I’m writing from my hubby’s hospital room, where we’re “camping” for a few days. He is in possession of a brand new knee as of yesterday (lucky 13th), and we’re learning that one size doesn’t “fit all.” The grippy-socks they provide for patients only fit over the ends of his size-17 flippers, so he’s reclining right now with the generic set of socks pulled over the toe-ends of his feet like an impish pair of sock puppets.
The knee itself was pulled from the “stockpile” of extra sizes; my Hawai’ian Guy’s bones are so big they needed to install an Extra-Large Knee. (We’re grateful to learn that they evidently keep extra sizes on hand.) The doc told me afterward that he’d never installed such a large knee before. It was a second “first” for this doctor, who–despite his presumably extensive experience with used-up knees–told us on first viewing Keoni’s x-ray that his was the worst knee he’d seen still in a person’s body.
We did have to disappoint our 10-year-old, Christian, who wanted to bring “the old knee” to school for show-and-tell, as the hospital is required to dispose of the used body parts after surgery. Sorry, Son.
I’m a little on the side of sleep-deprived, so rather than attempting a single coherent piece, I’m just going to share a few observations here before I go back to what I’m supposed to be writing for tomorrow’s deadline…
“My Idea of Camping is When Room Service is Late.”
My mother had that slogan on a Tshirt once (funny but false–she’s a Girl Scout and a skilled woods-woman who taught me plenty). We’re referring to this as our “camping trip” because it’s definitely a departure from the comforts of home–but truthfully, the menu is decent, the “park rangers” are super-friendly, and (somewhat to the surprise of the nursing staff) we can snuggle quite comfortably together in the hospital bed… though of course there are ongoing interruptions all night as the dutiful rangers show up at regular intervals to wrangle the wildlife into a state of wakefulness and get blood-pressure readings from the arm which was wrapped around my blissfully (but briefly) sleeping self. (See “sleep-deprived” above…)
“Chicks dig scars.”
That’s what Keoni always tells our fifteen-year-old football player when he comes home with his latest round of bumps, bruises, and gashes from football practice. Time to test the theory on himself now: that’s a heck of a leg-zipper!
Yeah, I dig it.
My “Office” Environment Just Got More Distracting.
Lucky for me, my job can go with me wherever I go! The hospital room has wireless internet, and I’ve got my daily freelance deadlines as always–no sweat, right?
I was sure I’d left myself plenty of writing-time to meet today’s noon deadline, and couldn’t figure out why it was coming along so slowly. After all, I’d only paused for a few moments for the physical therapy session. And another few moments to meet with the discharge planner. And another few moments for the pain-management consultation. And another few moments for the… Okay, okay, I clearly need to budget more time to get anything finished here. Tomorrow’s assignment had better get tackled tonight so I’m not sweating deadline again. (See how resolutely I’m following through with that plan? Ahem. No, this blog is not part of tomorrow’s deadline…)
Call me Coach!
I’m ready for my whistle and clipboard! I’m Keoni’s designated “rehabilitation coach,” so the dynamic duo of K&K has been stirring up mirth and merriment in the group physical therapy classes. Happily, it’s a cheerful group of people who seem universally pleased by the prospects of their new joints, and open to a little humor. Even ours.
When we got to the section of self-dressing (pulling hospital scrubs on over their own clothes for practice), the folks who don’t have in-home help or coaches got “reachers,” or extendable sticks with maneuverable grabbing-fingers at the ends, to help them with things like socks and pants that have to be applied to one’s person beyond the reach of one’s arms… Keoni looked wickedly interested in the “Nifty Nabber,” but I wouldn’t let him have one because he wouldn’t promise not to use it for grabbing ME. I heckled him for a strip-tease when the group got to the self-UN-dressing segment, and the whole row of little-old-ladies (in various stages of “undress” themselves) were snorting in a most unladylike fashion as we all got the giggles at the new challenges presented by those basic items like socks and pants.
One of my coach-duties is the administration of injections to prevent blood clots and pulmonary embolisms, so I got my training today. Sheesh, what a production! I had to watch a ten-minute “procedural video” to prepare me for the complexities of… a three-second stomach-stab action. Okay, okay, got it already.
Keoni has been in so much pain for so long, and he’s been walking with the stooped-over bearing of a much older man. He jokes with the younger kids that he’s so old he’s not their step-father; he’s their stumble-father. Today’s field trip down the hospital hall, with the shepherding help of the physical therapist and the aid of a walker, was honestly not any slower than his pre-surgery pace. But I’m joyfully noting that he has his own inches back. He’s walking tall again, and at least the pain he’s experiencing now is attached to a solution.
Random Other Notes…
…Watching from our ninth-floor window, I have to observe that Idaho drivers have NO idea what to do with a traffic Roundabout. Every entrance to the hospital-grounds includes a diagram explaining the “device” to drivers, but there’s a state of observable confusion going on below our window all day long.
…A.A. coffee beats hospital coffee, no contest. Though I was glad to have coffee when I peeled myself out of the hospital bed this morning to tackle my writing assignments. It’s not bad if I remind myself to think of it as “camping coffee.”
…Keoni really does prefer being poked by needles with ink in them, but for the necessary evils of IVs and injections, the nursing staff has been very considerate in targeting un-inked areas of his arms.
…Suzy-cat is no doubt very put out with us. We left plenty of water and kibble out for her, and our teenager (who’s staying with friends for a few days) promised to stop by for an attention-session, but I have no doubt we’ll hear about this when we arrive home. The electronic compression-pads on Keoni’s calves periodically inflate with a little electronic vibration, and when he was still groggy from the anesthetic, he thought it was Suzy cuddling up against his legs. Now we’re referring to the compression pump as the “ghost cat.”
…Amidst all the electronic equipment in this hospital room, there’s one strange device… What’s it called again? Right, a TV. We don’t have any channels at home (haven’t watched any TV at all in the last three years, except in rehab or jail) so this device is quite the novelty for us. Keoni, of course, has found his own version of “porn”–the Food Network! He’s jotting down recipe-ideas, so I have no doubt his “therapy” is going to include a quick return to the kitchen.
But I already knew that about him–I have a stool set up and waiting for him in our kitchen, so whenever they release us from Knee-Camp, we’ll pack up our little post-surgery slumber party and return to the comforts of our own bed and our cat and our kitchen. I’m already looking forward to some new recipes from my newly-tall kooky cook.