Originally Posted By: Mark1952
GM,

My wife's affair was over in June and it was November when I discovered what appeared to be a pimple on the side of my chest, just below my arm pit. It very quickly gave indication that it wasn't just a simple pimple but actually a boil and did what all boils seem to do. It grew in size, swelled significantly, broke open and began to drain and bleed a bit. Then the swelling began to subside a little, a scab formed over the wound and though still tender, I gave it little thought at all on a daily basis.

By now it was the first week of December and though it didn't get demonstrably worse, it didn't really heal either. It didn't seem that important in light of trying to put our marriage back together and learn new ways of communicating and showing each other that we cared about each other.

A couple of days after Christmas, it swelled a little and drained a little more and I covered it with a bandage, just a band-aid, after pouring alcohol on it. (That will wake you up in the morning, I tell ya.)

It drained and bled and soon being out of strips to put on it, I covered it with a piece of gauze cut from a 4X4 pad and held it in place with a piece of tape.

The first weekend of the new year, my wife and I spent the weekend together doing some fun stuff on the spur of the moment. During that three day weekend, the spot went from an open wound of about the size of a quarter to one 4 inches across.

On Monday I made an appointment to see a doctor and after sitting there waiting for two hours found out he had an emergency at the hospital and wasn't going to see me. I went to the ER that night only to find that they had a couple of heart attacks, three gunshots, a car accident with three life-threatening injuries and about 100 people in line ahead of me. A couple came in with a baby with a high fever and struggling to breathe. The woman who began taking information from the husband as others rushed the baby and mother into a treatment cubical looked at me and said "If you aren't having chest pains, it will be at least two hours..."

I went home.

The next afternoon, I went to the local Quick Care and after a two hour wait, saw a nurse first. She called in the doctor who took one look, scheduled me with a surgeon the next day, ran blood tests, gave me a script for 4 grams per day of Augmentin and sent me home with pills in hand. The next day they took samples, sent them to the lab and I waited a week for results.

A week later the surgeon saw that while taking Augmentin, the wound had again doubled in size and was now 4X8 inches. He hospitalized me that night, debrided the wound the next afternoon and had IV antibiotics running into both arms with hourly blood being drawn. They changed one of the bags every couple of hours to something else they found to try and still had no idea what I had.

That was on Friday and on Tuesday they discovered that what I had was an acinetobacter infection. Almost nobody had ever heard of it and the only other people with this particular strain had all been blown up or shot recently. (this was 4 years ago)

Once it was ID'd, they put me on Bactrim (4 grams per day ) and 750 mils of Levaquin for secondary infection and sent me home with the fascia of the muscle on the side of my chest exposed in an area just over 4X8 inches in size. My wife, who nearly vomited and had to rest before being able to drive home after seeing the wound for the first time was about to become my care giver and considering that 7 months earlier she was considering walking away from the marriage to be with another man my Plan A was about to be tested as well as her commitment to recovery.

She watched the home health nurse change the dressing one day. The next she took pictures of it to give to the ID docs when I went to see them on Friday. On Sunday, she changed the dressing herself while the nurse told her what to do and by Wednesday, she was changing it for me. She changed it every day until I went back again 6 weeks later for a graft to close the wound.

She also did just about everything else that needed to be done. She cooked, cleaned, took care of our granddaughter most days, fed the dogs and cats...She washed the laundry, took me to the doctor...

As my wound began to heal, I found my heart healing as well. It was that she was SHOWING care for me that let me know that she cared for me. As I healed, she healed and the things she did for me were the most important things in her day. While I have made hundreds of extrapolations using my illness as analogy for recovery, healing and MB stuff, the main lesson I think is that it was what she did for me that allowed me to heal. She showed care, compassion and demonstrated empathy for my feelings and condition almost constantly.

I honestly think that had I not gotten sick, we could very well be divorced.

It will be what you DO for DWG that will let her heal, GM. What you know or what you say or why you do it won't really matter in the long run. Only what you do to show her care, compassion and empathy for her feelings will matter when all is said and done.

She'll never care how much you know until she knows how much you care.

You need to be transparent. I'm not talking about answering questions here but about daily life stuff. You don;t get to decide what she needs to know about your life, she gets to decide that. She needs to know where you are, what you are doing and when you change to something else. She needs you to tell her and not wait to be asked. She needs to know that you aren't hiding anything at all from her. If she discovers anything at all, no matter how trivial it seemed to you at the time you failed to reveal it, it will call into question everything she thought she knew. Nothing will be trusted no matter how genuine and empathetic you seem to be.

She needs you to take steps to comfort her in her times of distress since that distress was caused by you. You don't need to FIX it or ANALYZE it or EXPLAIN it, you just need to show her you care for her by caring for her.

She needs YOU to be the leader when it comes to UA time and providing for HER needs. She needs to know that you want to be with her and that you are willing to be with her more than you want to do anything else. She needs to know that she is FIRST in your life and not second, not even a close second. She needs to be asked what you can do for her to make her feel better and then you need to follow through and do it.

She also needs you to listen to her rant sometimes and just let her rant and vent. Again, you don't have to explain it or fix it or justify it or even answer it unless it is posed as a question she specifically says you need to answer.

Ultimately it will be she herself that has to heal, but it will be what YOU do that will give her what she needs in order to heal.

Coffee break's over. Back on my head...

Mark


What a story! I understand, Mark. Thank you so much.

- GM


FWH, age 63. 24 years of narcissistic behavior, infidelity, and emotional abandonment of my BS, age 57, DancesWithGoats (DWG). D-day two years ago, leading to emotional breakdown. Been working MB program and toward spiritual transformation and personal growth since then, with some slow but real progress. DWG still with no trust, but with grief starting to subside a bit.