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The Privilege of Waiting

January 20, 2012

Today, the state of Texas is paying me to wait.

Somewhere in this building, Moose is lying on a table with a very nice man cutting bits out of his head. It’s a series of simple procedures, all of which I’ve had myself.  Intellectually, I’m not worried about him. The small traitorous voice inside still whispers that something could go wrong, but thus far it’s not winning.

The ability to be here is a privilege that is too easy to take for granted.  One of the benefits of my job is the ability to take paid sick leave to go with a family member for surgery.  In fact, the insurance we are using to pay for this procedure is mine.  And even though Moose doesn’t have a living will, I do have the ability to make medical decisions for him.  All of this as a bonus of saying “I do” a year ago.

I know that if I wasn’t here, I’d be sitting at work worrying.  I took a short walk to go get some coffee  right after he went in, and I was planning to take a longer way back.  I changed my mind because I wanted to be here if something went wrong.  I don’t expect it to, but that little traitor inside my head says that if I’m not here, something will. If we were not married, I could still be here, but I wouldn’t have legally been able to take sick leave to do it.  And if I had fallen for a woman instead of a man, we wouldn’t even have the option to get married.  It’s just one of the thousands of little benefits that we don’t think about until we don’t get them.

I can be here and not worry about my paycheck being short a day’s pay.  I can drown the traitor voice with an audio book and my knitting instead of staring blankly at a computer screen.  I can look up whenever the door opens to see a friendly nurse, instead of worrying that every phone call might be a consoling one.  All this because our marriage is considered valid.  Never mind that we are of different faiths, and that our marriage was not blessed by an authority of a mainstream religion.  In the eyes of the law, we are married.

Our marriage is more than a piece of paper, more than the thousands of little benefits that are granted to married couples, more than the blessing of the government to be paid to sit here and wait.  But right now, waiting for the doctor to come out and tell me that everything is okay, it’s an awful lot.

EDIT: Moose came through fine.  Thank you to everyone who sent their well wishes.

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