One of the things I can't remember about the night before surgery is who left the hospital first. I think it was Marcie, that I sent her home around 9 knowing she'd be back before 4 in the morning (and it's an hour drive). I think Martin stayed much later just to be with me.
I could ask, but I haven't really asked anyone about their experience of all this, because I want to have my impressions down first. Besides, everyone (and I mean everyone) is concentrated on my emotional well-being, so I don't think they'd tell me anything "difficult" for the time being. And that's okay. There are details that I'm sure will emerge over the course of many conversations and a lot of time.
M and I have been dating for a little over two years. It doesn't seem that long, and it sometimes seems like a lifetime. He's pretty fantastic, but I won't write about all the ways we "fit" and how much I love him... that's way to schmoopy to subject everyone to. Including me. Especially him. But I do believe he's headed for some sort of sainthood, and to that effect I offer the following vignettes:
About the beginning of March, we had one of those long lazy Sunday morning conversations, the kind of babbling that happens between snoozes and very serious discussions about if it would be possible to stay horizontal for the entire day. Among the topics were superpowers, my girlfriends' love lives, how crazy my family is... etc. M started quizzing me on what happens during tx surgery. I had been to the surgeon talk three times, but honestly couldn't recall a lot of the technical stuff from the latest one (last summer) so I stumbled through. Also made him pinky swear that when I had surgery, NO ONE but immediate family was allowed to see me before I had the naso-gastric tube removed. It's a quirk of mine, but it is so terribly foul that I draw the line there. Anyhow, being the information geek I am, I spent time online when I got home later that day and re-read all the surgical info. During our goodnight phone call, I found that he had done the same. It was one of those miracles of timing because a few weeks later I was much more informed with fresh information than I had been.
He sat in the surgery waiting room (which I have never seen but which I assume must be terrible) with my family for 12 hours. Even my family can't do that.
I don't remember ICU, but he was there.
When he saw me scratching my arms he did not hesitate, in a room full of people, to grab the lotion (hospital swag!) and work it around my IVs.
When my brow was furrowed (bright light!!!) there was a nice forehead rub to relax me.
That Saturday night, when I was really able to be conscious of my surroundings for awhile, after everyone left, he turned on the super bright lights in the room, and used the back of his Ipod as a mirror to show me my staggeringly white eyes. When I cried, he did too.
When you are sick, or convalescing, it's important to have someone who is constitutionally calm. Someone who is not afraid to touch things - literally and figuratively - which are fragile. Who can be firm in the most gentle of ways. And I have that in Martin as my friend.
Last night after all the furniture arranging and picture-hanging, I realized something very very important about him. I don't have to worry about him, which is very unlike many of my other close relationships in life. I can worry with him, or for him - about work, family, health, etc., but not about him and his steadfastness and reliability. And that's such a huge thing.
Now I need to go wake him up. Maybe I'll have to change all of these nice things... :-)