I may have made a mistake.
In my euphoria over the news that Stella could have the operation, I made the assumption that the hard part was over, that cancer had been defeated and now we could just celebrate the victory.
But real miracles take a bit longer than a Hollywood version. The Doctor assured me that reaching this stage was indeed amazing, but it was not by any means a guarantee. So perhaps I put on my party hat a little early.
On the other hand, the weeks before the operation were incredibly special as we celebrated every day with family, friends, and great food. O.K., the battle will go on. Just after I sent yesterday’s post about how amazing Stella was doing, we had a setback. I won’t go into details but it was a very difficult afternoon. Then, a few hours later things got better.
I am sure that it was the extra tefillah that people said after my Facebook Post.
The big bucket of morphine didn’t hurt either.
Now let’s have some fun.
We need the smiles as much as the medicine.
The night before the operation, I suggested we watch a television show on the laptop that someone had lent us. Stella agreed, and we settled down to watch and try and keep our minds off the surgery.
It was night and we were in the hospital room with two other patients and their families. There is not much privacy in Israeli hospitals, but we thought the volume was low enough that we wouldn’t disturb anyone.
Suddenly, the main character in the TV show gets bitten by a dog in a very sensitive place. He screams “The dog just bit my f—ing p—s!”Stella was mortified, and we both tried to shut it off as quickly as possible. But it was dark and we couldn’t quickly find the right button. We realized that everyone else in the room had stopped talking. We started pushing every button on the laptop like crazy to stop everyone from hearing more about the dog and the man’s body part.
The day after surgery, Stella was all juiced up on very heavy pain killers. I pulled a chair next to her bed and leaned in and told her how much I loved her. I explained how we would get through this together and that I would be right beside her. I told her how many people were davening for her and how wonderful it will be when she can come home. She turned to me, opened her mouth, and finally spoke. She said:
“Your breath really stinks.”
Then she closed her eyes and went back to sleep.
Yesterday, the pain was really bad at one point, and I ran to get the nurse. My Hebrew is not great to begin with, and sleep deprivation and worry did not help. I made the simple mistake of confusing the word for pain “Ko-Ev” with anger “Ko-Es.” Here is the translated conversation I had with the nurse.
Me: Excuse me, my wife has lots of anger
Me: Because. Please give her something for the anger
Nurse: I can’t give her anything. Why should she be angry?
Me (voice rising): She HAS LOTS OF ANGER. GIVE HER SOMETHING RIGHT NOW.
Nurse (voice rising to match mine): TELL HER NOT TO BE ANGRY. WE ARE DOING EVERYTHING…..” (then a bunch of stuff that I couldn’t understand.)
ME: THE DOCTOR TOLD US THAT SHE NEEDS SOMETHING FOR THE ANGER EVERY FEW HOURS. SHE NEEDS IT NOW!!!
Nurse: (Turning away) I cannot help you.
Suddenly I realized I may have made a mistake.
Me (lowering my voice): Wait a sec, do you speak English?
Nurse: A little
Me: Does “Ko-Es” mean pain?
Me: Oops. Sorry.
Me (very low voice): Can you please give her something for the pain?
Nurse: Of course!
Hopefully I made you smile at something above.
As long as we can find the humor in life, we are o.k.