Turn and face the strange.“ One of my first proper dates with my husband was a Bowie concert in Boston. This handsome, kind man had great taste and good ideas. I was smitten.
Since my husband and tried on my sample ostomy bag, I’ve had the following quote in my head:
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand. But once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always." –Margery Williams, The Velveteen rabbit
My husband used to get upset when I would talk about how much I look forward to being old together. I romanticize our senior years and the changes that will happen and how we’ll love the people we evolve into. He wants to stay present, which is sound and healthy. But I wonder if I’m not looking forward to his body betraying him as he ages. That’s a horrible thought, but I think it may be my subconscious’ wish for an equalizing. A healthy person degrades slowly; over time. But being the spouse of someone with a chronic illness can be like being in a relationship with someone who is dealing with things that older people deal with – but all at once – the body not doing what you want it to.
The Velveteen Rabbit quote was thundering in my head when my husband looked ashen in the surgeon’s office yesterday, and he grasped my hand more tightly. And when we were home and he said “damn! Soon I won’t be able to make ‘your mama’ jokes or ‘in your butt’ jokes!” (My mother died two years ago and my husband and I – for some reason – when asked “Have you seen my ______________ (phone/keys/book…)” answer “in your butt.” It’s stupid and childish and always makes me giggle. But my husband’s jokey revelation was a balm. He was joking about some heavy news and that gave me comfort. I don’t think that I can be ugly to him; not with an ostomy; not with my rectum removed and my anus sewn shut…
|surgeons always say "I'm no artist"|
This non-artist made a rectal removal look very innocuous.
My surgeon said that laughter is essential post-op for pain management and healthy lungs. I believe that my post op health is in good hands, so long as my best friend and spouse is there to help me find the funny.