Purely gratuitous Petey picture in a post that has nothing to do with him. You're welcome.

Continued from Peace Out, Part 1:

We left off with me dragging Eric to the oral surgeon…

And that is how it came to pass that my husband – who finally accepted that he should worry and obey – ended up with a swollen face and jaw packed with bovine bone three hours later.  Thank God for the hyper-responsive Dr. Cooper-Newland.  The culprit for months of undisclosed pain and illness?  A hairline crack in his tooth that was too tight to appear on x-rays, but formed a perfect super highway for bacteria into his jaw tissue.

“Well?” I asked, as I bustled him back out to the car.

Through a mouthful of gauze, Eric conveyed in the strongest possible terms that he never wanted to hear his jaw bone scraped again.  (Why he chose to remain awake is a mystery to me.)  The doctor told him she felt optimistic that she had removed all the infected tissue, and that her topical antibiotic was strong enough to deal with what was left behind, although she also kept Eric on oral antibiotics.  He was by turns jubilant and chastened, relieved and grateful.

“I ahmrave ahrmto ahrmgo ahrmback,” he said.  Or tried to.

Translation: besides a normal follow-up about the infection and wound site, he has to get another round of bone grafts in January, a metal plate in April, and a new tooth installed next summer.  Worse things have happened to nice people, I know, but he was bummed.  Lots of distracting, work-draining, stressful doctors visits to come.  Plus the follow-up with his cardiologist, asap.

Eric’s stress had risen to its peak levels in the last two months.  His youngest daughter’s departure for college hit him harder than he’d expected.  The impact of the mystery illness – resulting in the day’s surgery – on his workouts had depressed him, especially on the heels of his stomach procedure and the ongoing pain management treatments/epidurals for his broken back (a story for another day).  His inability to ever fit all his desired activities into a day weighed on him more than usual.  And frankly, he felt like crap, and hadn’t dared to admit it.

Yet in the midst of all this noise was love.  Me.  His kids.  His parents.  Me.  :-)

When we married, Eric had said his greatest goal for our new life was peace.  Mind you, he had an overflowing extra large Samsonite rolling case full of additional goals that weighed against the possibility of him ever finding it, but what he longed for, now that he had love, was a strife-free zone.  A center.  A stillness.   A safe place to curl up by the fire, legs stretched out, head back, hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream on top in hand.  I had promised to give him that.  Yeah, me.  The one who is a bit, well, mercurial.

But life doesn’t allow for perfect peace.  You have to find your peace amidst the unceasing chaos of bills, illnesses, injuries, work, heartbreaks, and crises.

Eric had lost his peace.  He had just flat out lost it.  I had failed to “give” it to him, too.

Today was yet another in the latest long list of examples of peace escaping him.

And I understood.  I didn’t know how to fix it, just like I didn’t know for sure how to fix his tooth, or even how to make him stop running, but I was trying.  I wanted to figure it out, and I wanted to help him find that chimera, that life without turmoil.  Or at least find peace within it.

We got in the Suburban.  I had run out while he was in surgery and gathered up a few gifts on this theme, hoping they would be the electric paddles to shock his heart into accepting peace in the here and now.

Uh oh. The hat I bought him didn't fit him. Oh well....

Eric opened the gifts, and, maybe it was the drugs, maybe it was his jacked-up emotions, but tears rolled.  I helped him put the very manly leather necklace on, to nestle the tiny E, Peace, and P into his 13 chest hairs against his gigantic heart.  It hung out of sight under his shirt, warmed by his skin.  I’d waited six years to do this – to replace the gold chain he’d worn since childhood, but that I had hated because it was a reminder of the pasts we had agreed to leave behind.  He held the heavy distressed wooden block with the word “Peace,” on it, a visual reminder.  And he read aloud the words in the accompanying card, the one that anchored the two gifts:

Peace.  It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work.  It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.

