I feel good in this moment. In this moment, I feel good. I feel grateful and hopeful, like I’ve learned a tough lesson without even trying.
The nurse pulled the curtain back and Trent’s eyes slowly found mine. He looked at me suspiciously, trying to place me through the thick of waning anesthesia.
“Can I hit on you?” he asked at a deafening volume.
I hope I’m the only person he’s said that to, I thought.
This wasn’t Trent’s first ACL surgery. His other knee went under the knife when he was an undergrad. Last time, he went 80s dancing all night long before his 6 a.m. surgery. He was supposed to wake up in post-op after 20 minutes or so when the anesthesia wore off. He slept for eight hours. It cost a fortune.
This time, he had someone around to take care of him or at least give him a ride home. I sat by his side and got instructions from the nurse while he argued with her in drunken slurs—still at a deafening volume. “I’m the boss,” he kept saying over and over again, along with, “Let’s blow this joint. It’s too expensive to hang out here.” She put her hand on my shoulder before she put us on the elevator. “This one’s a handful,” she said.
I dropped my friend Monica off at the airport a little while ago. She was in Atlanta for work all week and stayed the weekend to help me take care of Trent. The first night after his surgery she was still at her hotel. We slept with every light in the apartment on. Trent was immobile. I was exhausted. The next day, she seemed like something of an angel.
And angel she was. She helped me look for the phone I lost, and helped me set up the new one I bought to replace it. She humored me by paying $18 to tour the Fox Theatre and treated me to brunch at West Egg Cafe. And she watched hours and hours of Prison Break with Trent like a champ.
And I took care of him, too. I took care of him and he let me. He doesn’t let me often. I made him chili and cornbread and ice packs. I changed the bandages on the incision. I helped him lift his leg into the bathtub. And it felt so good to help him, because I knew he needed help. It felt so good to help him, because for once in his life, he didn’t put up a fight.
And in a few weeks, when I have this baby and the tables have turned, I’ll remember that feeling. I’ll remember gratitude for my angels and how good it feels to be one. I’ll remember to love the people who want to help me and to let go and let them.
Listening to: Billy Joel, “Vienna”