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I blame myself…

My husband’s job is physically demanding, even dangerous at times.
I worry constantly that he will be injured, or that something will happen to him while on the job. He’s had many close calls. Mostly he will downplay them or not tell me at all.
There was a time, a few years ago, that both my husband and my son were drilling a well together. They came home that evening and, before heading downstairs to shower, my son stops and tells me, “Dad almost got his finger cut off today!” Jim had already headed down without mentioning a word of this to me. Turns out that his wedding band caught on a tooling. He had to cut the band off. It was bent out of shape, into a narrow oval. It scared me and he hasn’t worn a wedding band since. Most well drillers don’t, on the job. It’s too dangerous.

Anyhow, all my worrying for all these years, and who would have thought that a simple slip and fall on the ice would cause such pain for him? He wasn’t working, he was helping me. I had gone out to fill my birdfeeders, but had stopped in his woodshop to talk to him and see the progress on a table that he is making for Jon. I haven’t been very diligent about filling those feeders this winter and he teased me about it. I teased him back telling him that he had promised to clean my big feeder out but hadn’t yet. I’m perfectly capable of cleaning the feeder and he had told me that he would do it back when I was still recovering from pneumonia. Jim being Jim, he stopped what he was doing to go clean the feeder.
I stopped to fill my bucket with birdseed and get some thistle when I heard him yell out. When I looked up, he was just trying to get back up where he had fallen on some ice in our driveway. I ran out to see if he was okay and, of course, he downplayed the whole incident and went about his business, albeit a little more slowly.

He was busy for the next several hours and I could tell he was in some pain, but he assured me that he was fine. In the evening we went to his mother’s house for our Sunday evening visit. In the summer, we can go outside and walk or do yardwork there, but in the winter there’s not much to do so we usually sit and visit with her. Jim chose to sit in her rocking chair. I knew it was because it was so he would have an easier time getting up. As time went on, I could tell that he was becoming more and more uncomfortable. After about two hours he decided that it was time to head home.
That’s when everything went downhill…

When he stood up he started having back spasms. He put on a good show, but I could tell that it was bad. Especially when he stepped down the one step to go out the back door and went down on his knees. Luckily he got back up before his mother would see him. We managed to get home (he drove because he didn’t want to walk all the way around the car!) and into the house, but the pain just got worse with each step. I had to help him get ready for bed and, with great difficulty, he managed to get into bed and finally into a position where he might rest a bit. I settled on the sofa so that I wouldn’t disturb him. Of course, there was not much sleep for either of us.

Early in the morning, he told me to call the doctor as soon as they were in and make him an appointment, but started thinking that something had to be broken to feel such intense pain. He actually yelled out in pain many times. Something he has never never done. We decided to go straight to the hospital. It took close to an hour to get him out of bed and out to the car. I really wanted to call an ambulance…

Once he was up and walking, although the pain was still intense, it wasn’t as bad as it had been. We arrived at the ER and they took him right back. Within an hour his information and vitals were taken, he was taken to x-ray and the doctor came in to tell him that nothing was broken (thankfully). He was badly bruised and the bleeding in the muscle was causing pressure which caused the pain. Prescribed Vicodin and sent us on our way.

When we got home, Jim settled into the living room and willingly took a Vicodin (the man has never taken anything strong than a Motrin in his life). A friend stopped by and stayed for a great deal of the day (he’s laid off much of the winter) and Jim’s mom stopped to see how he was so by later in the afternoon we were both ready for a nap! Jim fell asleep on the sofa and I took a little nap in bed. When I got up a little bit later, he was still snoozing. I thought for sure he’d be feeling so much better after that, but I was so very wrong about that…

He found that when he sits in anything other than a kitchen or office chair, he has a very painful time getting back up. Yesterday, he actually almost passed out. Scary…

He took another Vicodin before bed last night and seemed to sleep fairly well, but was afraid to move all night. I woke up every time he moved or made a sound and was afraid to move so as not to disturb him. I think he slept better than I did!

We were both sure that he would be feeling minimal pain this morning but, again, we were very wrong. It took 45 minutes for him to get up and go into the bathroom (which is right next to our bedroom). He almost passed out again and decided to stop, sit on the bed and take another pain pill before he attempted any more walking. Finally, once he was up and going he seemed to work the kinks out and the pain evened out. I’m not saying he’s feeling 100%, far from it. He has been asking for his pain pill (even before it’s time) and he is moving much more slowly. He had a job to work on today, but was lucky enough to have a friend to help.

I tell my long tale of woe because so many things have run through my head over the last two days. First and foremost, I hate to see him in pain. He is a strong man. He never, and I mean never, complains even though his work is so physically demanding and I know he suffers aches and pains. Next, this scared me. It really scared me. To see him so vulnerable is frightening. Even after his hernia repair almost exactly a year ago, he did not suffer like this. To see him suddenly go pale and know that he is close to passing out. To hear him yell out in pain. These are things I (or he, for that matter) have not experienced in the 27 years that I have known him. The “what-if’s” really scared me. Plain and simple. Another scare…we own our own business and Jim does all of the physical work. If he were to suffer an injury or illness – that’s it – we have nothing coming in. Even if it were job-related, because of the nature of his job we can’t even afford disability insurance. I was wondering how I would find a job in our area, in this economy that could pay the bills.

Lastly, I feel guilty. I blame myself. I made one little comment about him not cleaning the birdfeeder. I knew I could do it myself and I should know by now that he would stop what he was doing and go do it. I just should have left him doing what he enjoys best, working in his woodshop, and gone about my business without saying a word. It was such a freak accident and now he is suffering. And the funny thing is that he always offers me his arm because he’s afraid that I will fall. Today I went out to help him measure a water level on a well he had drilled. It’s been snowing all day and there is some ice under the snow. Walking back to the car, he stopped to offer me his arm to walk over the ice…

One thought on “I blame myself…

  1. I hope your dear husband gets better soon…that is a scary thing and I worry about it myself with my husband. That's why I work weekends. To keep my skills up and keep a foot in the door.

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