Surgery went well and Doug’s entire care team commented on what a bright spirit he had. With an enthusiastic smile and cheerful voice Doug thanked each person for taking good care of him. I thanked them too, for respecting my beloved’s dignity and treating him with gentleness and respect.
We were sent home with instructions to wash the wound and change the dressing twice a day. If the wound bled, I should apply “firm pressure to the area.” Excuse me? I thought to myself, You want me to apply firm pressure to my husband’s penis, which has just been cut open and stitched back together? Are you INSANE?!
The nurse who gave us the instructions seemed totally confident that I could do those things and do them well; I, however, was terrified. There are many good reasons why I never studied to become a nurse! I worried that I’d hurt Doug, or cause an infection, or hinder the healing process. Plus I was afraid to see how extensive the surgery had been.
I didn’t let my panic show, because I knew there was no other option and I wanted Doug to feel that he could trust me to care for his body the way I’d always cared for his heart – with total adoration. I took a deep breath and chose to believe that I could be the caregiver that Doug needed.
That evening, the first time I saw his penis after the surgery I actually felt relieved because even though it was covered in stitches, his penis looked normal again. The growth was gone. I actually thought, Whew! That was awful, but quick. It’s over now. I imagined that we would soon go back to normal life and this horrible experience would be behind us.
Doug was such a champion. He didn’t complain and he expressed total confidence in my ability to care for him. Within a couple of hours after getting home, and after the surgery center had closed for the weekend, Doug began to bleed. I tried to apply “firm pressure” but he was in terrible pain and the bleeding increased. Panic set in, then we looked each other in the eyes, calmed ourselves and headed to the emergency room. (to be continued this week…)