“All right, babe,” I say as we get ready for bed.
“Tomorrow we get back into our workout routine?” my husband assumes.
“You got it. We’ve slacked off for too long.”
‘So I hurt my knee at work today…’ he texts me.
Doesn’t sound too serious, I think. Maybe it’ll be all better by the time I get home.
“It hurts to walk,” he says as he plays Destiny 2. “I can’t put pressure on it.”
“What?” I gasp. “It’s that bad?”
“Yeah. My boss said to go to urgent care if it doesn’t feel better by tomorrow morning.”
“So how does this work? You’ll get up tomorrow at the same time you always do, get out of bed, and if you can’t stand, I take you to urgent care?”
“Sounds about right.”
I try to remain calm despite the ringing in my ears. “Okay.” As soon as my back is turned, I text everyone I know and ask them to pray.
The alarm goes off. I crack an eye open to watch him crawl out of bed. He tries to put weight on his injured knee and collapses back into the mattress with a groan.
Looks like we’re going to urgent care…
I throw the blanket off and hurry around the bed to help him.
“Can you grab my shoes?”
“Oh, and a hat too, please?” His hair is so long and unruly; he’d rather cover it up than try to fix it.
You’re so cute. “All right. I’ll be back.”
“Don’t forget my wallet.”
“Oh, babe? Can you get some socks too?”
“Here you go.”
“Um…” He holds out the right sock. “Can you give me a hand?”
I suppress a smile as I bend down before his injured knee and carefully slide the sock over his foot. I can see myself doing this in the future, when he’s old and has arthritis or something. In sickness and in health…
“I’m sorry I’m such an invalid,” he says with a sheepish smile.
“Don’t worry about.” I’m supposed to take care of you, silly. I’m your wife.
“Your car is too low to the ground. I don’t think I could get in or out of it,” he says. “Are you going to be okay, driving my truck?”
The thought makes me nervous, but I say, “It should be fine.”
I sit in the driver’s seat, scooted all the way back to accommodate my six foot two hunk. I scoot it forward and adjust the mirrors. I’m tiny when compared to him. The key slides timidly into the ignition. With a roar, the truck comes alive and rolls out of the garage. It’s still dark outside.
“If you were the one injured, I could just carry you,” he murmurs, using me as a crutch to get to the idling car. “I’m sorry you have to do this.”
“Stop saying sorry. You’re fine.” At least, I hope you’re fine…Please, be fine.
“We couldn’t find anything on the x-ray,” the doctor tells us.
My husband sits in a wheelchair.
I swallow hard. My rock, my bear, my safe place…in a wheelchair. It’s almost painful.
“We’re going to schedule an MRI but it could take up to two weeks.”
My husband exhales. He hates getting MRIs.
“If your knee heals on its own, we’ll cancel the MRI,” the doctor continues. “I’m going to give you a prescription for naproxen and a muscle relaxant in the mean time. The muscle relaxant you’ll take before you go to bed. It’ll help you sleep.”
“Thank you,” my husband and I both say.
My husband leans on his crutches as he talks to the nurse at the front desk. I watch him from the other side of the waiting room. He nods, accepting the papers she hands him, and then starts ambling carefully toward me. I jump up and hurry over to take the papers from him.
“Thanks. I have physical therapy tomorrow,” he says.
I blink in surprise. “But you’re not going to work.”
“You should be resting,” I protest.
“I need to work,” he says seriously.
I bite my tongue and hold the door open for him.
A headache is building behind my eyes and across my forehead.
“Are you going to work?” my husband asks as we wait in the drive-thru for our breakfast.
“I don’t know. There’s technically nothing wrong with me. Now that you’re on crutches, you don’t need me as much anymore…But I am tired.”
“Do you have any vacation days left?”
“No, but I have sick days.”
“It’s up to you, hon.”
I glance at the clock in the radio. “Well, even if we got home right now and I rushed to get ready, I’d still be late. And I don’t feel like rushing.”
“So stay home with me.”
“All right. I’ll stay home.”
“I’ve got your drugs,” I say, setting them down over the counter. “Do you want to take anything right now?”
“I’ll take some naproxen,” he says, his eyes on the TV screen.
I wait until he’s done battling robots before I hand him the pill. He swallows it dry and smiles.
I love you.
I reach across from him to place a soda on the chair he’s using as an end table. “Need anything else?”
“Not right now.”
“All right. Let me know when you’re hungry.”
“What did you say was for lunch?”
“I have chicken thawing in the fridge,” I say. “I can fry it for you and make mashed potatoes or I can make you a salad.”
His mouth works for a moment as he processes his options. “Neither sound really appealing right now…”
I chuckle, reading his code. “Would you like to order in, love?”
He grins. “Pizza sounds amazing.”
I whip out my phone and start the order.
I lower the book and poke him in the side. “Hey, are you falling asleep on me?”
“No,” he says drowsily.
“I’m almost done with the chapter.”
“I’m listening,” he insists, eyes closed.
I smile and continue reading out loud from The Order of the Phoenix.
“I’m taking my phone off of do-not-disturb mode,” I tell him, handing over his lunch box. “If you need anything, call me, okay?”
He puts his lunch in the passenger’s seat and gives me a kiss. “All right, babe. I love you.”
“I love you too.” I close the door and step back.
Please, keep him safe, I pray as I crawl back into bed.
My phone buzzes on my desk and I flip it over to check the text. Finally, he answered my text from this morning.
‘Yes, babe. I did get to work okay.’ Smiley face.
I breathe out a long sigh of relief and text back. ‘Was it hard to drive?’
‘That’s good! What did you do at work?’
He tells me and I smile. I was worried they wouldn’t find anything he could do while sitting down. I can’t wait to see him.
“How was physical therapy?” I ask, falling into the couch beside him.
“It was all right I guess. Painful. Oh, and there are little pieces of bone floating around in my knee.”
“What? I thought the doctors couldn’t find anything on the x-ray.”
“Well, the physical therapist took another look at the x-ray and said he saw what looked like pieces of bone floating around my knee.”
I shake me head. “How…?”
“No idea. The therapist thought the bone pieces could’ve been there since I tore my ACL and had surgery to fix it.”
“Wow. Okay. So how are we going to get those out?”
“I don’t know,” he says with a shrug. “But they’re not going to do anything until I get an MRI and they can confirm that’s the only problem.”
I lean back into the couch. Lord, have mercy on my baby.
“What if you have to have surgery on your knee again?”
“Then we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. You just have to trust God in these situations.”
He says it so easily! I roll over to press my cheek against his chest. “What if it takes you months to recover?”
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
He gives my hand a squeeze. “We’ll be fine, babe.”
I shut my eyes. I want to believe, God, but I’m so afraid. Help me not to be.
The truck’s lights disappear around the corner as I pull the trash cans out to the curb. I want to go back to sleep, but the dishes are piling up. I plan on making fried chicken and potatoes for dinner. If I put it off until I get home at 5, it won’t leave me much time to hang out with my husband before we have to go to bed again. I could make it all now, put it in the fridge, and just reheat it when I get home from work. I amble into the bedroom for my glasses. The world sharpens into focus and so does my mind. Squaring my shoulders, I march into the kitchen and start the day.