Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Bad son-in-law

Another emotional day, for different reasons.

I started the day exhausted after the roller-coaster of yesterday and the lack of sleep last night. I popped in to the hospital briefly to deliver some belongings that Mrs T had asked for (having phoned the ward first to ask special permission to visit out of hours), then came home to try to do some things around the house before I returned for the afternoon. Visiting time is two o'clock until eight, and I'm aiming to be by her side as long as I'm allowed.

Did you notice what was missing from my morning? I didn't phone Mrs T's Mum and Dad after my morning visit. Big mistake. (Of which more later.)

The really important news is that Mrs T is recovering okay from her operation. By this afternoon she was able to get herself in and out of bed (with a little assistance) and walk herself to the loo whenever the need arose. She also had a hot meal this evening which didn't make her too nauseous. I spent the whole afternoon by her bedside - just reading, chatting, watching the telly. Passing the time, really. We also had our first proper emotional chat about what had happened. She's surprised that she doesn't feel too emotional about the miscarraige. I'm surprised how much it has affected me. We overheard one of the other patients on the ward say to her visitors "I've had this scan today" as she showed them the picture. I immediately welled up with tears and became quite choked. Losing a pregnancy really brings home the fact that, yes, I do want us to keep trying and I'm glad to have had that realisation. Thankfully, Mrs T is keen to continue as well.

I'm also torn up inside about the fact that I can't really talk to others about it. Mrs T is settled on the idea of keeping it a secret and sticking with the 'Ovarian Cyst' story. I'm going to find it hard. (We had an email from one of Mrs T's colleagues today saying that she had one removed in her twenties, so 'knows what [Mrs T] is going through'.)

I alluded to my 'big mistake' earlier. At some point in the afternoon, one of Mrs T's brothers rang the ward to speak to me. He said "I guess you've not been picking up your messages" and said he thought I really ought to call her Mum and Dad as they were keen for some news. I filled him in on some of the news, and said I'd ring when I got a chance. 'Good man', I thought; 'thanks for the reminder. Next time I leave the bedside I'll pop outside and make some calls'. Well, at about six o'clock, when she was eating her hot meal, I took the opportunity. Turned on my mobile: very angry message on voice mail. "I can't believe you've not had a chance all day to call us. I've left two messages at home and this my last message." She was seething. And with good reason. She'd expected me to ring in the morning, and she'd spent most of the day getting more and more anxious by the sound of it. I called immediately and got their answerphone. (To be honest, I was quite glad to get the answerphone as I'm not sure what sort of response I would have got if I'd spoken to them in person.) I have to confess I was quite brusque in my message. (I was angry at her anger - unjustifiably so, I now acknowlege.) I apologised for keeping them waiting, explained that I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my wife as she'd said she felt stronger when I was there. The important news, I went on to explain, was that Mrs T was recovering well. I then rather rudely finished be saying "as soon as I've left this message I'm turning my phone back off so I can go back into the hospital. I'll ring you when I get home at about 8:15." It wasn't till I got home at 8:15 that I realised just how upset her Mum had been getting. The messages on our answerphone are worth quoting in full:

13:04 - Hi, it's Mum. I'd be grateful for news as soon as you find time. If not leave a message with the ward number and I'll ring the hospital.

15:26 - It's a very good job we're not relying on you for news, isn't it. What on earth do you think you're playing at? Thanks- not to you we've found out how [Mrs T] is. I know you went to see her this morning: you could have- you know there's someone in this house all the time. We desperately needed to know how she was. Don't bother contacting us - we'll find out from our more reliable source.

It sounded venomous - but in truth it was desperately anxious. I phoned straight away. Dad answered and I asked if he thought Mum was up to speaking to me. He thought it best that I spoke to him. She would want to tear me apart, apparently. I passed on the news of the day (or, at least, the edited version) and gave him the ward's direct phone number so they didn't feel they had to rely on me for news. None the less, I've made a list for tomorrow morning and the first two things on it are 'phone hospital' and 'phone in-laws'.

Lessons for today:
(1) I want us to pregnant and to have a baby.
(2) Will I ever learn?

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