Musings from the ER

I think I’m going to declare this the Summer of the Hot Mess.

What I had hoped and expected to be a fun and easy three months has started off with nonstop projects, rough adjustments, and a series of ailments.

At this very moment, I’m sitting in the ER at Rush University Medical Center, watching my IV-attached boyfriend try to rest in a hospital bed. He texted just about an hour into his shift today to say he was coming home and that he was pretty sure he had a kidney stone. The last time he had this lovely condition, we were 12+ hours apart and I sat helpless in my apartment wondering when the next flight to Fargo might be.

Today, at least, I could be there for him. The problem today, however, is that I am battling both a nasty head cold and being frightfully behind in my research assistant work. I cannot say I have been the most patient and loving nurse today. (Although I give myself props for giving him a beer mid-day, which both acted as a diuretic and a fantastic relaxing agent.) Still, when he paced around the apartment at 6, still in pain, it seemed this illness had gone above my paygrade.

And here we are. My duties now consist of tucking him in and rehanging his IV bag each time he returns from another bathroom run, texting both his and my mother updates, and flagging down nurses when necessary. I feel so completely useless, and so horrible for wishing we could just get out of here already so I can stop being cold, tired, and hungry. But even though he told me earlier that I should go home and get some sleep, I can’t bear to leave. Being at home wondering what’s happening to him back at the hospital would be even less comforting than this green plastic chair my butt has come to know so well.

The great moving-in-together adventure has not gone as smoothly as either of us had hoped. Adam is finding that things as simple as coming home from work in the rain and making a grocery run aren’t so simple when your commute involves a train and two short walks and the grocery store is a 15-min walk with a “hobo cart” from home. He even had the misfortune of being on the Red Line when the train shorted and smoked, causing a slight panic and a reroute of the train from subway to L tracks.

As for me, sharing my space has turned out to be more difficult than I anticipated. Though I didn’t expect everything to continue to go exactly my way, and I did expect to help Adam get his things settled, I didn’t expect that I would be doing most of the work for a grumpy boyfriend. After resisting multiple urges to throw him off the balcony, I finally managed to express my concerns in a way that didn’t completely resemble nagging.

Still, I never regretted the move. Even at my most frustrated, my thoughts didn’t go to regret, but to how to fix things. After a year and a half of long distance, I wasn’t about to let laundry and dirty dishes get in the way of finally getting to be with Adam every day.

The last week seems to have signaled the turning point. I’m starting to settle into both my summer jobs and Adam is adapting to Chicago life quite well. We’ve established some regular activities and are beginning to make the most of the city around us. There are still adjustments to make, things to make room for, and routines to be established. But we’re getting there.

So I keep watch over him from my green plastic chair. And though I have done relatively little to help today, I know what I have done is be there for him. And though he’s been a frustrating and grumpy new roommate to deal with these first few weeks, I can’t say I regret the decision to live together at all. So I will watch the IV drip, and listen to his breathing in the hopes he’s fallen asleep, and adjust his blankets. I will sit here in the frigid ER room, dreaming of Sarpino’s pizza and wondering if they’d deliver here. I will adjust his gown so he’s not flashing everyone as he goes to the bathroom. And I will refuse to go home until he does. Because, even after the rough start we’ve had as live-ins, I know this for sure:

He would do the same for me.


~ by yellowbrickrodeo on June 5, 2011.

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