Like A Bowl Of Oranges

Derek getting sent down to the SICU was pretty rough on both of us. Obviously Derek more than me, but I really didn’t think my stress level could get ratcheted up any higher; life is full of surprises. On Wednesday, we tried to have a relaxing day. We played cards, chit chatted, I napped in a chair, Derek napped in child’s pose on his bed. At one point, we were talking and we both started crying. This happens a lot now. I think it’s ultimately good for both of us to vent some of this stress anyway we can, but it takes a toll. As we were sitting in silence, trying to compose ourselves, we heard a noise. We had asked about this noise the first day in the SICU as it was not a noise we ever heard on the 6th floor. Apparently it’s a respirator alarm, but it sounds a lot like a clown horn.

We heard it again, just like before, but this time it was longer, and apparently super hilarious. When we heard it, we looked at each other, raised our eyebrows at the same time and then burst into a fit of giggles. We have laughed a few times since the surgery, but it’s short lived because frankly, it hurts like hell. To be clear, Derek and I collapsed into giggles on a semi-regular basis pre-surgery and it hurt then. It’s the kind of laughter that leaves you gasping for air and clutching your stomach. Now imagine uncontrollably giggling with an incision from sternum to just past the belly button, or a J shaped incision that still has staples. Oh, and try to imagine that your insides have recently been rearranged. It was hilarious and awful. I can’t imagine what everyone else in the SICU must have thought. We were laughing and wailing in pain at the same time. It lasted a while; too long. And then it ended and we tried to recover; it was a serious workout.

When I left Wednesday night, Derek was sore and tired and pretty sad. It was hard to go, but I was totally exhausted. I got in the car and started the 45-60 minute drive home. My iPod in the car is on perma-shuffle, and I swear it can predict what I’m in the mood for sometimes. There was a particular time in my life when it seemed like every other song was a Tom Waits song. When I was nearly home, a song came on that seemed so incredibly appropriate for the day. Bowl of Oranges by Bright Eyes.

I like this song a lot, but here’s the part of the song that got me:

That’s why I’m singing baby don’t worry
‘Cause now I got your back
And every time you feel like crying
You know I’ll try and make you laugh
And if I can’t
If it just hurts too bad
Then we’ll wait for it to pass
And I will keep you company for those days so long and black

And we’ll keep working on the problem
We know we’ll never solve
Of love’s uneven remainders
Our lives are fractions of a whole
But if the world could remain within a frame
Like a painting on a wall
Then I think we’d see the beauty then
We’d stand staring in awe

At our still lives posed
Like a bowl of oranges
Like a story told
By the fault-lines and the soil


I was singing along, and when I got to this part of the song, I started to cry. I wasn’t quite home yet, so it took all of my energy to not fall apart completely. I pulled into the driveway, put the car in park, put my head on the steering wheel and cried for a solid 5 minutes. Finding out later that Derek was back on the 6th floor and me getting a good nights sleep made everything feel so much better, so much calmer, the next morning.

Derek, you know this, but I’ll steal from Bright Eyes and say it this way:

That’s why I’m singing baby don’t worry, ’cause now I got your back, and every time you feel like crying, you know I’ll try and make you laugh. And if I can’t, if it just hurts too bad, then we’ll wait for it to pass. And I will keep you company for those days so long and black.


4 Replies to “Like A Bowl Of Oranges”

  1. Isn’t it amazing how many of the codes and signals you start to pick up on when you’re in a hospital for a while? After O was born and I found a list of all the codes in a typical hospital – I think we heard most, if not, all of them in the couple weeks we were there.

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