Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Two years in crossword puzzles

I bought this crossword puzzle book two years ago. It's yellowed with age and curled at the edges but it's almost finished. Two years of fleeting, quiet moments later and everything bar the cryptics are complete.

Two years ago, Lovely Husband was in hospital. And I was seven months pregnant, sitting on uncomfortable chairs at his bedside while he was waiting, hungry, for surgery that never seemed to come. Before that there were late night dashes to hospitals, always late at night and always with him writhing in pain in the front seat. Always with the same uncomfortable chairs. 

There was morphine. A lot of it. So much that a nurse baulked and refused to administer it and the registrar had to come back and give it himself. His name was Titus and, after the relief he gave my husband, we joked that we'd name our firstborn child after him. 

There was misdiagnosis, or at least, a poor scan that didn't show what was obviously there. And so there were scratched heads and no answers and release from the hospital with a letter for the GP to follow up.

There was a trip to a tiny country hospital with a one room emergency department, where I lay on a gurney next to Lovely Husband and tried to sleep as we waited for the on-call doctor who never arrived, and instead chose to give instructions over the phone.

There was a trip to the regional hospital in our old home town, where we tried to convince them that Lovely Husband wasn't drug-seeking.

There was my ever-growing belly and a collection of wierd phone photos. And still no answers.

And finally, finally, there was the last trip to the emergency room and a scan that found what had been there all along. There was official hospital admission and a bed in a room with three old men. There were promises of surgery and daily fasting and then late night plates of leftover sandwiches when other emergency surgeries came piling in.

And while we waited, I filled in words across and down and ate noodles in cups filled with hot water from an urn in a tiny kitchenette. I bought a weekly car parking ticket and waddled through the corridors and left after visiting hours.

And finally he came home. With holes and gauze and painkillers.

A few weeks later, there was a Christmas Eve trip back to the emergency department, this time with quarantine signs and full body paper gowns and face masks. And I sat through that long day on another hard hospital chair, nine months pregnant and filling in crosswords, as they rehydrated Lovely Husband.

Days later, the crossword puzzle was packed into my bag. And it sat untouched in my own hospital room, in the birth centre and later on the ward.

Months later, the book was rescued from under a pile of papers and slowly filled. A word here and a word there as I shook off my baby brain and Lovely Husband or I stole quiets moments to ourselves in bed, in the bathroom, in the sunshine next to a baby on a blanket.

1 comment :

  1. Nicely written. I hope two years on Lovely Husband is in ship shop shape and the only need for crosswords puzzles will be when relaxing with the family on comfy chairs in the sun. x


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