Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Last Thing I Could Do For You

Dear John,
I've said it before: It's a good thing we married each other. We were such a good fit. But either of us would have made most other folks crazy. Of course, I had to marry you since you loved to hear us talk when we got out of Clinical. I don't think I could have lived with somebody that I couldn't talk to about my job. But you went way beyond that - you loved the horror stories, and you understood the sick jokes that are necessary to emotionally survive working in Critical Care. You didn't survive my job; you thrived on it.
And at the end, I'm glad you didn't think I was sick and morbid. I don't think your nurses knew what to make of a wife that, after her husband's death, started taking out his lines - NG tube, foley, and what-not. I hadn't planned to do it; I guess the nurse in me just went on to the next thing that needed to be done. I'd done that for countless other people; it was something that I wanted to do for you. It was the last physical act of love that I could give you. So I took out your lines, and I felt like it made you happy. I may have shocked some folks, but I didn't shock you. I was certain of your appreciation then, and I am certain of it now.
I suppose that taking out lines is a very intimate act. I never thought about it that way before. Most things that nurses do are really very intimate - you get used to that and don't even think about it or realize it. So that was our last bit of physical intimacy, and I've always been glad that I did it.
Don't ask me why I'm thinking about that right now. It's just been rattling around in my head for a couple of days. And so I wanted to talk to you about it, and thank you for being the kind of person that appreciated what I did. You were always very matter-of-fact about medical things. But it's more than that. I think you liked being married to a nurse. And I know there were times when you needed to be married to a nurse, like when your Bumex and potassium needed such a careful hand during your last eight or nine months. You always appreciated it when I juggled being nurse and wife, and understood that both came out of the same love I had for you. After all, you did marry all of me - head, heart, body, worldly goods, and stethescope.
So, thank you for never being shocked or disgusted at the Critical Care part of me. It came in quite handy a few times. And I was glad to make that the last thing I could do for you.
Adore you completely,

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