A friend called me Friday night at about 7:30 to tell me that my husband is in the hospital, I drove up immediately to see him. He looked terrifyingly ill. He was white as a ghost, and couldn't talk without gasping for air. He's considered to be in end-stage renal failure, and will need dialysis, whether the home variety, or whether he'll need to visit the dialysis unit every second day, depends upon the biopsy he will be receiving this weekend. His blood pressure is sky-high, so he's on medication for that, also a symptom of renal failure. Apparently one can get to such a dangerous stage, with little or no symptoms. The last time I saw him, 3 months ago, he appeared to be in perfect health.
He wanted me to stay, but I said I hadn't brought an overnight bag, and was driving back the same night. I stayed for a few hours, then came home. I said he could call over the next few days to let me know how he's doing. He has a good support system of friends, so although I felt awful guilt for not staying, I knew i wouldn't be leaving him alone. He called yesterday, trying to convince me to go up and stay with him when he's released from hospital, but I said that I wasn't willing to do that. He has a roommate who is a good friend in AA, and his other AA friends are keeping close and helping him in any way possible.
When the guilt rises, it tells me that were I a decent human being, I'd go back and look after him, but I know that I'd end up in the same dreadful state I was in when I left. I feel compassion and empathy for him, but I don't want to get sucked back into that marriage. When I told him that I was not going to go up and stay with him, he said mournfully, "You know me better than anyone." I sighed, and said, "Yes, and I was desperately unhappy during the last few years, and I told you that, and tried to talk to you about it, and you brushed me off, and didn't care."
He changed the subject, and we talked for a few more minutes about nothing much before saying goodbye. He hasn't called me today, perhaps because he's angry with me for not giving in to his demands, and is ignoring me as punishment. That's how it worked in the marriage.
I'm grateful for my sponsor, who keeps reiterating that this is not my fault, I didn't cause him to become ill by leaving the marriage, and that I need to work to keep my thinking clear about what is and is not my responsibility. It's very difficult, and I slip and slide as I try to navigate my way through. I cry, and pray, and talk to my sponsor, and my program friends, I let myself feel the love and support they offer, and I stay true to myself.
I pray that dialysis will work for my husband, and that he will find what he needs to through this, and that his Higher Power will keep him safe.