Wide Awake Now

As the divorce suckage progresses, I’ve finally figured out what the stage that I’m at feels like.  It’s like getting my appendix out.

Eight months ago was being admitted into the hospital through the ER with lower-right quadrant pain and a high white blood-cell count.  That’s when things started falling apart in earnest.

Six months ago was being prepped for surgery, publicly shaved and wincing as they started the IV a little too roughly for my taste and excellent veins.  That’s when we gave up – he asked for a divorce, I agreed.

Four months ago was being told that I’d feel a little cold in my arm as the anesthetic passed into my IV line, to count backwards from ten so I could wake up in the recovery room six months later when everything would be fine.  That’s when we sat down with the lawyer to divide our property and file the paperwork.

About a week-and-a-half ago was when I woke up in the middle of the operation.  My appendix had already been severed and removed, that vestigial nubbin lying cold in a plastic dish, ready to be burned as hazardous waste, the stump sutured and cauterized as needed.  My entire lower intestine had been pulled out of my abdominal cavity – much like the magician’s never-ending scarf trick – and piled on the OR table next to me so the doctor could rootle through it and check for lumps, adhesions, blockages and the like before stuffing the damp length of gut back up inside me willy-nilly.  That was when I started selling off the furniture, selling off all the things we’d chosen together to decorate and accessorize our life together in our pretty little house together.

I’m still awake.

They’ve already given me so much anesthetic that I can’t take any more or I might die – re-numbing and staying unconscious just isn’t going to get me through this.  I have to stay awake for the restuffing of my innards and the closing of the wound, the rearranging of my inner being and the remembering of my identity as I-no-longer-we, the painful process of putting myself back together after tearing myself wide apart to become healthy.

It hurts like hell. I’m wary of the slightest movements near my vulnerable bits, which in this condition is every bit of me.  I’m feeling every exposed nerve as it’s scorched by the very air, and am almost unable to bear the gentlest touch for fear of falling completely apart. I feel bound in that rawness, blanketed in painfully fresh scars that I prod and caress in the hope that I will find I have finally stopped hurting.

There are random moments of peace, more a cessation of sensation too fleeting and faint for relief, and sometimes a passing bit of laughter breaks through to remind me to walk softly and that where I am going is needful, or a moment of clarity graces my shoulders when a poem or passage from a book reminds me why I’m still breathing. Then I also remember that it is not only my connection with the pain that is holding me together. It is the next breath and the breath after that, because the world keeps turning and it is wondrous and strange and I want to see all of it, hear all of it, smell all of it, taste all of it, feel all of it on my skin and in my mind like silk and raindrops and the fire in a lover’s fingertips, burning just for me. It’s all worth staying awake for, just to see what happens next.


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