When the day of surgery finally rolled around, it was a long and stressful day. It lasted almost six hours, and when the surgeon came out to discuss how it went I was the only one in the waiting room. There I was a terrified 16 year-old trying to understand what this doctor was telling me, when all I really heard was “He lost a lot of blood”. He made it out of surgery though, with screws and metal plates making up his newly constructed hip. The following weeks were hard on both of us, and the subsequent year brought things no one was expecting.
The days following The German’s surgery, I was up and at the hospital when visiting hours started and stayed until they were over. It meant paying for city parking every day and sprinting through the streets alone at night to get back to my car to drive home, but there was no way to make me go anywhere else. He slept most of the time, and when he was awake he was in pain and angry and depressed. As hard as it was for him to lay there not able to do anything, including get up to go to the bathroom, for me it was horrible to see my big, strong, boyfriend, who always promised to take care of me no matter what, laying there unable to take care of himself. Our relationship took a 180 and all of a sudden it was up to me to be the strong one.
The worst days were when the nurses and doctors tried to get him out of bed and walking. I always had to leave the room for those moments, there were some things that The German just didn’t want me to see. At the end of the first week, it was time for The German to move from the hospital in the city to one closer to home where he would begin rehab. This was the summer before my Senior year of high school, and as it happened my SAT Prep class began during the second week of The German’s hospital stay. I still sat there with him every minute I wasn’t learning how to decipher analogies and math problems, but it’s safe to say I was always completely distracted during class.
After two full weeks, The German was sent home from the hospital with a pair of crutches, a shower seat, and a wicked scar. He’d also lost about 15 lbs (UPDATED: I’ve been informed by The German that it was in fact 40 lbs and not 15!), together we must have looked like a cracked out couple looking for our next hit, as I was also under weight at that point in time. Before I knew it, August was coming to a close and it was time to start field hockey try-outs and practice. The German was making progress, slowly regaining the use of his leg, and every day vowing that he was going to get better sooner than everyone expected. Most of the doctors and physical therapists predicted it would be a year before he would have full use of his leg again. This accident derailed his college plans for the upcoming year, and that was probably the only good thing that came out of it. The two of us got an extra year together before heading off to college.
Senior year started for me and was a whirlwind of sports practices, SAT Prep, college essays, working, and still trying to be there for The German who was home all day. I felt so guilty going around living my life normally, when I knew he was still in so much pain and suffering through rehab every day. I was being pulled in so many different directions, and it was only a matter of time before I was pulled into the guidance counselors office because friends, teachers, and coaches had expressed their concern for me. I protested that I was fine, and continued on through the fall feeling like I needed five more of me just to get through the day.
The day finally came when The German abandoned his crutches, went back to work, and started to feel like himself again, and I felt like I could breath. He was walking with a huge limp, still experiencing pain, but at least he was walking on his own. That October, The German and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary and our relationship felt even stronger after all we’d gone through that summer. Towards the end of the fall, I totaled my car driving to school one morning, and nearly went through my windshield as my car drove head on into a tree. Thankfully, I only cracked it with my elbow and a nice man stopped to pull me out of my destroyed car and called an ambulance. With me rushed to the hospital and The German driving to meet me, our roles were reversed. My injuries were no where near as serious, I had some burns on my face from the airbags, and had to wear my arm in a sling for a few weeks, but some of the nurses remembered The German and remarked on how well he was doing.
The holidays came and went, and before I knew it I was trying to make a decision about where to attend college in the fall and getting ready for Senior Prom. Ohio State had offered me a scholarship, and its close proximity to Wisconsin put it high on my list, UCONN, and JMU both followed closely behind. After a visit to the JMU campus in April, I decided it was the place for me and my college decision was made. Also, the realization that come August The German and I would be 13 hours away from each other. We both ignored it all we could, and agreed to deal with it when the time to leave came.
Senior year wasn’t all perfect. We still would fight, a lot. The German had a lot of free time since he wasn’t in school, and would want to go out at night, and hang out with other people that weren’t in school. One of our biggest fights actually took place after the prom. He didn’t want to go to the after prom party with my friends, he just wanted to go home, I didn’t understand why he couldn’t do this for me. In the end, we ended up going home and driving to the shore by ourselves the next morning. Throughout the spring, our relationship continued to feel strained and I began to wonder if it was a mistake to continue. There were a lot of conversations that started with “I don’t know if I want to do this anymore,” but a full break-up never happened. As I always used to say, I would rather fight with him then not fight with anyone else so together we stayed. Soon it was my turn to graduate and our last summer home was upon us.
up next, a broken heart, followed by a proposal…