Trading Places with My Husband

Trading Places with My Husband
Gary wanted to role play. “Put on a little nurse's outfit,” he said, in puffs, pants, and grunts. But excruciating pain ruined the moment. He hurt so bad that he was doubled over. I’ve seen my husband heat up a paper clip and use it to pierce his black and swelling thumbnail during construction accidents. The smell of burning flesh and a little trail of black smoke has left me with a sensory memory that’s hard to eradicate. Another time, I watched his hand balloon up and turn a bleached shade of pale because of a nasty chemical in tile grout. Both times, he kept right on working and didn't even consult a nurse. But his pain last week was incomprehensible. “Take him to the ER,” our friend Doug told me over the phone. He’s a doctor, and I trust him. I manhandled Gary into the car and raced to our local hospital where a meticulous young man took down information. “Could I get your social?” he asked. “Your height and weight?” I thought Gary was going to barf all over the desk. We learned later that my husband has a kidney stone. But things got complicated. Fluids backed up where there shouldn’t be fluids, and a hole punched through where there shouldn’t be holes. He had a procedure that went badly, and all the while, his pain required Dilaudid (hydromor
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