Having moved from Maryland to Oklahoma, a motel room became our home. Day after day I sat in that room with Rene’, our youngest daughter. Dawn and Lyn were in school. Ray, my husband, could not seem to find a house. And I wasn’t feeling well.
Ray’s life, however, was a different story. He had a plush office in a tower building with a deck and view of the city. He was climbing the corporate ladder rapidly…and was very pleased with himself.
Finally, a house was selected. I began the task of making it a home. But I was making constant trips to the bathroom. After one episode I felt turned wrong side out and needed to hang onto the sink for support. That’s when I spied the red color in the toilet bowl. I was bleeding!
Now what to do? I wasn’t to bother Ray. He was just getting started with his new job. I was scared and wanted someone to care. But Ray was the only adult I knew in town.
When Ray arrived home that night, I apologized for the lack of work I had accomplished that day…and then explained my reason. With a wave of his hand, he dismissed me and asked what there was for supper. I persisted, which I rarely did. I wanted to see a doctor. Something was wrong.
Ray calmly explained his insurance hadn’t gone into effect yet and he wasn’t going to spend his money to take me to a doctor.
I was no better the next day. Something was drastically wrong and I needed professional help. I mentioned it to Ray again. He had had enough. If I would promise to hush about it, he would take me to a doctor.
But after only a brief examination and a few questions, the doctor explained I needed to be hospitalized. I tried to tell him my husband would never go for that. He thought I was joking.
As I sat in the examining room, I heard their voices reverberating from the waiting room. A totally bewildered doctor returned to me, telling me to get dressed and go home. With a touch to my shoulder (which was like an electric shock because no man was supposed to touch me) he assured me he wouldn’t just let this go. He would do something.
After leaving the doctor’s office, we drove around while Ray made sure I understood that this issue was to be dropped. I would not be going to a hospital.
He said, “Now we are going to go home, so act like you’re ok.”
I tried desperately to hear somewhere in all his words that he cared about what was happening to me. But why would he? I was only his wife.
We returned home with big smiles on our faces. There were no problems.
The next morning, the phone rang. It was my doctor. He explained he had reserved a hospital bed for me and I was to check in by 2:00. When I told him I had no way to get there, he laid out a plan for me. Ask one neighbor to watch the children and then another to take me to the hospital. We were both aware that Ray was not an option. Who knew what his reaction would be. The only assurance I had was that the doctor was on my side.
Day after day I lay in the hospital bed. I was exhausted. Hospital tests can deplete your strength, especially when you are in short supply already. In his anger, Ray had not been to visit me once. I was alone.
A new face…a specialist…now smiled down at me. He told me what he believed to be my physical problem. I would be on a special diet and medication for the rest of my life; possibly be able to prevent further deterioration and repeated surgeries.
He said, “I don’t know what you are keeping inside of you and not telling anyone, but it is killing you. You need to find someone to talk to”. Then he left.
I knew what he meant.
But a good wife did not question her husband. A good wife did not ever say I don’t think you should do that. And certainly a good wife would not seek counseling and tell anyone else any of her husband’s actions that were disturbing her.
I was a good wife.
Medicine was prescribed. The neighbor took me home. The pretense continued.
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