The wine is for my cousin Patrick — my maiden name is King, and my dad grew up in Oregon. (I wish Patrick could drop by to help me drink it. I could use some conversation, preferably about Yeats or Herbert or Dickinson.)
I spent 12 hours today at the hospital with my husband. He has been in the hospital since Monday night when he was admitted with severe stomach pains and diagnosed with an obstruction in the small bowel. Maybe. He was sent home Wednesday afternoon, but we were back in Urgent Care by 8 p.m.; he was readmitted to the hospital Thursday morning. Feeling sleep-deprived and, generally, as though I needed to be put in a hospital bed myself, I thought of the words of the Puritan divine who, on his wife’s death, wrote something in the order of “God has been ever vigilant to test and strengthen my faith.”
Really? Sometimes our “real life” means paying attention to somebody else. Anyway, my goal last night was to get a good night’s sleep. Today my goal was to talk to Bruce’s doctors. They are not in agreement, but we’re getting closer to a diagnosis.
While teaching this spring, so busy with my students that I couldn’t sustain more than a few minutes of writing each day, I kept myself going with the thought, “This summer I will write.” I imagined writing 3-4 hours a day, at least. Hasn’t happened. This summer has been a marathon of caregiving — my mom, my girls, now my husband. I have scarcely had a single day that was not somehow interrupted.
Interrupted? I believe that’s called “life.” I suppose it would be cool if I could have 90 days of uninterrupted work, but in fact I really like my family. I like being available to them. As I tell my mom, “I’m glad I have a mom.” I’m glad I have my girls. I am eager for Bruce to get well and come home and take back his usual role as “Chief Cook and Bottlewasher.”
Today, when Bruce had been whisked away by a competent x-ray technician, I took my notebook out of my bag and said, “Okay, Bethany, write for 10 minutes.” I wrote for 12. Then I closed my eyes and I think I nodded off for a few minutes.
Now it’s 10:15. I’m drinking a glass of wine and watching TV with my girls.