Friday, January 11, 2008

A Societal Back Brace

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.


[əɪ̯ wʌndɹ̟] said...

I'm glad Rob is ok.

The reason we live in Utah, without the safety nets of legal marriage we could have elsewhere,

Well pretty soon, you won't have to worry as much about things like hospital visits and hopefully work benefits because of Mayor Becker's domestic partnership registry for SLC (assuming it passes the city council, which it should). What are your thoughts on it?

Silus Grok said...

And while I'm absolutely delighted that Rob is on the mend, what got my juices going was the typo-induced imagery of all your friends just minuets away... dancing friends — that's why I live in Utah!

: )

Java said...

I, too, enjoyed the merry minuets! Please don't read my posts too closely or critically! I'm likely to do the same thing. :-)
I am so glad Ron is OK. I hope he continues to improve, and rapidly. My husband has a ruptured disk that occasionally flares up. It hasn't put him in that much pain, though. Yet. I hope it never does!
I hope legal marriage is available to you soon! And to everyone else who truly desires a legal union.

Scot said...

Iwonder: “What are your thoughts on it?

It’s a very welcome step, but one I understand we’ll not be able to take. I’ve not seen the bill yet, but I understand it’s only for those under Becker’s jurisdiction. We live in the suburbia just outside of SLC. Also, I’d still need our binder of legal documents at the hospital, if, as the trib article states, it’s limited in such situations to visitation, not decision making.

If we can get it, we’ll get it. We seem to be collecting legal documents from anyone who’ll offer them to us. The need to be sure, in case of emergency, is great.

From the article:

"I have great empathy for that kind of thing," explained Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan. "I have no problem with people sharing insurance or their wills, estates, real estate or lives. I just have to be certain we're not coming in the back door of the Amendment 3 [ban on gay marriage and civil unions]."

I hope Buttars is just an adept self deceiver, instead of a liar. I mean, great empathy for us from the man who’s done nothing but attack, insult, and try to undermine our families? That’s one of the most frightening things about this state, the number of people with influence here who can do harm and still feel good, empathetic about it. They take their cake and eat it too.

I’m glad there’s so much else to Utah to balance it out.

Scot said...

Silus "all your friends just minuets away"

What? You're friends don't dance to your aid?

I find it really breaks the tension. :-)

Scot said...

I'm likely to do the same thing. :-)

Oh, Java, I'm sad to say I'm much more horrible than you'll ever know, thanks to microsoft Word. :-)

I hope legal marriage is available to you soon!

Thank you.

[əɪ̯ wʌndɹ̟] said...

I just have to be certain we're not coming in the back door...

Hmmm... is that a metaphor for
something? :)

I read the comments to the SLC Tribune article about it. It was really, really scary what some of the people were saying - what their arguments against it were. I mean, I understand someone having religions objections to gay marriage, but this was absolutely insane.

I hope Buttars is just an adept self deceiver, instead of a liar.

There are lots of people I know who talk like that, thinking they are just looking out for our "best interests" (whether we agree or not). It is amazing how many people in those comments on the article made reference to the "Gay Agenda" and how the wrath of God is being kindled against SLC, and how they know that God is angry at Ralph Becker, etc.

It amazes me how these people think they can know what God thinks, feels and wants. Those are the ones that scare me the most.

Chris said...


First, glad to hear that Rob is recovering.

Second, who needs gay marriage when you have a binder?!


Scot said...

Iwonder: “It was really, really scary what some of the people were saying - what their arguments against it were.”

Great, now I’m bound to go look and raise my blood pressure. :-)

Chris: “ Second, who needs gay marriage when you have a binder?!

Oy, tell me about it. When our family goes out of state or, worse, country, we end up practically taking a law book with us just to get a chance at a fraction of what your average Britney Spears takes for granted.