The Sung Heroes

Let me be 100% clear about something right from the start. You know by now that I’m all about how hard it is to be a caregiver and how we’re the unsung heroes. AND YET, I need to make sure that you know that I know that there’s a reason the patients are the Sung Heroes, which yes, is a term I just made up.

Was it challenging and traumatic to sit in a room this week while my husband had Skin Cancer #92 removed from his nose, watching him clutch the chair and flinch with pain, and smelling his flesh burn as they used a tool to cauterize the bleeding? Absolutely.

BUT

Could I sip my (terrible doctor’s office) coffee, read my book, and pretend for even a few moments that I was somewhere else? Yes.

Did I walk out of that room in any physical pain or covered in bandages. I did not.

 Photo  credit: Esteban Lopez

Photo  credit: Esteban Lopez

He, my Sung Hero, did. As much as he may have tried to go to his happy place during the five hours we were in that room, they were slicing, burning, and stitching the skin on his nose. There is no meditating that away. When finished, the entire top half of his face was an inch deep in bandages, which he cannot remove for 48 hours. The bandages impair his vision, his comfort, and his ability to blow his nose.  This is on top of the aching pain throbbing through his face and head.

I, as a caregiver, have it bad because I hold all of the pieces together and I watch my beloved medically tortured time after time after time.

He, as the patient, lives with the knowledge that his body is against him, causing cancers at a ridiculously high rate. He is the one operated on, poked, prodded, sliced, scanned, radiated.

We both hold versions of the emotional pain caused by this disease, but let me never forget or downplay that it is his physical body that is in this war.

And so, as I here and other places talk about the very real challenges of being a caregiver, please know that the music always playing in the background of my words is the tune for Sean, my Sung Hero.