My husband had emergency surgery on Tuesday. Everything went well and he is home recovering. He will need another surgery in about six weeks, which will hopefully be as an out patient.
Before they took him to surgery, my husband kept asking me if I was okay. I told him yes and not to worry about me. He said he was more worried about me than he was about himself or the surgery. I could see the concern on his face. He asked the surgeon to please come and talk to me after the surgery. He wanted to make sure I was not left to worry any longer than necessary.
I have an unnatural fear of losing him and he knows this. He also knew, because we don’t have any family or friends who live near us, that I was going to be completely on my own once the surgery began. When things like this happen I am on my own to find my way around and come home to an empty house.
I felt the emotions rise when they took him into surgery, but I was able to push them back. One of the medical professionals, I think he worked with the anesthesiologist, took me to where the waiting area was (it was on a different floor). On the way we ran into a nurse and he asked her to take me the rest of the way. As he was walking away and just about to turn a corner, I turned around and yelled out to him, “Please take good care of him!” He said he would and off he went. I sat alone in the waiting room in the silence and quiet. Everything felt surreal. I just dug deep and did everything that I needed to do.
In the evening, after his surgery, when he was back in his room sleeping comfortably, I returned home to feed our cats and try to sleep before returning early the next morning. Whenever the emotions rose, I just pushed them down and stayed numb.
When I returned to the hospital in the morning and we were waiting for him to be released, he kept asking me if I was okay. I asked him why he kept asking me this. He said because I seemed different and not fully here.
What I just went through with him, I did not experience in real time. I am aware that this is probably common for anyone experiencing this situation. What isn’t normal is to live your whole life in this state. This is what I realized through this experience.
I tried to protect my husband and he said, “Why? I knew, so why didn’t you admit it to yourself and me that you were afraid?” I began to ask myself the same question.
When you have been sexually abused, you are not present. You don’t experience it in real time. I just went through something traumatic but didn’t experience it or feel it in real time. Now I feel the after effects and it seems harder to process and function than if I would have just admitted my fears and felt my feelings as they were happening. This would not be a problem except it takes me back to a very familiar place. This disconnect of experience and emotions I realize is how I have lived my whole life.
This disconnect from real time emotions connected to real time events is what makes life so terribly hard for all those who have been abused. We can’t go back and experience those things to grieve them. We are just left with endless confusing pain. To really mourn and grieve and get beyond our pain we must live life in real time with our emotions now. This is what was not allowed to happen and has caused all the fear and anxiety and confusion we live with.
Because I stuffed my feelings, now I am left feeling emotional and out of sorts and vulnerable. I think this has made it worse. I should have told him I was scared and cried and felt all of my feelings while the experience was happening. I hope this is a lesson learned. Now he is home on pain medicine struggling through the physical pain and I am a mess emotionally.