A surgeon finds his heart

If you are lucky, one day you will fall in love. It happens to most all of us at one time or another. It’s actually a psychosis, this falling in love thing. Endorphins bathe our brains with that top of the world, nothing can hurt us euphoria. And there are physical signs and symptoms: the stomach ache that occurs when we are not near the one we love, the lack of appetite that has us drop 10 pounds out of nowhere, can’t sleep, can’t think straight … in short, a psychosis.

Some of us will fall in love more than once, and the really lucky ones (like me) will fall in love all over again with one’s spouse. With your spouse ?!? Oh yeah, with your spouse. My story:

From a very hot and torrid dating and engagement, my wife and I were married Sept 11, 1999. A very meaningful, fun wedding and party with our families and friends gathered. What could ever go wrong?

Enter the blending of the families (my kids, her kids) and it became readily apparent why such unions suffer 70% divorce rates. And we were once on the brink. But something, I think it was a very deep love and perhaps even more importantly at the time, lust for each other that prevailed. We weathered the storms, the kids got older and actually became friends, and life improved greatly.

But the last two years has seen work pressures, financial pressures, other pursuits weave their way into our union, or better said, I allowed such to take place. I never doubt that Randi ever put our marriage second to anything. But I must have. Because three weeks ago she had had enough, and in no uncertain terms (we husbands all know what this looks like), she let me know. Her style when angry or disappointed is to process her feelings over days or a week. During this processing the indoors temperature approaches 32 degrees F and at times I could see the frost from my breath. And as a surgeon, I am accustomed to the quick cure, let’s expose the pathology and deal with it. Not here, not with her. My God, how excruciating for me. So, when we finally discussed our issues, it was quite clear what an ASS I could be and was, in words and acts and deeds and lack of words and acts and deeds. There were sins of commission and omission.

And I got it.

And I took it to heart. And I was given space to think, consider, make amends, and decide what I wanted to do, and to do about it. So I did. I was told to clean up my act, and by God, clean up my act I would and did and have. 180 degrees.

No more off color ‘jokes’ and references that embarrassed her. Consideration of her rest needs, very quietly getting ready in the morning for the OR or office, paying attention to her needs and wants and desires by respecting our date nights (no more medical conferences or late OR cases on those days), letting her know how special she was with coffee in the morning, notes, messages, flowers, hugs, and kisses. And I carefully, deeply, thought about the woman she is and the wife she is, and I fell in love with her all over again. Incredible, amazing.

This last three weeks I want nothing but to be with her, to please her, to love her. And thank God, she wants me too. I don’t exactly know why, but I’m taking it. Over this time my appetite has disappeared as have the pounds, most likely due to the stress of thinking that my wife had had it with me and was leaving me. Man, was I distraught. She says that would have never happened, but you couldn’t have convinced me of that at the time. In any case, I wasn’t taking any chances.

So what now?? Now is a new lease on life, loving and being with the woman I have chosen to be with (chose her 12 yrs ago, and each minute of the day choose her again). What a blessing. What a lucky man I am.

And perhaps you my friends can see it. I’m a man head over heels in love with his wife. It’s in my smile, my walk, my interactions with others, my care of my patients, and in my hands in the OR – extending from me to the world.

I dearly love my wife.

Posted by Douglas K. Holmes, MD