Sunday, October 26, 2014

Divorced Woman Breaks Her Kneecap. Who Will Take Care of Her?

I call it my Terminator Brace.
You should see how I fill out sweatpants. HOT!
“Emergency contact is Max?” the receptionist asked without looking away from her laptop screen.

I was in Urgent Care at my local hospital with my friend Pete. Three days after running my third half marathon, Pete and I had gone to a wine tasting in the afternoon in Manhattan. We had a fun, tipsy time day drinking, but afterward, I somehow tripped on the sidewalk (probably over my own foot) and l apparently I broke my entire fall with my left knee. By the time we were on the train back to Ford, my knee was so swollen that my jeans were tight around it. So, we went straight to Urgent Care.

During the intake, the receptionist reviewed my file. We updated my address (the one I shared with Max), my name (Max’s last name), and, of course, the emergency contact.

“No, please change the emergency contact. It’s now my sister, Katherine,” I said evenly, trying to focus on the pain in my knee and not the small lump forming in my throat.

Once my file was updated, Pete rolled me in my wheelchair back to the waiting area. He tried to make me laugh as I flipped between worrying about the shooting pain in my knee and my disbelief that in this moment, it was happening again.

I missed my ex-husband.

Over and over, even now two years after I filed for divorce, these moments crop up when my divorce unexpectedly kicks me in the gut.

I called my mom. If I couldn’t have Max, I definitely wanted to talk to my mom. I started telling her about my knee, but assured her I’d be OK. She told me to keep her updated.

A few minutes later, I was in an examining room and the medical attention [torture] began.

The attendant needed my jeans to come off. The pain of trying to stand was terrible, like nothing I’ve ever felt. I couldn’t put any weight on my leg so it took a team effort to get my pants off. The team included Pete, and through my start of what would be hours of tears, I gasped out, “Don’t enjoy this too much!”

The doctor tried to examine my knee, but every move was putting me in greater pain. When he left the room, I cried harder.

“Pete, please don’t take this the wrong way, but I want Max! And I’m so fucking mad that all this time later, I still want him!”

I sniffed. I thought about it for a moment. I didn’t exactly want Max, not for real. More like I wanted the Max from about five years ago. His mom is a nurse, and he inherited her calm in medical situations, like the times when I burned my hand on the toaster oven, when I had a small skin growth removed from my back, and when I sliced my finger on a shattered pint glass. He quietly and confidently dressed my wounds, making me feel loved and safe.

I was scared. I had never so much as sprained a finger, and I haven’t even been sick in years. I don’t know about you, but being scared like this just made me want family. The harsh reality was that Max was no longer family. 

No, it was Mom who I needed.
Right. Now.

When I was a child, I had severe asthma. During my late night nebulizer treatments and many trips to the emergency room, it was always Mom who was there. (Dad is awesome too, but he doesn’t do medical; Dad’s motto was, “wait until Mommy gets home” for all matters of injury or bodily fluids.) She would let me squeeze her cold hand as I sobbed from adrenalin shots.

In hindsight, Mom must have been pretty scared sometimes, seeing her daughter gasping for breath. But, like Max, Mom quietly and confidently made me feel loved and safe.

Through my tears, I asked – let’s be honest, demanded! – that Pete call my mom. By now it was 9:30 p.m. and she lived an hour away. He asked her to come as soon as possible.

Next, they had to X-ray my knee. I have never given birth, but I sure hope the pain isn’t as bad as this was! I couldn’t hold back anymore. As the technician made a futile attempt to straighten my knee, I started wailing.

“Call my mom again!” I cried desperately to Pete.
 “Where is she?!”

Turns out it had been about 20 minutes since I’d last demanded that Pete call her. Whoops.

Finally the doctor came in and told me I had fractured my kneecap. The next step was to put me in a full leg brace.

The positioning for the X-ray was bad. Straightening my leg and strapping it into the brace was worse.

Poor Pete. I made him call my mom again.