I <3 this card more than I can express.  Eric, it seemed, did, too.


Now felt like the safest time to confess my subterfuge from the previous night, when I had stopped his run.  I did, and he groaned.

“I promise to use my powers only for good, never for evil,” I said.  “But I love you, and hear me loud and clear on this:  I won’t let you harm yourself.”

His nod was barely perceptible, but he did nod.

So, Eric has a long way to go to make it past this latest hiccup: an infection to clear, more bovine insertions to endure, a new tooth installation to weather.  An endless round of cow jokes from friends and family.  Bovine references in his wife’s writing, forevermore.  “Moo” is still funny, but may not be soon.

But no matter the crisis, here’s hoping that this creature who knows no pain, this self-sacrificing giver, this sensitive and creative soul, can remember to find his peace, to stop – JUST STOP – and listen to his body and inner voice from a place of sanctuary.  I can’t give him the peace he craves.  I can’t quiet all the noise.  I wanted to, but I can’t.

I can help him find it for himself, though.

And, God-willing, he can.


p.s.  Within 4 days of the surgery, Eric’s blood pressure had dropped to a healthy level.  Phew!

p.p.s. Now we can go back to worrying about Petey :-)

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25 Responses to Peace out. Part 2.

  1. Whew. I’m glad. Cause I sure have missed news about Petey.


    (I’m a kidder) I’m soooo glad Eric is on the right healing track and peace has been redefined and reclaimed in your lives. You two are an inspiration to all couples. I can’t wait for the next bulldozer story out in Nowheresville. When Eric’s better, ‘course.

    Now……….how’s that cute little Petey puppy dog?


    • Pamela says:

      I am so glad your priorities are in order, like mine. Petey ROCKS! He is enjoying a beef loin bone in his bed beside my bed. Whilst Eric toils away working late, which I am relieved he is well enough to do. And soon well enough to wield a chain saw and captain a bouncing bulldozer.
      Now, go get your tooth done, Terri…

  2. I can only imagine all the stories that have occurred in your house while Eric’s been healing his mouth. As always you guys make me laugh and I think that some of those hollywood producers out there should think about making a reality show about you guys. Maybe it can be called “The Adventures of Bubba Mon and Petey”.


  3. Including a purely gratuiitous new photo of…Petey.

  4. Geoff says:

    I have to say as well that I can only imagine all the stories that have occurred in your house while Eric’s been therapeutic his mouth. As usually you men make me laugh and I believe that some of those hollywood producers out there should believe about making a reality display about you men.

  5. Heidi M says:

    What a journey! I think a lot of us have a little bit of Eric in us– our own worst enemy with incredibly good intentions; how wonderful that you can be the voice of reason {and love} to help him find his personal center. Glad he’s on the mend!

    • Pamela says:

      Thanks Heidi. It’s easier to help someone else than to help one’s own self, I think, in this area, because it is so easy to let everything become big. We have a saying, “make it small,” which means make everything into the smallest possible issue. Unless it is a seriously tragic event that threatens or takes the life of us or a loved one, then, well, it was small. Because those are the only ones that really, really, really matter to us. If we have the center intact, then all is well with our world. That’s the theory anyway, and a lot of the time it works! At worst, it helps a whole lot, either to keep us at peace or move us back there faster. Cuz we’re all gonna lose our shit sometimes :)

  6. Tom says:

    Petey for President as far as I’m concerned!! I trust that dog, though I’ve never met him. Aaaaand, I have two dogs that will provide security detail for his presidency.

  7. Ally says:

    Okay, you guys, only if Cowboy gets to be Vice-President! LOL

    So glad things are heading the right direction. Wow – more grafts and a plate, too? Just goes to show how serious that kind of infection can really be. Now about that broken back… with all he does? Really? YIKES!

    • Pamela says:

      Cowboy would make a great VP! Layla could be Secretary of State. She is very diplomatic.

