Husband Recounts Wife’s Surgery
BY JOHN SPENCER
When my wife, Pamela Douglas, had spine surgery to correct scoliosis, I knew the risks were serious and recovery would be long and difficult. But she was determined to be well, and I had to find the strength to go through this with her. As I look back on that experience, I was amazed.
I’ll never forget the day of the operation. We had to get Pam up at 4:30 a.m. We’d been prepared with everything packed. We got cleaned up and drove her over to the hospital. There was no traffic. We were waiting for a while and then the people came out and took her. I remember seeing her walk into the hallway with a few other people and I thought to myself, "I sure hope this works out because this could be the last time we ever see her." That was real.
Then, a number of hours later, as you usually see in movies and TV shows, the doctor comes out. That happened a few times to other people while we were sitting there; the doctors told them everything was fine—but not us. Instead, we got a phone call. I felt like there was this loud music in the background, "dum de dum dum."
I remember counting the paces. I’m an architectural designer so I tend to measure things. It was 30 paces from where I was sitting to the telephone, and half the room was looking at me. I had developed some strategies. If the worst of the worst happened and the doctor came out and said Pam didn’t make it, I actually planned what I was going to do. I was going to find a chair and just sit there. The next thing would be to call her brother. I didn’t have a plan after that, but that’s what I figured I was going to do. Pam had given me an envelope, which I put in my fire safe, "If I croak here’s what you guys should do." That was the right thing. We really approached this in the most calm, organized, almost professional way.
When I picked up the phone, it was her surgeon saying they were all happy.
I felt we’d been given a gift, so let’s make the best use of that gift. Let’s really make the household work even better, let’s stay cool, and let’s create stuff. She has a second life, we have a second life, and she got fixed. It’s absolutely amazing.