Today she says "Happy Birthday to her back!" and looks back to a time when walking for five minutes was an accomplishement. The struggle isn't over, but we're on the path together. Today she's not back to what you or I would see as normal, but can already do so much more than she could a year ago.
The day of had a surreal quality as it happens which it retains in my mind. It's a thing which is serious and frightening and important, but also something about which we as family members can't do all that much. As an AV person, of course, I noticed that the digital signage TVs were running video on a windows application which had frozen with a Windows update dialog box. Was this an ill-omen? A metaphor? A sign that my mind, in anxiety over the event, was fixated on the familiar? Some combination?
|Reading and waiting.|
I've already thanked my friends - in the audiovisual community and elsewhere - for your contributions and support. The process also served as a reminder that we're not alone. January of 2015 was a tough time to do this; it was a bitterly cold winter featuring at least one dreadful blizzard. Travel to and from the hospital was a challenge, as was the rest of life. Until her trip home, Karine was likely the least affected by this: in the ICU room she didn't even have a window to the storm outside. Some heroes of the week:
This is, perhaps, what we expected and should expect, but the surgery was a starting point rather than an endpoint.
- It wasn't over after the surgery
- It wasn't over after leaving the ICU
- It wasn't over after returning from the hospital.
- It wasn't over after the end of physical therapy.
- It isn't over today.
- She has perfect posture, as if there's a straight metal bar in her back. Because there is (two metal bars, in fact).
- She stands nearly two inches taller than she did before.
- Her clothes hang differently on her.
- The way she moves has changed.
I am truly grateful to friends, colleagues, family, neighbors. Most of all, as I look back on the year and the decade before, there's one thought above all others. That I can walk this path and others with my lovely bride because she chose me as her partner with whom to share all of life's adventures. The last - and deepest thanks - are to her. For having the courage to face these challenges. For pushing herself in her recovery to care for our children. And, most of all, for giving me the chance to share the journey with her.