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Honeymoon in the Hospital, Part II

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Days passed with more trips to the operating room for washouts and surgeries for my fiancé. During one of the surgeries, the doctors had put a trachea in my fiancé to help him breathe a little easier. I stood by his bedside every single day and wondered how I would catch him up on everything that had happened once he was coherent. How do you tell someone that they almost died or that he has been in a medically induced coma and has lost days of his life? I prayed for wisdom from God that He would give me the words to speak when that time arose. On July 24, 2010 the day that was supposed to be our wedding day, my fiancé began to come around for the first time while we were there. My mom and his mom were in his room when he started to try to mouth things for the first time. Since he couldn’t talk due to the trachea, he began to get frustrated because they couldn’t understand what he was trying to tell them. My mom came to me in the waiting room to hand me the pass and told me what was going on. I took a deep breath as I reminded myself that I needed to be strong in front of him. When I got to his room, he was still struggling to relay his message. It was then that I realized he was asking where his fiancé was. I immediately grabbed his hand and let him know that I was right there and that I loved them. He mouthed “I love you too” and my heart began racing with excitement. Later, we realized that he said he loved me at almost exactly two p.m., the time the ceremony was scheduled to begin. Some would call that a coincidence, but I know it was God’s way of letting us know everything was going to be all right. More blessings were in store in the days to follow, along with more hardships.

The doctor had warned us that this process would be one step forward and two steps back and he could not have been more right. The next day, my fiancé was put in a special hospital chair to help him sit up for awhile. We continued to struggle with understanding what he was trying to mouth to us. At one point, he mouthed the words face to face so I bent down and looked him eye ball to eye ball. He then lifted his head and pressed it against mine. That was the first touch he had initiated since this journey began and I had butterflies in my stomach all over again. Even in the midst of his sickness, he showed his love for me and reminded me that I was certainly the lucky one in this relationship. Later that day I was getting ready to leave and he began mouthing words and holding up numbers with his fingers. The numbers he was holding up were 2-4 and 2-5 and I immediately knew he was asking about what the date was. I told him it was the 25th and he apologized for us missing the wedding. I told him not to be sorry because we were still going to get married and I was not going anywhere.

The days that followed were filled with more struggles as he learned to talk with a special piece on his trachea and took his first steps after lying in a bed for two weeks. He continued to improve and on August 6th, he was moved to the rehabilitation facility at the same hospital. Unfortunately, our marriage license was only good for thirty days after it was issued to us. This meant that if we didn’t get married before August 7th at midnight, we would have to wait until John felt well enough to drive two hours to my home town to get another one. We were both so eager to marry each other even in the midst of the chaos we called reality. So, on August 7th, in front of our immediate family, we said “I do”. It was in a small, quiet room in the rehabilitation facility and I was blessed to have my grandfather performed the ceremony. It was evident that my husband was in a lot of pain because he had postponed taking his pain medicine long enough for us to exchange our vows and enjoy a few minutes with each other. It was so nice to share such a special moment with my husband after all of the trials we had been through.

That night was the hardest time I have ever had to say good-bye. I knew I would see him in the morning but nothing felt right about leaving him when we should have been on our way to our honeymoon. My husband spent a total of one week in the rehabilitation facility and continued therapy when he returned home. We later had a wedding ceremony for all of our friends and family to attend on December 18th. The ceremony was more beautiful than we could have ever imagined. As we exchanged our hand written vows, there was not a dry eye in the church. I have learned that a wedding is not about having the perfect dress, flowers, or venue, but rather about having your soul mate to enjoy life’s ups and downs with that is of ultimate importance. Life since then could not be any sweeter. After going through such hard times in the beginning, we have learned to appreciate every second we get to spend together. We laugh more, love more, and live more. Circumstances such as these make us all step back and look at the big picture. The small things become so unimportant and time becomes much more precious because we never truly know how much or how little we have left with those we love. The traditional wedding vows state “In sickness and in health” and after being by my husband’s side through all of this, I believe this is a vital promise in a marriage because you never know when it could be you.

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