I began writing this several weeks ago. While he was in the hospital, I couldn’t even summon the strength to open my blog. After he was home for a few days, I started this post to sort my feelings. I couldn’t finish it. Life is slowly settling into a more normal routine, and I am confident he will be fully recovered, although there is still a long road ahead. This post is messy but I am posting it to kickstart me back into a blogging routine:
The summer of struggle
The Dude is now home from the hospital after a very long and exhausting month. He had two surgeries and a procedure, all on the healing journey of a diverticulitis flare and abscesses. There were days of progress, days of setback, and days of waiting.
He was admitted the day before my last day and going away party. I started my new job on the day of his first surgery. My graduation party was scheduled for the day he had his second surgery. Both parties have been postponed, and his job offer couldn’t be held.
During the month of hospitalization, we had to deal with a washer repair, a van repair, and the decision to put our dog down. I have not yet had a day where I commute to my new job from my home and then commute back to my home. Instead, I spent the time sleeping in a chair, throwing away leftovers (no available refrigerator in the hospital), and worrying.
In the first week and a half, it was worrying about money and his job and his getting better. After his more invasive surgery, it was pure worrying about him. It was a definite shift in perspective. Then he started to improve but it just still dragged on and on.
At this point, I have some unresolved trauma surrounding his immediate recovery period after the surgery. So far I have acknowledged that but just shoved it down to the spot where the rest of my unresolved trauma lives.
Now that we are home, I am trying to unpack my feelings and reactions.
The thing that has bubbled to the top most clearly is the lack of control I feel over my own life. Before I dive into this, I will acknowledge that I have a lot of control. I have chosen where in the country I wanted to live, I was able to move to a school district where my kids get a great education, I had the ability to obtain a job that satisfies me and pays me well.
But there are all these little (and not so little) things. I chose to enter a doctoral program, and I chose to stay in it and continue working to completion.
I chose to put in the time, learning, and humility it required to finish it. But once on the path, my own decisions became limited. I got to make decisions on methods and literature and words. Yes, lots of choices there, overwhelming amounts really. But I would also listen closely to committee members and throw out things that were concerning. And my choices around how I could spend time became so limited. Work-commute-write-family time-chores-sleep. That was my life for a couple of years or more. One reason that buying the sectional was such a big deal was because it was me choosing what I wanted.
We currently live in a house we didn’t really choose. We needed to move out of our old house because the landlord was planning to rent it. Houses were going so fast that we took the only one available. It was available because no one was allowed entrance to see the inside. So we rented a place sight unseen. Although I love my current job, my absolute first choice dream job would be teaching sociology courses to adults. But that type of job is not abundantly available where I want to live in a pay range I am comfortable with, so I went with a job I could make work. So neither house nor job were my first choices. But I do get to live in the area I want to be in and I was able to secure a job that pays well with great benefits. And I will reiterate that I love my job and I am coming to like my house, so all is not terrible. And at some point I will figure out a way to teach sociology for fun.
I know that life is not about being in control, and so many people struggle with it at such a bigger level. But I really thought that I had put my time in, and now I would get to start enjoying my weekends off-hiking, taking acting classes. Instead, these things continue to be placed on hold.
I am trying to find little things to take control of now. And trying to accept the things that happen that are out of my control. And I am trying to learn the lessons so that when we can start living more extravagantly, we don’t squander the opportunity.