This is a tense week and, looking at the calendar, the stress levels are only going to increase over the coming days. Scott is preparing for his first elective surgery, and he is petrified. After enduring more surgeries than I can count, I am having a difficult time grasping the concept of the terror that he is experiencing. By comparison, his wisdom teeth extraction is little more than an inconvenience. After all, I had mine removed when I was 17 and was fine in a few days.
I am struggling to remind myself that medical journeys should never be compared and that what he is feeling is real. Regardless of my experiences, he is nearly paralyzed with fear at the prospect of his own medical procedure. I am constantly pausing as I try to dance the fine line between being supportive without feeding into his spiraling fears and tempering my instinct to compare his surgery to all of mine.
Both Scott and I are approaching his surgery with skewed perspectives. My lengthy resume of surgeries is not helping either of us! This procedure along with the recovery has grown to epic proportions in Scott's mind. He is convinced that he won't be able to consume solid food for months, that the pain will be unbearable, and that his face will be permanently disfigured. My trying to calm his fears by relaying the experiences from my own wisdom teeth extraction only serves to minimize and negate his worries. I'm told that I don't understand and that I don't care. At this point, I don't know how to adequately support him without being perceived as dismissive.
I recognize that he is terrified, and I am doing my best to be supportive. I know that he will be okay and that the ensuing recovery will not mimic the journey through hell that he is envisioning. My promising him that he will be okay is not helping the situation. He views all attempts to reassure as disparaging. At this point, there isn't anything that I can say or do to help him. I find myself stepping on egg shells with each conversation.
Tomorrow is his surgery. I know that today is going to be difficult as he struggles with the unknown. I'm going to do my best to listen and to reassure without appearing to judge and compare. I have a feeling it is going to be a long day for both of us.