Welcome to Second Ferment! Wine pairs well with life ... and food, travel, people, work and play. Grab a glass and join me as I explore the wine scene in Ottawa, Canada, and beyond. Love hearing from my readers, so please leave a comment. Cheers! - Bethany

Friday, January 03, 2014

Exit strategy for the socks

Hubby and I went out for a rare date night in between Christmas and New Year's Eve. Dinner and a show at YukYuk's. After the last few months we'd had, we needed a few laughs.

Comedian Graham Kay stood on the stage, deadpan expression, with both arms bent in like a pair of awkward flippers. He was telling a story about how he fell off his bike and broke both arms. "Nurse," he said, "I got up this morning and put on my socks with ARMS." He looks down, waving frantically in a parody of his then-useless state. "WHAT'S THE EXIT STRATEGY FOR THE SOCKS?"

This is where Hubby and I just about fell off our bar stools in gales of laughter for the next 10 minutes. Been there, done that.

You don't fully appreciate the little things like being able to put on your socks until you can't do it anymore. And you don't quite grasp how much your soul mate means to daily survival until he isn't there.

It started with the back problems. Hubby had been seeing a team of specialists since the Smurf was about a year old. Physio and chiro didn’t work, the doctors all had conflicting perspectives on what might be the problem, but no clear idea of how to fix it.

Then things got much, much worse.

An MRI showed severe degeneration and a torn labrum in the hip joint. Too far gone for one type of surgery, and too young for a replacement, Hubby was given prescriptions for pain killers and told to wait.

I watched the perpetually cheerful man I’d married turn into a shadow of his former self. The father who loved horsing around with the kids couldn’t even bend down for a kiss. His physical limitations became more and more pronounced; getting up from a chair, or out of the car, or into bed was a trial. By October, he was on medical leave from work, relegated to near bed-rest while the drugs barely made a dent.

He also couldn’t reach his feet. So each morning, I would help him with his socks. I couldn’t fix him, I couldn't wave a magic wand to make everything better (as much as I wanted to) but I could do this. I could look after all the other stuff. So I braced myself, put my head down and barrelled through. Git’er done, I told myself, keep going, keep at it, you have to keep it together.

It feels like I’ve been walking around with blinders on. My vision narrowed to getting through each day; anything that wasn't part of the routine faded into a barely noticeable blur in the periphery. Sleep, wake, eat, school, work, home, repeat. I didn’t have the energy to do anything more than that. I had two small children, a house, and a full-time job to juggle ... all while helplessly watching Hubby suffer through days of agony and ever-deepening misery.

Just before school was out in December, Hubby went in for cortisone treatments. We held our collective breath, knowing there was a 50/50 chance they would work.

They did. Best. Christmas. Present. EVER.

I had my husband back. The girls had their daddy. His eyes were bright, his laugh came easily, he walked and moved without being wracked by spasms. He went back to work. I looked him in the eyes one night and said, "Hey! I know you! I've missed you." We celebrated Christmas with joyful abandon, and noisily rung in the new year with the Doodle (who actually managed to stay up till midnight.)

The wave of awesome hasn't yet subsided, so we're going to ride it for as long as we possibly can.

And that sock joke? Now you know why it's so very, very funny.

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