So. Things have been pretty fraught around the old homestead lately. Pretty tense. I’d say we’re living in an atmosphere of anticipation and dread in equal proportions.
You see Hubby had a bad fall last spring playing hockey. He hurt his shoulder very badly. And so, one trip to emergency, a misdiagnosis, several weeks of physiotherapy, a diagnostic ultrasound, a different diagnosis, an MRI, two more doctors (one a sports medicine doctor and one a surgeon who agreed to do the surgery but didn’t hold out much hope for success), one shoulder operation and five months later… we still don’t know if he will ever recover full use of his right arm and shoulder.
He finally had the surgery two weeks ago. And after a summer of frustrating limitations in what he can and cannot do, he’s facing six weeks of complete immobilization with his right arm in a sling worn 24/7, and twelve to eighteen months of rehab. Or so we’re told. Fingers are crossed. All twenty of them… his and mine. You see there’s a lot riding on this for Hubby. Hockey is out for sure. But there’s also golf, and fishing, and cross-country skiing, and canoeing. Especially the canoeing. It’s impossible to hoist a canoe and carry it through a portage when you can’t move your right arm above your waist. I know, I know. As many, many friends and family have already said to me… at least it’s not life threatening. No. But it definitely is life-style threatening. And when you are as active a person as my Hubby… that’s major. And when you are used to be very active and NOT used to being patient. Well.
The waiting ain’t easy. For either of us.
We waited two weeks to find out if the repair the surgeon hoped to do had even been done. That’s because Hubby had the surgery in the morning and I brought him home later that afternoon. He had no chance to speak to the doctor before they released him, just a follow-up appointment with the surgeon in two weeks. They simply wheeled him to the curb and helped him into my car. As she pushed the wheelchair back up the ramp, the nurse said, “Have a nice recovery.” “But…but…but…no instructions for me?” I stammered. Apparently all instructions were in a typed handout in the package Hubby was holding in his lap. Big help they were too… confusing in places and contradictory in others. The nurse’s handwritten notations about which drugs to take when did not match up with the names of the meds when I had the prescriptions filled. So glad I could call my pharmacist sister for clarification and help, there. He could start taking showers in four days, but how could he do that in a 24 hour sling? Etc. Etc. And I would have to change the dressing on the four inch incision in three days. Were they kidding? Me? Nurse Nervous Nelly. I have trouble taking a splinter out of someone’s finger. I’m so afraid I’m going to hurt the “patient” that I flap, and hyperventilate, and basically do NOT engender confidence in my nursing abilities.
But, we made it through the first few days. The pain was pretty bad, but Hubby had some pretty good drugs. And thanks to his cousin’s daughter, Chelsea, a surgical nurse, we had access to more info than just the “info package.” Especially about when to start the heavy duty pain meds. Thanks for that, Chels. And Hubby was managing pretty well with his left hand. Although eating soup was an exercise in patience… and humility. And then we came to dressing changing time. I thought I did pretty well. I managed to get the old dressing off. The sight of the incision was a bit of a shock. But I was able to secure the new dressing firmly enough so that it wouldn’t move, or fall off in bed. Okay… there were a few barked instructions from the increasingly impatient patient. But we did okay.
It was afterwards, when Hubby had gone for a nap, that the knot in my stomach just wouldn’t go away, and I knew I was being silly. It was a bandage, for god’s sake. Suck it up Burpee! So I made myself a calming cup of tea. And carried it to my desk to work on my blog post. And the toe of my flip-flop caught on the lip of the step up into the den. And I was moving quite quickly, so I launched myself horizontally into the room. And landed heavily, my ribs on the corner of a plastic file box, and my thigh on the metal stand it sits upon. I tried to catch myself, dropped the tea, and then just watched as a slow motion swath of brown liquid flew up the wall and across my desk. Ahhhh! Ouch! Ow…ow…ow…ow! By the time Hubby managed to disentangle himself from the duvet and rushed into the den, all the time shouting…”What? What? What did you do?” I was on my hands and knees, holding my ribs with one hand, sobbing. And trying to mop up the tea with a kleenex.
I did actually manage to finish my blog post that day. Applied several ice packs. Made a new cup of tea. It was the next few days which were more painful. Bruises blossomed on my ribs, thighs, and arms. An X-ray established that I had not broken any ribs. Just pulled or bruised my intercostal muscles. The cure? Ice. Painkillers. Not doing any abs work-outs. And avoiding hanging washing on the clothesline, as I discovered yesterday. Oh, and time.
So where does the laughing part come in? Stay with me here; the post I wrote that day was the one about my Make-Up Shake-Up. And reader Wendy in York commented that she liked a bold lip colour on others but when she wore it herself she felt like Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. I’ve seen Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, the aging silent screen star, in that 1950 movie. And so I knew exactly what she meant. And her line literally cracked me up. See below.
|Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard
And if you’ve never seen Sunset Boulevard, you must. But in the meantime check out the famous final scene of the film below. Poor disturbed Norma makes her final entrance for the cameras.
Hubby had his two week appointment with the surgeon the other day. We were holding our breath. And the news wasn’t all bad. They had managed to repair some of the damage. But they had to do some pretty invasive stuff, no arthroscopic surgery here. But we’d gathered that much from the size of the incision. The surgeon said that part of the damage had been repaired successfully. And that part of the attempted repair was tenuous, at best, that it might not hold and, if it didn’t, definitely could not be reattached. So we’re glad that they at least had been able to do something. Better than nothing. Hopefully the result will be better mobility than what he had going into the surgery. We won’t know for weeks yet. Doctors aren’t very good at making promises. Or giving odds.
In the meantime, we’re taking Doctor Burpee’s advice. Frequent and fulsome laughter. Hubby has been “ordered” to watch the CBC program “Just for Laughs” (which he loves), several times a week. Especially on nights when there has been extensive election coverage. Me. I’m watching one funny You Tube video each morning. Like my fav “I Love Lucy” episodes. Remember the one where she and Ethel get a job in a chocolate factory? That was a good one.