Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Going Home

It's been three days since we got out of the hospital in Coswig, so I thought I'd write our last post before we come back home.

Home. That word sounds so good. I miss all of you, I miss my dog, I miss my house. I miss the routine of work, of being productive. I've done some scattered writing work here and there, but for the most part, it's been eat, sleep, read, spend time with Kevin, eat, sleep, read.

Since leaving the hospital, we've been staying at the charming Hotel Steigenberger in Dresden, overlooking the Frauenkirche Square. We ate here before we went into the hospital, and enjoyed the food and the view so much that we resolved to stay here, should we get out of the hospital early. So here we are!

The last few days has been uneventful. Mainly, we've been taking it easy and resting in the hotel room. It feels so good to be out of the hospital, plus Kevin needs to take it easy because of the pain. They deal with pain management differently here; the doctors were somewhat reluctant to give Kevin any painkillers but they issued him a box of Novamine before we left. A good thing, too, because it's been hard on poor Kevin.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again. Thoracotomies are painful surgeries. It's been hard for Kevin and hard for me to deal with it. I can't pretend to understand the pain Kevin is going through, and I think the pain might be especially bad because of the extent of surgery on Kevin's lung. Despite knowing this, it's hard not to be impatient with Kevin, to try not to say "Look! I know it hurts but you just have to deal with it and move on!" That's very easy to say for someone who is not in pain.

At the same time, I don't want to baby Kevin. Plus, I am not known for my patience or my tact. Not just that, but pain, like many other things, only grows worse if you become fixated on it. It's been a personal challenge to be patient and compassionate, yet not allow him to obsess about the pain. The more he thinks about it, the worse he gets, and he's even adopted pain-driven habits like lilting to one side or holding his arms affectedly to keep from jogging the painful side. I'm torn between wanting to let him deal with the pain in his own way while also wanting to push him to focus on things that will help him recover, like walk around or not talk/think about it.

Our first day back in Dresden, when I woke up I found him curled up dejectedly in an armchair, next to an open window. The A/C wasn't quite working in our room, but instead of dealing with it, he just moped in his chair. When I asked him how he was, it was about the heat and the pain. I got angry with him, then. I was tired of hearing about the heat and the pain. If the goddamn A/C wasn't working, then call the goddamn concierge. If it was too painful, then he could have asked me to do it for him. If the pain was too much for him to handle, then we needed to go back to the hospital. It started in anger, but at the core of it I was scared at seeing Kevin like this. We ended up having a good conversation that day. I wasn't and still am not very good at expressing myself in a non-confrontational, non-aggressive way when I'm upset, but in the end, I just care about Kevin and don't want him to let this disease or the pain get the better of him.

Kevin always reminded me when I came home bitching about work or someone I had personal conflicts with that life was just a series of problems. A designer won't agree with you? Well, then think of it as a challenge. How can you avoid conflict and achieve a solution that will satisfy both you and the other party? Want to throw a massive Bill and Ted-themed party for hundreds of people? Then draw up all the "features" you want, and figure out all the different problems you need to solve. Figure out how much help you'll need, the cost of items, who can supply ice, who is willing to DJ. Yeah, sure, life isn't that simple sometimes and I like to throw pity parties for myself as much as the next person, but in the end, I always have to ask myself, do I want to rage over someone who makes me upset, or freak out about a big task I've taken on, or be miserable about a situation I'm in? Hell fucking no. I'm going to put my problem solving hat on and do or die.

Pain is just another problem we have to solve. Luckily for us, time will eventually make it better as Kevin heals up, but that's not to say it won't come back. After all, there are more surgeries in Kevin's future. I am so glad we had our honest conversation about this.

We've continued to take it easy, been watching lots of movies in our hotel room and walking around beautiful  Dresden, but goddamn, I am looking forward to coming home. It's strange to think we've been in Germany for a month, now. I like reading FB feeds when we can spare the bandwidth, and seeing how all of you are doing, but I'd much, much rather see you all in person, and hear from you directly what you've been up to. I feel like for a month we've been shut up in a cancer capsule and launched into German space. It will be so good to be finally, finally, home.

T-minus 2 days. See you all soon.  


  1. Can't wait for you guys to come home :) Travel safe!

  2. Can't wait to see you guys! Safe travels, love you! <3

  3. Anessa and I have been keeping up with your blog and it is great to see you recovering so well! With such a positive attitude I am sure you will continue to have a great recovery. Hope to see you soon and wishing you the best.


  4. Physical pain can be a useful tool that keeps us grounded in reality. It reminds us how menial our everyday problems really are and how precious and fragile life truly is. It helps us to realize that we will not be here forever and we should use the time we have wisely. While pain is a bitch, she can help us focused on the big picture important things in life.

    We all look forward to seeing you both soon. :)