When we marry we never think that we may one day have to make a life altering decision for our partner, we never think we will have to make a decision to either save their life or change their life forever. This is what happened to me on a rainy April day in 2003 and yes it was life altering for my husband, children and myself.
The dr. told me matter of factly that he would have to amputate my husband’s foot, the dr. spoke as if it was such an easy decision, as if I would not have to give it any thought what so ever. I had to think long and hard and under the shock of such a surgery it wasn’t easy for me to think of what was the best thing to do.
I knew it was the dr.s fault my husband was lying in a bed in horrific pain as the gangrene took over his toes and I knew there was no way that I would allow that dr. to operate on my husband and I told him I wanted my husband transferred for a second opinion. The dr. said ok and then my husband would be brought back for the amputation.
There was no way I was going to let that happen and once transferred the new surgeon told me he didn’t know if he could save my husband’s leg as his foot was considered damaged beyond repair. The day of surgery I brought the kids to the hospital because that might be the last time that they saw him.
They wheeled him into the operating room and the kids and I waited to hear how the surgery went. The skys turn dark and the rain began to slowly bead up upon the window as I looked past the droplets into the distance. I felt numb and so alone and that is when I made a deal with myself and God.
I watched the droplets of water work down the window in a jagged line and I said to myself if the droplet stopped at a point that I had already determined that my husband would live. If the droplet went past that point then he would die and thank God the droplet stopped which gave me some peace.
No one has any idea what it is like to live with or be an amputee unless they have experienced it and anyone that would be stupid enough to ask a dr. to amputate their leg or legs is really ignorant. My husband came home and I was solely responsible for lifting him and getting him into bed. He laid in bed day after day and called my name when he was hungry or thirsty.
I finally couldn’t take the self pity he consumed himself with and I finally told him to get his ass on the board and slide onto his wheelchair. He finally got so hungry he made the move and found his way into the kitchen. His coffee cup was on the counter and all he had to do was pour the coffee into the cup.
There were days when he forgot that he was an amputee and attempted to get out of bed by and walk which landed him face down on the floor. Then there were the phantom pains he felt as if he still had his leg and the pain that he felt prior to the amputation. He had lost everything, his job, a great pension, long term disability funds, his self asteem, the ability to stand on two legs without help but most of all he lost himself.
Our life slowly went down hill and we became distant as the years passed and we no longer had anything in common. Our marriage had died a slow and painful death as he became more and more distracted and had no desire to be part of the family. So this is how it goes when you have to make a decision to safe a life or a limb.