I still wasn’t cleared to run or pick up Kiana so I was missing some of my own stress relief but I kept doing rehab on the Ipad. Everyday I kept getting better at these games but with almost none of them was I at a presurgery level. Perhaps the right attitude would have just been to be glad about the likely prognosis or to be alive without any major complications but I wasn’t fighting just to be alive but to get my life back so I kept doing this because I had been told that the first several weeks were the most critical to reconnecting the synapses. Like any other injury, initial rehab was more important than anything else.
However, I was still worried about my wife so I did things that I hoped would impress her. We had always kept refrigerator magnets because she was a creative writing major and it helped her express herself. For the first time ever, I put them all in order alphabetically so they would be easier for her and others to find. In retrospect, it’s odd how some of these things look. She had for the first time ever in our marriage, after the diagnosis, reorganized every room in the house. I was now trying to organize tiny little things. Perhaps she had been afraid of me dying and now I was afraid of what I had fought to stay alive for, living with her. It’s intriguing and silly the things we try to do when we realize we have absolutely no control of some of the most meaningful things in life.
The friends kept coming, the house kept improving in looks and we continued to make it “ours.” People like Kevin Fritz, an electrician friend was helping me put in new light fixtures. Dre, whose parents house I’d stayed at in Duke, was helping us pick out some tile to put on the fireplace. Since I was not going to have to follow up I just sank every cent of our tax refund into the house.
Susan and I had gone by to see the tattoo artist and were excited about the lion family he would be tattooing in a few weeks. Susan left one day and it was the one night that she and I would have by ourselves and somehow, for reasons I may never understand, the tension had been rising after the surgery had been cleared. That night my wife again brought up how she wanted to leave. I yelled about how I was getting a tattoo of her on my arm, how she was the center of my life. She argued back that I was getting the tattoo for me, not for her. I tried to argue I’d spend the recovery week of Duke with pleasant dreams of her, trying to figure out what to do for our 10th anniversary. She said that I had no idea what I was talking about. The tension kept rising, she walked away from me and I walked after her and then she slammed a bedroom door in my phase. And then, in the moment I’m most ashamed of in my life, I was less than physically appropriate with her. I immediately apologized and handed her my cell phone and told her if she wanted to call the police or call anyone I was ready to accept consequences. She cried but didn’t call anyone. We talked, cried, were awkward for a couple of hours and then went to bed together and I had tons of shame. I could sit here and try to tell you that I’d been on steroids for 10 days or that I hadn’t slept for a solid night in almost 3 weeks but explanation is no excuse. I was just wrong and if I could take any moment back in my life, I would. And if you’re reading this, please consider it a public apology. We went to bed that morning and the next morning had breakfast where she said I love you but we were both clearly shaken up.