Things in Erin’s Head


I can see it in my head. Just like it was yesterday. We were living in San Antonio, and Jerry was in the hospital after his liver resection. He’s in the hospital bed, his blanket in the perfect S-fold, holding a Christmas tree, with garland wrapped around his head. 

I know there’s a picture. I’ve spent hours today trying to find it (which is why this is landing in your in-box at 8:00pm). I really wanted you to SEE it (although, DO I really want you to have photo evidence of my insanity? Mmmm… perhaps technology is protecting me from myself).

You see, I also remember, like it was yesterday, how I was feeling. The surgery was squeezed in before the end of the year so it would be covered by insurance. The head of the transplant department performed the surgery, you know, ’cause he was gonna be “around.”

Surgery was December 22 and we should have been home by December 24. But things didn’t go quite as planned. Jerry’s oxygen levels didn’t bounce back after surgery. I didn’t leave the hospital. I slept there. I ate there. When Jerry napped I ran home to feed the cats and I ran back. It was our first major surgery. I was terrified. Tired (and all the other, more extreme synonyms for tired). I was delirious. 

And bored.

And fidgety (we only had Bejeweled on our Blackberries back in the day…).

It was also Christmas. We were in the hospital on Christmas Day. How could I just IGNORE Christmas? 

A friend stopped by to wish us a Merry Christmas. She brought the mini Christmas tree. I don’t remember where I got the garland (but I have a sneaking suspicion that I dug it out on one of my stops home and brought it back with me).

And now I remember… just… laughing. Through all the fear, all the exhaustion, we were in the hospital laughing. In the picture (whether it’s real or just another one of the things in my head), Jerry is giving me his signature, “Erin, Erin, Erin, do what you will, I shan’t fight you” look. Which only makes me laugh harder. I mean he couldn’t fight me… I suppose he could have protested… (he did object to the Christmas music as he always does, Bah Humbug).

One of these days I’m going to find the picture – I know I shared it with close friends and family (so if y’all have it, please send it to me).

The message in all this? There are moments of joy, even in the darkest times. Was it a happy Christmas? I’m not going that far… but we shared love, and a giggle.

Because it’s all about love…

P.S. This story is also one of the experiences that inspired me to create the Caregiver Gift Guide; because it can get really lonely, and Caregivers can feel very isolated over the Holidays. Any little somethin’ somethin’ is going to be greatly appreciated. There’s quite a few free things in there too, so it’s not gonna break your budget and makes it super easy to say “Hey, I’m thinking of you.”