      Yes, it turns out that sometime as simple as a cracked tooth and resulting infection can be so serious, and even life-threatening. Ugh.

      I’ll tell the story of his broken back someday soon. Layla’s story will finally make the blog also. And boy does she have a story!

  8. —Glad Eric is okay. You are an awesome wife, Pamelot. :))

    And I loooooooooooooove Petey. Xx

    • Pamela says:

      Thanks :) I try. Sometimes I do all right.

      I can’t imagine life without Eric, and he is so reckless about EVERYTHING, so I’m pretty happy he’s all right too.

      AND I LOVE PETEY even tho as his eyelid opens it reveals that we now have a zombie dog. At least we won’t have to worry about him getting stolen — he’ll scare people off!
      But he is BEE-YOO-TEE-FULL to me.

  9. If you’re into cow jokes – don’t forget “chewing the cud” – LOL – my boys wouldn’t let that one by. That definition is so true – to find calm in the midst of the chaos – and these guys do make it a little tough to take care of them. I’m so glad that the blood pressure is down. Your story shows just how real love works in a marriage relationship – I want some of that hot chocolate, too! It’s about time for it! A cloud fell out of the sky out my house today when the temperature fell – and it made me want some!

  10. Sandy Webb says:

    I sure know how when things just keep happening you can get down. Eric is lucky to have you around to bring some peace back into his life.

    Enough of the mushy stuff let’s talk about Petey! I <3 Petey so much!!

    • Pamela says:

      Petey! Petey!

      I fear he is becoming quite the spoiled little angel. There’s nothing like a one-eyed cock-headed puppy face to make me say yes to anything. People food? Sure. Snuggle on the bed? Absolutely. Chew up a stick on the rug? Anything for you, my snookums :)

  11. Grace says:

    The cow jokes remind me of my favorite humorist, the late Lewis Grizzard, who made pig jokes about himself when he had surgery to replace a bad heart valve with a porcine one. Glad everyone in your house is okay and on the mend. And that stuff about peace? It’s right on.

  12. Eric Hutchins says:

    I am staring at the keys trying to write something worthy. Its very hard to make anyone understand just how grateful I am for you, Pamela.

    Even though I know how good things really are for us and how lucky I am, its easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of “stuff” and lose sight of what is important. Its seems like there were a lot of things conspiring lately to drag me away from center. From Peace. I am so grateful that you are there to smack some sense into me :) and get me going in the right direction again.

    Every time I read what you have wrote in the two parts of this blog it hits me so hard just how wonderful you are to me. THANK YOU

    Thank you to all the well wishers, here and on twitter and FB. Things are healing nicely and I feel a lot better. Yes cow jokes are OK. During the procedure the Doctor gave me a choice between cow bone or cadaver bone, I chose cow, after thinking of all of the people who would tell me “I see dead people” when I walked in a room. So MOOOOOOOO away.

    Unfortunately for the time being I am under huge deadline pressure at work but that will pass and life will be more peaceful again. And if I forget whats important I now have a necklace around my neck and a sign at work, to help remind me about my goals.
    1. To make Pamela smile, even just a little bit, every day.
    2. To find peace on our terms, and try to live there.

    Pamelot Rocks, she really does.

  13. Pamela says:

    You did not think I was so wonderful when I made you stop running :)
    But I am glad you see it now.
    You are a very loved person, Eric.
    I am grateful for YOU, and I am lucky we have us and I have you.

  14. Yes, isn’t it amazing how they see AFTER they’ve turned their laser eyes and distain on us for daring to suggest they can’t or shouldn’t or might not be able to do something! It took me a few years to get used to that and not take it personally (i.e., he is being manly man more than thinking I’m wrong). I know I am so glad to read the rest of this story and learn he is OK and going to be fine even tho there is still tunnel to walk thru before he gets to the light (no no, not THAT light). I love love love his comment up there. Get a room you guys! Immediately!

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