Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Knee, Same Old Brain

For those of you who have been kind enough to inquire about the status of Mr. Pug and his knee surgery:

Surgery (last Thursday) went well. The surgeons used a nerve block that worked like a champ. No pain, no swelling. With a few glitches which simply constitute TMI and won't be described here, he was soon walking the halls with the physical therapist and the walker.

The original plan was that he would go to 3-5 days of rehab in the hospital, but the workers compensation folks, who had agreed to pay for that, suddenly remembered it wasn't important and that was out the window. So, here we are at home. And life is exactly as I knew it would be.

So, what are you complaining about, sister? (I'm not talking to myself--I'm responding to my friend who told me to "put on your big girl panties" and suck it up. She thinks I'm whining because I'm having to nurse a whiny little old fart. Nope! Not even!)

You don’t understand—my problem isn’t that Mr. Pug is whiny or in unbelievable pain or requiring me to wait on him hand and foot. No, thank you, he’s doing very well.

In fact, my problem is that he’s so active that I’m scared to death that he’ll (a) trip over a dog and fall down the stairs—yes, he’s practically running up the stairs, down is a little slower, (b) throw a clot because he’s walking around without his brace or his “clot-preventing” stocking, (c) fall and pop his stitches because he’s not using a walker or a cane—just wandering around, 6 days after surgery, or (d) burn himself cooking dinner because, well, because he can. (So far he hasn't ventured to the grill in the back yard or gotten up on the ladder to clean out the gutters, but I'm sure that will be today's contest.)

He’s so busy proving he’s the biggest, baddest bear in the forest that he’s driving me nuts. “Must take care of woman—especially that woman who’s clearly incompetent to take care of herself.” And "must not ask for pain medicine--that would show weakness. Must get it myself, even if I groan all the way to the prescription bottle."

So, we get home on Monday night, about 6 pm. (Yes, they did say to come at noon to pick him up. Yes, they did say it would take "a little while" to get the discharge coordinated. Yes, he did decide there was no point in ordering lunch since we'd be on our way soon. Yes, the guard downstairs did tell me to park my car in the "30-minute pick up and delivery of patients area--we will tow your car at 31 minutes." (I'm not that stupid, thank you!)

Anyway, we stop for the obligatory McDonald’s snack and then he, the man who didn’t eat even one complete meal in the hospital, comes home and wolfs down spaghetti and meat sauce and garlic bread. I finally convince him to go to bed, with only one dog. Then about 11:30 I hear a noise downstairs—I race down and find him (and the dog) standing with the walker in the kitchen fixing a big bowl of ice cream. He and dog eat ice cream. Get him back to bed, with the dog (Lucy, if it matters).

1:30 AM – noise downstairs. I run back down the stairs to find him, standing without his walker, letting dog out onto the back porch. Back to bed, with dog. No brace, no stocking—they were irritating him. I’d like to irritate him!

7:00 AM—go to kitchen. Find man and dog in chair waiting for me to bring coffee and paper. Fix him his coffee. Resist impulse to throw coffee on him. Why waste good coffee?

9:00 AM—watch him sprint upstairs. No walker, no cane, no stocking, no brace, no nothing.

11:00 AM—leave, in high dudgeon, swearing never to return. Cell phone not working—I remind him to call 911 if he falls or if the “big one” strikes. I rehearse what I will say to police when they tell me where to pick up his body. "I just went out to get more pain medicine for him," I will say. "Poor guy," I will say. "I'm sure it was quick, that he felt no pain," I will say.

2:00 PM—I call. He’s napping with dogs. “I’m fine, thank you. Have fun shopping.” Hang up cell phone, throw across car.

4:00 PM—I return. He’s fine. Has eaten the lunch I left out for him. Has not started cooking dinner because he’s afraid it would make me mad. (No s&*t, Sherlock!) In the meantime, he’s moved back upstairs permanently, has his special pillow set up (thank you, Whit!), and is settled in there.

Fast forward to today—the visiting nurse is coming. He slept upstairs last night with all four dogs, came downstairs twice with them (I know because I slept on the couch to make sure he’s okay). He’s had his coffee and read the paper—he didn’t go to the street to get it when he got up because “I was afraid it would set you off again.” Good thinking, sport. He’s showering now, just told me to “come downstairs with a scraper if you hear a scream.” Whatever!

Now, for those of you who think I'm over-reacting. Yes, I'm happy that he's so resilient. Yes, I'm thrilled that he thinks he's the Bionic Man. Yes, yes, yes.

What you don't understand is that, in almost 25 years with this man, I've seen him do this before. But, of course, he was 25 years younger. (I was 35 years younger--that's one of the prerogatives of being a woman.)

So I know that the end result will be that he will heal very quickly, he'll stop doing his exercises early because he's so strong and invincible, and, finally, he'll go back to work long before he's actually ready. Then I'll start hearing how the surgeon must have screwed something up, because he's got pain in his knee. Within a year we'll be doing the other knee, which will have gone bad trying to overcompensate for this one.

He's (splutter, curse, splutter) fine. Today. As for me, I'm a nervous wreck--I haven't had a full night's sleep in 7 days and I'm just dreading the day he thinks he can drive--probably tomorrow.
I'm not a nurse--I'm a prison guard. An inept prison guard, inadequate to the job.

Okay, he's returned from the shower, struggling for breath but clean and dressed. I told him I was blogging about him and he said, "you can just tell them I'm a stubborn, ill-willed, nasty old man." Done!



Jane said...

Okay. So I am glad he is doing so well. But when I got to 11am, I pulled a muscle in my neck from throwing my head back and laughing so loud that my husband came in once again and said, "are you ready your friend's blog again?."

Anonymous said...

Okay. I take back everything I said about your big girl panties. You have my permission to drive a wooden stake through his heart!