Note: First, This post contains graphic imagery. If surgical photos make you queasy, this is not for you.

Prior to seeing me in the recovery room, I firmly believe that Andy had no idea what was happening to me.

“What’s this totally elective, not at all serious thing my wife has gotten herself into this time?”

Even as I struggled to have my surgery approved, I feel like he was operating under a general ignorance as to what exactly I was fighting for.

Don’t get me wrong, he fought like hell next to me. That’s what we do, we’re ride or die from the jump, figuring we’ll just ask each other for clarification later.

One time he came up to me, mid-angry speaking to a soccer coach on a practice field two fields away from where my kid was even supposed to play.

“You need to settle the fuck down and step away from my wife.” He glared at the hysterical and red-faced man in front of me.

“What were we angry about back there?” He whispered into my shoulder as we walked back to the car.

“He told his male players to stop running like girls. That bugs me.” I shrugged.

I think it was that naivete that made the whole reality of my surgery, and ensuing complications, such an absolute shock to him.

I am ten days post-hysterectomy.

Current situation: I seem to have lost all feeling in what remains of my belly button. The two (unseen here) incisions on my pubic area are starting to itch and the stitches catch on everything. And, I’m supposed to start gently removing all this abdomen tape. I’d like to respectfully decline doing that, ever, thanks.

I accidentally sneezed in the hallway twenty minutes ago, and I fully expected to look down and see my intestines piled up on the floor.

Recovery has been unpleasant, as I seem to have about 10-20 minutes of tolerable standing time, until I’m doubled over in pain and retreating back to my bed.

I’ve started to wean myself off the pain medication, mostly because it makes me feel horrible. Plus it messes with my bowels, and it took 5 days post-surgery to get absolutely any poop to fall out of me (I can’t push, it’s very glamorous), so the less I have to deal with that, the better. Also, I’m tired of eating so much Raisin Bran.

I watch a lot of television. I finished The Crown (fucking loved it), Narcos (Andy loved it), and am now deep diving into Mad Men.

Andy dotes on me.

I joke and say that it’s because he needs me alive so I don’t leave him alone with all these kids. But, it’s something more serious.

I can hear him in the living room tell the kids to sit with me in my room while he runs an errand, so I won’t be alone.

I can feel him watching me when I wince or struggle, or gets exasperated when I explain that yeah, I took a quick shower while I was alone in the house, before my mom got here for the day, because I’m an adult who likes to shower without her mother watching her.

Suddenly this problem I was having, that he didn’t really understand, swallowed us both up; me in pain, him in sobering awareness. It was like suddenly, I’d become… precious? Is that a weird word to use?

When he helps me up from the bed or a chair, he wraps my arms around his neck and lifts me close to him.

He rushes home after work just to sit on the bed eating take out with me, sets pill reminder alarms on his phone, and maintains eye contact with me as he slides giant, admittedly discolored, parachute sized granny panties up my unshaven legs because I can’t bend over.

We went to dinner at a friend’s for St. Patrick’s Day, my first outside venture, and no sooner had I set my fork down after devouring a plate of cabbage and potatoes, that he grabbed my phone to autostart the car, slung my purse around his shoulder and lifted me out of the recliner, apologizing to everyone explaining that I needed to get home to rest.

It’s like a classic romance novel, except with zero sex because the lady in it isn’t allowed to put anything (and I mean anything) inside her vagina for, like, six weeks. So instead they just lay around in bed watching videos separately on their phones while he plays with her hair and brings her ginger ale.

I didn’t expect to find intimacy here. And yet, painfully, here we are.

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