Saturday, February 23, 2008

"Mawidge - Dat Bwessed Awwangement"

The hubby and I stayed up till 11 last night playing Cathedral. What a cooooooo-ooooool game!

In brief, for those who, like us, have been living "under a rock" the last 40 years:

-Player A has a set of light-colored medieval buildings of different shapes; Player B has a dark set.

-Player A starts by putting the cathedral, which is grey, down on a square grid. Player B then puts a dark building down. Players then take turns putting a single building down. The object is to put as many of your buildings on the grid as you can.

-If you can wall off an area of the grid with your buildings (without using the cathedral as part of your wall), that space is yours and your opponent can't put buildings in it. If either the cathedral or an opponent's building gets caught inside a walled-off area, the building is removed and the space it occupied is claimed by the player who constructed the wall.

-The excitement of the game comes from trying to claim real estate while preventing your opponent from doing so.

It sounds simple, and it might even sound relatively unexciting, but both our kids and we have been HOOKED by this game the last couple of days, snowed-in inside our cozy cabin with home-made chowder on the stove and mugs of cocoa in our hands.

When The Hunk and I were playing it late into the night last night we kept trying to come up with strategies. "Being the 'light' player's a disadvantage!" I complained.

"You have to try to place the cathedral defensively."

"Defensively how? The board's totally EMPTY."

"I don't know...try different positions."

"But we've already tried every position!"

We both looked up at each other, had the same mischievous thought at the same time, and both started giggling like school kids.

He's right about "the secret of our marriage." Being able to laugh together is key. But I think our marriage has more than one secret ingredient. :)


During these few days off, a luxurious time to just relax and hang out with each other, I try to dispel thoughts of work as soon as they occur, but there are a couple of memories that have cropped up, I think, because I've had our 12th anniversary on my mind (it's next week). They are memories of couples I've seen in the preop holding area before one member of the couple goes in for surgery.

Patients surely form impressions of us clinicians based on those fleeting moments in the holding area. Likewise, we get certain impressions or "vibes" about patients and their loved ones, some stronger than others.

One vibe I don't like to get is the vibe of The Spouse Who Just Doesn't Want to Be There. This is the spouse who sits there looking lost or indifferent while the patient is tearfully asking questions or crying outright or frozen in an anxious silence. No physical contact, no reassuring looks or touches, nothing. The Spouse may not be indifferent; he or she may simply be very private, or feel nervous, or not know how to show support. But I've definitely seen partners who just couldn't care less, too. Not often, but it's disturbing every time.

The opposite is striking in a more pleasant way, and can be quite moving, but The Visibly Loving Spouse can be as uncommon as The Spouse Who Just Doesn't Want to Be There. There are probably many more genuinely loving partners out there than are obvious to the passing observer, but I recall one in particular whose outward expression of support I'll never forget.

A young woman was in the holding area waiting to enter the O.R. for a mastectomy to treat breast cancer. She was young and beautiful. Her husband was with her, holding her hand. They were pleasant with us despite the stress of their situation, patient with our repetitive questions. I finished my preop ritual and told them it was time for me to bring the woman inside. Her husband gave her a kiss.

"I love you," she said to him.

"I am in love with you," he replied, looking long and hard into her eyes.

Then we took her away.

1 comment:

rlbates said...

Very nicely said T. I have noticed the same, but you managed to say it. Thanks