~ Love Survives All ~
By Jeanne Claire Probst
Tears fell from Elizabeth’s eyes, as she tried to catch them with her already wet tissue. She tried to hold them back, to be brave, but she could feel her courage wavering. The anesthesiologist left her bedside after going over her medical information, her surgical plan and the options that were available for her to make her comfortable during surgery.
She could see the surgical team gathering in the room across the hall and suddenly, despite having had weeks to prepare for this moment, she was scared. Even though her surgery procedure had been done successfully on hundreds of thousands of people, at this moment, it did not matter. She was still scared. Even down to the last few seconds, Elizabeth wondered if she had made the right decision.
A few weeks ago, she had fallen down the stairs and had broken her ankle. With the aid of screws and pins, the orthopedic surgeons were able to piece her shattered ankle bones back together. But her troubles did not end there. Because she was a diabetic, infection had set in and evidence of gangrene was appearing around her wounds. Even with the strongest antibiotics available, it wasn’t enough to fight off the infection and the doctors made it clear that the area was dead; no life was left in the tissues. Her leg was going to have to be amputated to keep the infection from complicating matters that would eventually lead to her death.
She knew for sure she did not want to die and after speaking at length with her husband of 40 years, they made the decision to consent to the amputation. Many hours of tears and hysterics followed this decision. She was young yet, her third child had just completed college and her husband had just retired from the police force, a job he had worked for 35 years. This was to be the best time of their life, their time together to do all the things they had wanted to do but put off until all the children had grown up and moved out on their own. This, what was unraveling before her eyes, was NOT ever in the plan. This was going to change the rest of their lives together. She felt as if she was going to rob her husband of the best years of the life he had left.
Now as she stared at the walls surrounding her gurney, she thought again about the burden she had just place on her husband’s shoulders and a hint of guilt surfaced again and she had to shrug it off. She was now trying to focus on her husband’s words as he tried to assure her that he would be with her all the way to the end and that his love for her was evermore stronger than the day he married her. They were not going to let the amputation put a wedge in their lives, they would be triumphant and the only thing that would change would be how things were now going to be done. She could feel her love for him burn in her heart and she knew it was a flame that would burn until the death of one of them would cause them to part.
Elizabeth thought about the healing process and the rehabilitation before her, phantom pains to come, the need for costly medications to keep her comfortable, the eventual fittings to a prosthesis, and all the changes that would follow her surgery. Suddenly, her husband entered her room and with a soft and loving smile, he bent down to tell her he loved her and that they would get through this together. While squeezing her hand, he let her know that he did not want to live his retirement years alone.
From that moment on, she knew that he was right. Their love would see them through anything they had to endure. These thoughts warmed her heart and strengthened her conviction that she was making the right choice. Peace came just at the right time and as she let go of her husband’s hand, the nurses wheeled her into the operating room.
Love Survives All
I know I don’t need to be afraid, even though I cry,
When I open my eyes, I love how you are always at my side.
I know that in time we will get through this mess,
But still I have a growing pain in my chest.
I don’t want to be a burden and weigh you down,
I never want to see you tire or for any reason see you frown.
I want everything to stay the same as they were before
I want to live the rest of my life with the man I adore.
Thank you for sticking with me
And for emotionally supporting me
Thank you for taking your marriage vows seriously
And despite what I have done, or what we have been through, thank you for loving me.
Jeanne Claire Probst
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