So, this happened today. At 7:36 I reached for my phone to see what the day would bring. I was lying in bed, comfortable, warm and relaxed. It was still early, and darkish. Kind of raining and a perfect morning to lounge in bed. Stan was up and out early, which made my little lie-in feel even more decadent. He came in shortly after I started perusing the news and brought my hot lemon water and tea (yes, I know I’m spoiled). I asked him why he was up so early. “It’s the middle of a pandemic you know, so there’s really no reason to be up at 6:30,” I told him. He said he just wasn’t feeling quite right. He felt like he had a stitch in his side and was trying to stretch it out. Okay.
On I go to take a few sips of my lemon water, only to have him come bursting back in our room not ten minutes later saying something was really wrong. He was gasping and grasping his side. I kicked off the covers and sprang out of bed, grabbing clothes as I said, “Okay, let’s get you to the hospital.” Stan was doubled over in pain and groaning, saying, “I think it’s a kidney stone.”
We were 25 minutes away from the nearest emergency room. Stan was in the passenger seat, groaning, moaning, panting, sweating, gasping, grasping, twisting, turning, writhing. “Ooooooh, ohhhhhhh, ahhhhh, agggggg, oh, God, Oh, GOD!” Sounds were coming out of his mouth I’ve never heard before. My foot pressed harder on the accelerator as he told me to drive faster. Drive faster? I was already going 70 in a 55. He thanked me when I passed the “slow-moving” Ford Edge in front of us…they were going 55.
I pulled up to the emergency room, and before I had a chance to put his truck in park Stan was out of the door, almost crawling on all fours to get into the hospital. I found a spot in the empty parking lot in a space marked Emergency room parking only. Okay… I was the only car there. It’s the middle of a pandemic and I was the only one in the Emergency Room parking spots. I rushed into waiting room. Stan was on his knees talking to admissions. On his knees. He couldn’t stand. He couldn’t breath. He could barely move. Stan, one of the strongest people I’ve ever met, couldn’t move. My heart was beating wildly. I’m sure my face was rife with the emotions roiling through my entire being. The waiting room was empty and eerie. I knew he is going to the hospital without me. I knew. It couldn’t be any other way in middle of this damn pandemic. The nurse said to me, gently, “Give me your phone number and we’ll call you with updates while you wait in your car.” Wait. In. Your. Car.
Alone. All alone. Both of us.
I think that was the scariest moment of my marriage. Watching Stan struggle to stand, refusing a wheel chair and being taken into the hospital without me. For better or worse. In sickness and in health, and I wasn’t going to be by his side to comfort him or to hear what the doctor’s said. I walked back to the car. I texted the kids and asked them to call me (all still sleeping. That pandemic thing again). I texted a few others to ask for prayers, good karma and great vibes.
The calls started. Zach first. I told him what was going on. He said he’d be there in heart beat if I needed him. The tears were almost there. The fear of not knowing anything was there and the unease of not having answers was there. But Zach’s voice was so reassuring. I’m still the mama, though, and I didn’t want my troubles to become his. So I put on my big girl panties and told him we’d be okay. “Just let me know, Mom. And I’ll be there.” I know, Love. I know.
Then another call came in.
My mind was being taken off the issues at hand, even though the bright red EMERGENCY sign blared at me from the window of Stan’s truck. My first friend to call said at least I could be sipping my coffee in the comfort of my car before remembering that I only drink tea. Tea? No, my damn tea was still sitting on the counter where I put it before racing out of the house. Breakfast? Nope. Not a morsel.
Another call. Another friend. She and I started talking, rather irreverently, about Stan and his situation. I laughed as I talked about his breathing, panting and groaning, likening it to sounds I must have made when in the throes of childbirth. Lamenting as I talked that I didn’t have time to brush my teeth or my hair. I told her in my mad scramble to get dressed I was able to quickly find a sweatshirt, leggings and a bra, but I was commando because I couldn’t spare the time to put on panties. She cracked up, and said I would be forgiven for it. We both laughed harder as I imitated Stan’s breathing, panting and writhing again. I told her I’d feel really bad if it turned out to be something more serious than a damn kidney stone, and I was making fun of him. Then we talked about kidney stones being as close to childbirth pain as a man could get. I was laughing again. That was something I really needed ~ levity ~ even though it was irreverent and at Stan’s expense. Sorry, my Love!
Claire called. I filled her in. Stan called. He filled me in. They suspected what he did. A kidney stone. They just needed to wait for the radiologist to read the results of his CT scan. Lucas called. He already knew what was going on. Claire told him. Stan called again. Diagnosis confirmation came quickly and he was discharged to me. He and his 3 millimeter kidney stone were going to be back with me.
I know I’m lucky. I know Stan is lucky. It’s just a kidney stone, but the timing of it completely and totally sucked! Emergency room visits are stress filled occasions, but COVID-19 just took it to a different level of stress. We’re home now. He’s feeling a little better. I’m not sure if it’s the pain meds, the rest he got or the fact that the stone must be moving through. But whatever it is I’m thankful. So very thankful.
P.S. Remember to wash your hands and love on your peeps!