Communication sometimes is less-than-perfect around here. Mrs. Lion wrote about my complaint that I felt she was distant. She pointed out that on Wednesday night I was asleep a good deal of the time. That’s true. However, it’s not the awake time I was thinking about. Something much more subtle.
Mrs. Lion and I have our evening routine. It’s pretty isolating. Mrs. Lion plays games on her iPad and I watch TV. We do this in bed. Our bed is a split-king from Sleep Number. It’s two adjustable twin beds next to one another. There’s a little gap between them. We got this before my shoulder surgery because I needed a way to have an adjustable platform to accommodate me.
So, our bed isolates us physically. We can’t sleep touching one another–not that we did in the past. Both of us seem more comfortable without contact. Now it takes considerable effort to migrate over to one bed (usually mine) for snuggle time. Most of the time we are both awake, we hold hands.
I wasn’t talking about physical isolation. It would be nice if we could touch more, that wasn’t my point. We’re both guilty of immersing ourselves in solitary pursuits. I could watch TV by myself without Mrs. Lion in the room. It isn’t that there’s an acute issue here. We are happy together. I just wish we could find ways to engage outside of sex.
This is probably a common issue with long-married couples. We’ve heard each other’s stories over and over. It doesn’t take all that long to get an update of what happened during the day. So, there have to be big gaps when we aren’t talking. I get that. Usually, I don’t care. Maybe it’s my anxiety over the upcoming surgery. I do worry that it could hurt me and make relating to my lioness more difficult.
The operation, while not exotic, isn’t common. The hospital does about one a month. You know the old story: It’s always better to stay away from the specials in a restaurant. These are dishes the chef has very little experience cooking. Stick with the stuff the kitchens made thousands of times. The same is true with surgery. For example, my rotator cuff surgery is performed by my surgeon 10 or 15 times a week. He can almost do it with his eyes closed.
This reduces the risk to me. He’s seen and done it all. If he made mistakes, they’ve been on other people. In a sense, next month’s surgery is a special. The hospital does cervical spine operations every day. But almost none of them are of the sort I’m getting. The reason is that most people get neck surgery to deal with pain. What I need has nothing to do with pain, it’s making space for my spinal cord. In a very real sense, my surgery is simpler. But, it’s relatively new (35 years old) and infrequently performed.
I’ve also been worrying about pain control. I take a blood thinner which makes it impossible for me to take aspirin, ibuprofen, or other anti–inflammatory drugs. I’m pretty much restricted to opioids. Fortunately for me, they don’t addict me. I have been on them for various conditions over the last few years and have absolutely no problem stopping when the pain diminishes. Still, there’s a big issue with them. They stop working after about three weeks. A lot of people up the dosage when this happens. They take more pills. That works for a while but starts a vicious cycle. It’s also the beginning of addiction.
Fortunately, I don’t do that. So, I’m vulnerable to serious pain if the opioids stop working. This worries me. I’ve been in contact with the pain management doctors and we seem to have a plan. Since it’s new I don’t know if it will work. So I worry.
Mrs. Lion is aware that I’m upset about all this. She is too. Neither of us is very good at sharing our worries. I don’t know exactly what we can do. I suppose we can try playing games together. Mrs. Lion loves games; me not so much. We have some TV programs we both like, but even with those Mrs. Lion likes to multitask with her iPod while she watches.
Maybe this is just my problem. It may be unreasonable for me to want something that I can’t clearly describe. Mrs. Lion is much more of a loner than I. I’m not exactly a social butterfly either. We are well-suited for one another. Like everything else where there is a difference between us, we’ll find a solution that works for us both. I guess this will work itself out as well.