so as not to miss that important update! Continued prayers for Dan’s swift recovery!

  5. Oh, Denise, my heart hurts for Dan, and for you, and for so many others who have been affected by this malady. I absolutely Trust that Dan is going to come home very soon. He looked great in that last photo! I know he is on the upswing! You and he are such strong people…so caring and thoughtful of others. I also Trust that YOU will stay healthy. You two have been through enough, now it is time for even more healing to continue, and for there to be joy again in your home.
    No need to reply…save your energy. I love you both so very much. Thank you for all you both mean to me, AND to so many others. You touch so many lives and we are ALL on your side.

  6. A little good news along with some sad news. There is balance in this strange universe. I continue to think of you all and hope you can get some more news that is much more positive!! Hugs to you and Marley and Shiva (even thought she might not like the attention).

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