Finally, I was given a Percocet and we were told to go home. Can you imagine what a nightmare it was to get me into my apartment?!  I was wobbly on my crutches and all in all a miserable sight to behold. Again, POOR PETE.

Finally, Mom arrived. 

She and Pete hoisted me into my king size bed. At last, Pete could go home.

I thanked him again and then cried myself to sleep.

Breakfast of Champions.
Thanks, Mom!
At 7 a.m., I called out for Mom, as she had slept on the couch. She came rushing in with Percocet in one hand, and Halloween Peeps and Twizzlers in her other hand.

Even through my pain, I laughed a little.

Mom, clearly exhausted, smiled and shrugged. “When I went to the all-night pharmacy, I saw these and thought you should have them. I know the Peeps aren’t stale yet but we can open them now and they should be the way you like them in a day or two.”

Hells yeah, you guys. I love stale Peeps, and leave it to my mom to remember that, even at 2 a.m. at the pharmacy.

I took my Percocet and then Mom got in bed with me. Not long after, we both fell asleep in the bed that I used to share with my ex-husband.
Mom was who I needed, and no one else. 

When has your family supported you in a moment that would have previously been handled by your spouse? 
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  1. I was married at 20 and divorced at 35, so I basically grew up with my ex-husband. My mom and I didn't have the closest relationship during that time. However, since my divorce she has been the one I lean on every time I miss my ex. This first year has been hard....especially holidays. Thank God for moms!

  2. Oh yes..there are times when only mom will do. When I got pregnant with my second child (11 years after my first) we were in Wichita KS. We quit our jobs and moved back to northern KY because I wanted my mother...

  3. My parents were a huge support through my divorce too. I am so appreciative of that.

  4. Ha, yup! Funny how we don't outgrow the need for mom. :)

  5. Mom's have that special something, don't they?

  6. My ex didn't support me in much of anything. I had a fever of 103 for five days running and she basically told me to get over it. Wish i would of known she had that attitude BEFORE I got married and had a child with her... When I was in the ER five weeks ago for a kidney stone, I texted her that I didn't think I would be able to have my son the next day. She never said I'm sorry, hope you feel better, etc. In five weeks she hasn't inquired if I am doing any better.
    I did wish I had my Mom or my Dad or my girlfriend when I was in the ER. I am in Denver and Mom is in Florida. Dad is in California. Girlfriend has a full classload/caseload for her Masters and kids of her own 1/2 time. She could of come by at lunch, but I had passed the first stone by then and the pain was manageable so I said I'd call her after I got home and had a nap b/c I slept 3 hours the night before.
    You are lucky to have your Mom so close by! and a good friend.

  7. My siblings (all 6 of them) have been there for me more than my parents after my separation & divorce. When BF and I broke up for a week this past May/June it was my siblings that came to my side to comfort and support me. I moved in with my ex when I was 19 much to my parents' disdain (were separated when I was 29). I've never been particularly close to them. They're not very good about communication. However, now and even when I was married and I felt sick or had to have surgery, I deep down always wanted my mom. Even though I'm not particularly close to my parents they're still my parents.

  8. Awwww .... sweet story. I think you probably still miss your husband, deep inside. I sometimes have this feeling that I want him back and imagine how it would be. I miss the stability, the cuddling and watching TV together. I miss all that...
    I think we miss our partners when the going gets tough. I wonder if it ever passes.

  9. Yikes, really? Was your ex-wife always that way, even before things were on the decline? That's a shame. :(
    Funny how we don't outgrow needing Mom/Dad.

  10. Yes, I miss the simplicity of those moments too. But then I remind myself that those sweet moments always had a shadow for me. Even when things were good, in my heart, I always questioned if a sexless relationship could last.

  11. So great that your siblings really stepped up. My siblings have been super supportive too.
    That's interesting that you still wanted comfort from your mom as an adult, even though you're not that close. Something about a parents' love...