A couple nights ago we were getting the boys ready for sleep. Rob was just laying there on Brian’s bed. He rolled a bit to get up and was suddenly in tremendous pain, back pain. He couldn’t move at all; the pain was so intense he could hardly even communicate. The boys thought he was joking and immediately rushed to pile on him. I caught them and hurried them into my office and got them coloring. They were oblivious to the situation, thankfully.
I got our neighbors over and they played with the boys until my parents arrived. Rob and I spent the night in the emergency room.
First off, Rob is doing fine. It was an old injury flaring up and pressing on a nerve. Not many humans exit life without experiencing back pain, and curse our ancestors for standing so quickly and leaving us with such a poor design, but what can you do? The doctor said surgery had a good chance of making things worse and so it’s rest and physical therapy. I got off easy, only being sentenced to housework for the last couple days. Nevertheless, aside from the kids, there’s no one I like to nurse back to health better than Rob :-).
I’ve been thinking how different such an event is for our family, though, and how we manage that difference.
On the way to the hospital I was flustered and a bit panicked. I mean, he couldn’t talk or move and we had no idea how serious this injury was. At about half way there, I’m ashamed to say, I broke into a string of profanities. I’d forgotten our binder! The binder that contains all our legal papers. It’s like our security blanket in such situations. If Rob remains unable to effectively communicate or goes unconscious, in order to make medical decisions for him, I’d have to run home and get those damn legal papers. I couldn’t leave him and he couldn’t wait and so I just thought, if worse comes to worse, I’ll just have to have my dad run it over.
When we got there I had to answer all the questions about Rob's medical history for him. They kept asking me about my “brother,” and in the rush I just let it stand; not a time for a diversity lesson. Finally I was asked if he was married and I said, “yes, to me, for 13 years.” maybe a bit too indignantly. I didn’t check to see if see if the lady listed our 15 years as “single” on the record; neither of us needed the aggravation.
In all the MRI showed the bulging disks, but also that it wasn’t nearly as bad as it seemed. It was just one very intense night and, with the help of some steroids, he’s doing great, considering. He’ll be okay.
I must say how much this event also made me realize how blessed we are with great neighbors, family, and friends. The reason we live in Utah, without the safety nets of legal marriage we could have elsewhere, is because we have so many other safety nets right here. We have ways here to brace ourselves from the disadvantage.
I know if anything happens, my family or Rob’s family will be right there. I know my friends are just minuets away and, if we’re in need, our boys will be in good hands (though they could end up spending dinner in anything from a Muslim to a Mormon to a lesbian household :-)).
Finally, Utah is great for its sense of community. The neighbors who came over that night are great people. They distracted our boys, they cooked us dinner the next night, and cleared our driveway at the last storm. I love feeling that sort of comfort. Say what you will of Hillary, but I sleep better knowing the village is there, just in case.
In all, I just feel very lucky, or blessed, or like we’re subconsciously adept selectors of friends, family, and home locations, or something :-). Thank you, powers that be.