Friday, June 14, 2013

A More Patient Patient

Back when Husband and I were young and newly wed and starry-eyed just to be in each other's presence, my beloved ran every morning before work. I'd hear the door to our little house in the Big City close, and then he would stretch out next to the garbage cans before setting off on his route.

Except for one morning, when the I heard the door close, then a thud, then the sound of something being dragged across the porch. The dragging sound turned out to be Husband pulling his own body across the porch. He was not dead, but for the next few days he was not sure that this might not have been a better alternative: As he bent to stretch his notoriously tight back muscles had rebelled and the ensuing spasm pain felled him as instantly as if he'd been clubbed over the head.

This was the first time I had the opportunity to prove what a wonderful nurse I could be so I immediately called my boss and told her I would be unavailable to proofread the college catalog that day, because my Husband needed me. I lovingly supported my poor sweetie as he limped into the house and helped him change out of his running clothes and into a comfy velour (it was the early '80s) sweatsuit. Then I called the doctor, drove to the pharmacist for muscle relaxants, pulled out the sofa bed so Husband could be near me as he slept, and made sure he had the television remote control in case he woke up and was bored.

A few hours later the pain medication had kicked in enough that I took my proofreading to the back bedroom so I could work as Husband slept. It was then that I heard a pathetic voice from the living room.

"Honey? Honey? Are you there?"

"Yes, Husband, I'm here!"

"Could you bring me a mirror, please?" Husband's confident baritone had been reduced to a sad whisper. But what might he need with a mirror? Had he injured something when he fell on the porch? Was there maybe a bone sticking out?

I grabbed a hand mirror and rushed for the living room, where I found Husband sitting up in his convalescent couch.

He took the mirror, held it at an angle juuuuust so, and announced "Look! I can bounce the remote signal off all four walls and still get the television to go on!"

I looked at him for a long, silent moment. Then I got in the car and went back to my office.

I tell that story to explain why I had been anticipating Husband's surgery yesterday with more than a little apprehension. In normal times he's the most stoic person I know--those notoriously tight back muscles I mentioned? They're the pits, and I don't even notice the bad days until I see that the tips of his ears have gone white. But as a patient? Well, let's just say it's a good thing I was the designated birther in the family or Boy#1 would have been an only child.

The surgery was not completely unexpected (many, I would venture to say most) manly men who lift heavy objects have it at some point in their lives, especially if their notoriously tight back muscles sometimes interfere with proper lifting techniques. But in the weeks leading up to the scheduled operaiton I did not look forward to being the home health aide to this recuperating man.

Today, 24 hours later, I am pleased to announce that all went well, and that Husband is being about the best patient I could imagine. No excessive pain, no whining, and no requests for hand mirrors make for a pretty boring blog post, but I'm not complaining.

Also, thank you, Percocet.


  1. 1) I love Percocet. I send it a valentine every year.

    2. Your husband is cute!

    1. Well, of course he is, Swistle, but don't tell him that. He thinks I married him for his quick wit and intelligence.