I wasn’t awake for all the scary parts of my injury, but everyone I loved was. When I finally came to, I could see the fear and terror still in their eyes, even after the worst had passed. I could see it in the eyes of my poor mom and dad, who sat vigil at my bedside every day after surgery, praying for me to wake up. I could see it in the faces of my brother and sister, who did likewise. I could see it in the faces of my friends and of my co-workers, who quite literally saved my life and were then informed that I would likely be hospitalized for months before I could walk out into the light of day. Not a single month, as it turned out to be. Months.
And, of course, I could see it in the eyes of my wife, who was informed of my situation the night of my collapse when local authorities, the only people near us that Megan could reach at that hour, came to our house outside D.C. in the middle of the night, knocked on the door, and told her that they were there to alert “next of kin” that one Drew Magary was in critical condition 238 miles away. Now, if the cops showed up at your door and told you that, would you think your loved one was still alive? You would not. Would you think they had been stripped naked and murdered in a forest somewhere? You would.
Not only did my wife have to deal with my sudden and terrifying predicament by relocating the entire family to New York for a month, but she also had to assume all the parenting duties (my youngest son, naturally, came down with strep throat immediately) AND she had to serve as my de facto advocate while I was comatose: answering my phone, dealing with employers and doctors and insurers and workers comp boards on my behalf, handling fucking Christmas alone, and planning for all contingencies should I live or die.
I wasn’t awake for any of that. But she was, and she and my family are all that matter.
My parents dutifully visited every day. They would stay for hours, bringing food and walking me around the ward on occasion just to give me a change of scenery. I am certain that, clandestinely, they eventually came to relish visiting Unconscious Quiet Drew more than the pissy loudmouth who sprang back to life. I don’t blame them, even though I was profoundly grateful for the time I had with them, and for all the outstanding mom and dad takes they serenaded me with.
There’s a lot of talk about different kinds of marriage penalties in the tax code (when being legally married puts you at a disadvantage relative to...