In the days after Kateri passed away I told myself I wasn’t gonna go to the doctor for at least a year. The main reason being… what did I care if there was something wrong with me? I had just lost the one thing in my life that I didn’t want to live without… yet that’s what I was doing. So what if my organs were on the fritz?… or that headache was something more than just dehydration or lack of coffee?… or that pain in the tummy was more than just the Boston Baked Beans from the night before? So what? I was good with life and if life wanted to take me just as soon as it had taken Kateri… well, so be it… it was a fun run. Now, I’m not a religious man, but in the back of my mind there was the hope that if something did happen… it just meant I got to see my sweet Kateri sooner. I wasn’t gonna do anything to hasten that journey, but I was comfortable if life handed me that card.
Our life wasn’t perfect… no one’s is… but it was really… REALLY good… until April 22. Even when life was unraveling as cancer was taking Kateri away day by day… at least we were together. We were doing what husbands and wives are supposed to do… be there for each other… hold each other… tell each other it will be ok… even when you don’t know if it will be. After going through four months and three days of worrying… of watching… of watching friends and family come and go and to see their worry… of doctor’s appointments… of hospital stays… of ambulance rides… of colons giving out… of picking out canes or moving boxes next to the bed so that she could climb in all by herself… after April 22, I needed a break from the White Coats and I gave myself a year.
Well… ummm…. that lasted nine months and 2 days… because I got the flu/sinus/head sickness or some shit and as I was curled up on the couch under a blanket I realized that I also don’t like to be in pain. I feel the need to point out that catching some virus… of getting sick for the first time without Kateri actually has a ton more weight attached to it than the dismissive tone of the “I don’t like pain” comment (most people don’t like pain).
Part of being a widower is all the firsts… and this was another one for me. I don’t get sick often, but in the two decades Kateri was in my life… I did get sick… and she was there for me. This time, I was alone. I had to make my own tea, draw my own bath (they’ve been fantastic), make my own soup, and get my own blanket. I also had to chop my own kindling, bring in my own wood, start my fires, feed/water my chickens, unflood my bulkhead… shovel out my bulkhead so that I could get into my bulkhead. Now, I’ve survived this little bout of the plague and have managed to stay on top of the things needing staying on top of… but it’s still a strange thing when these firsts come along.
As I was laying there motionless on the couch… because movement just didn’t do me any favors, it hit me… I do still kinda wanna stick around for a while so I probably should take care of myself. Although I no longer have Kateri by my side and there’s that whole lost purpose part of this experience, there are still things in life that excite me and if I need to face this new life and all it’s challenges, might as well try to make the right decisions… like going to the doctor when you have questions about your health! And it felt good. Well… I felt like shit, but making that shift in thinking… from no doctor’s to take care of yourself dumbass… was a huge moment for me. I mean, I was surviving… but I can definitely be healthier… for example, my diet hasn’t been doing me any favors, but it’s been tasty! (mmm, the gas station Chinese food… that’ll be hard to limit)
Yup… so I went to the Doctor three months before I said I would… and then went to the Dentist.
Widower Notes n Thoughts:
- I got nothing. Really, now I just wanna wrap up in a blanket, throw something on the ol’ boob tube, and zone out for a bit.