This morning, I sit in my bed alone. My husband rests in a bed across town. Separated by hospital practices, we each slept alone last night. I had his pillow pressed to my face. My husband had a call-bell tucked against his side.

Yesterday, Kevin had surgery, a total knee replacement. The surgery was long anticipated; Kevin’s years as an athlete in High School and college, plus decades of skiing and running, all took their toll. This surgery was not preceded by emergency or drama, it was in the works for a long time. The surgery itself went well, as was expected. Even while Kevin was being taken to the Recovery Room, his surgeon gave me a ‘thumb’s up’ report, letting me know that he was content with how things had gone. I was in Kevin’s room, stroking his hand, just hours after his entire left knee, the largest joint in the body, was removed, and a prosthesis was implanted. Everything went great and an excellent recovery is anticipated.

So why am I so tired?

I find that hospitals are exhausting. The noises, smells, blinking lights, and endless TVs of hospitals overwhelm my senses. Don’t get me wrong -I function just fine in hospitals, my lipstick is on, my smile is in place. For over a decade, I worked in hospitals, helping others, moving forward in my career. Hospitals are great places for things like surgery, and getting experience as a midwife. But hospitals are not home. I can function fine in hospitals. I thrive at home.

Kevin and I like being home. We like being together at home. In a couple of days, I get to bring my husband home. We will sleep downstairs on the fold-out couch for a week or so. In the mornings, we will drink coffee on the porch. In the evenings, we may make a fire in the wood stove. We will sleep together every night.

Hospitals are made for patients, not for families. Hospitals rarely have double beds. My husband and I did not sleep together last night. We won’t sleep together tonight or tomorrow. Hospital policy and purchasing practices just don’t allow for couples to bed-share. I know that a few nights sleeping apart is a small price to pay for a new knee, a whole and functioning knee.

And it is still exhausting.

Today, when I am tired, maybe I can curl up against my husband’s hospital bed rail, stroke his face, and we can both take a nap.


May all babies be born into loving hands