Yesterday, when I awoke to go to a typical day of work, my fiancé had confessed that his stomach was bothering him most of the night. He said the pain was a 4/10, and radiated inside him. I discounted my concerns about his pain because I figured it was my typical, nervous-Nancy, anxious tendencies. After all, he was fine otherwise. I told him he should maybe get checked out, but he assured me he would be fine and he will go into work a little later, leave a little early to make it an easier day.
I got stuck in traffic, and tried to make it more enjoyable by listening to the first podcast series I’ve listened to, by Sam Brown. Admittedly, while the pay and benefits are great, I do not enjoy my job. Listening to Sam, as someone who does blogging mainly, with a part-time job on the side, gives me hope that my current situation is not permanent, and that I need to focus on a growth-based mindset. I am just trying to learn what I can, when I can, in hopes of further developing myself and jail-breaking myself from stifling role I am in now.
I approached my desk, decorated with Pusheen, inspiring words, and pictures of my fiancé and cat to conjure up feelings of positivity (hint: it doesn’t really work). I grab my morning hot water for my tea, settling down to process bills. I sent a quick text to check up on him. He responded, “I started driving to work but it really hurts.”
He checked in at the emergency room. He assured me he would be okay. In the meantime, I am asking him if he wants me to be there, and to keep me updated. They do a CT scan of his stomach. And then I get the message, “Nurse took vitals again. Can’t eat or drink for a bit.” I ask why, and he calls me.
I’m going in for surgery this afternoon. They have to take out my appendix.
Everything stopped. My mind goes blank for a second, and then everything rushes back. The love of my life is getting surgery. Today. He is in danger. Right now. He needs me. Right now. The gray cubicle walls are shrinking around me, as I struggle to formulate a plan. I tell him I will let my manager know, and I will be there as soon as I can.
I leave. On my way out there is a networking event that I had intended on going to, but I brisk by my coworkers. I cross the street to get to my car, and a man unknown to me looks at my ring, and remarks, “I can’t compete with that.” I don’t have time for this.
I drive in silence, struggling to keep my speed under 80mph on the highway. I grit my teeth, caught behind slow car after slower car. I get home, stuff my lunch in my face, grab extra clothes for him and some sleep clothes for myself – he might have to stay overnight. He texts me that they are taking him into pre-op. I need to see him before he goes in.
I get caught behind a slow tractor trailer. I pass him illegally. Every stop light turns red. I peg it once it goes green. I’m going as fast as I can without endangering myself or others. I am trying to remain cool.
I get to the hospital. I take the blue elevators down to the second floor, turn right, ask for someone named Rose to let me see him.
I get into the room, and see him in a hospital gown, with blankets draped over him. He smiles meekly. I don’t know how to react – do I hug him, do I stroke his hair, can I hold his hand? I try to hold his hand but the stretcher bars are in the way. I reach in between them. He tells me I didn’t have to leave work. I tell him I absolutely had to leave work.
The surgery went well, and he is home now, recovering. But I realized how sad it is that we spend so much of our time in these mundane boxes. We go to work, we go home. Our work selves are separate from our true selves. We pray for the weekend or an extra day off. We crave to do what makes us happy, but that doesn’t pay the bills. I am trying to break this awful cycle.
And when something happens to someone you love, everything stops. Everything stops because what is truly important in our lives is the people you love. The people you surround yourself with. The people that see and know the true you, and not just the version that is business casual.
I am so grateful that he is okay. I had nightmares about losing him last night, and cried in my sleep. He is my person. My world. My best friend. And even though I am sure the great surgeon saw him as business as usual, the remote possibility that I could have lost him is absolutely terrifying.
In the midst of the mundane, please do not lose sight of what is important. Please do not take a moment with someone you love for granted.