“See you after surgery”

4:30 a.m.  Telephone alarm sings us awake at the Brentwood Motel in Marquette.  We sigh.  It’s been a long night of tossing and turning–for both of us.  Barry has moved from the bed to the couch and back to the bed, attempting to find relief for his weary and aching knees.  Kathy has tossed from back to stomach to side to back to stomach to side, again and again and again.

No sleep for the hospital-bound.

We drive through blinking red and yellow lights toward the hospital.  The nurses rose even earlier than we; they have been working their shift since 5 a.m.  Barry is the third surgery patient; the first with Dr. Matt Colligan this morning.

Later in pre-op they will joke as Barry names him “Dr. Mutti”, the well-known Yooper Finnish name for Matt.  He’s been waiting to do that for weeks.

It’s the left knee this time.  Please do not operate on the right knee again.  But, please, please, may the knee recuperate easier and faster from the arthroscopic surgery this time. 

He limps into the hospital, walking oh-so-slowly.  I crawl beside him.  Please, can I push you in a wheelchair, Barry?  No?  OK, let’s try to make it to your 5:30 appointment in time.

We crawl down the long OR corridor.  Green-suited nurses point out his pre-surgery room.  They’ll return in ten minutes to take his vitals and question him endlessly, “Do we have your name right?  Birthdate?  Left knee?”

They question about his atrial fibrillation.  It’s OK, he says.  They listen to his irregular heartbeat.  They give him one of those fashionable hospital gowns to wear, and would you like footies?  He agreed to the green paper footies, but later shook his head at them.  Silly footies.  But they keep the toes warm.

A “transport” fella arrives to wheel him toward surgery.  He takes the bed upon which our patient lies, steering it to the large elevator.  His name is Duane.  He points out the waiting room on the first floor.  That’s where we family members wait. 

I remember to kiss him goodbye this time.  See you after surgery.  Sleep well.

(Lucky him.  He gets to sleep for a little while.  He questions if it’s the same quality of sleep.  Probably not.)

Instead of sitting nicely in the waiting room–which is empty at 6:30 a.m.–I dash toward the coffee shop.  Ahhh….a nice Starbucks coffee dolloped with hazelnut cream.  A sesame bagel lathered with strawberry cream cheese, what a treat!, lingers in the chambers of my purse.

That delicious book–Once Upon A River by Bonnie Jo Campbell–already has me hooked like a silver trout glinting in a Michigan river.  Yet, go figure, here I sit writing a blog.  Sans photos, readers, as the camera waits back in the parking garage.

It’s time to go read for a while again.  The main character doesn’t talk very much.  I am fascinated by her.  Maybe someday I will quit talking as much, too.

The doctor will come down to the waiting room in an hour or two, and he’ll show me photos of knees.  I will pretend I know what he’s talking about, trying to memorize every word to later relate to our patient.

It’s almost light now.  See you after surgery, dear readers, after we’ve tucked the patient into the back seat of the car with fluffy red pillows to elevate the knee.  After we’ve driven north and west almost two hours back toward home.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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18 Responses to “See you after surgery”

  1. Wishing Barry the best recovery…

  2. Reggie says:

    On the edge of my seat here… wishing and praying that all will be will with your dearest Barry.

  3. Susan Derozier says:

    Sending an extra prayer out to you both this morning. (have been doing so at night since we got your news) I remember so well what you describe in him moving from place to place to place. Not a happy place! Be sure to pick up some MiriLax on the way home to counter problems from the pain meds after. (a lesson learned too late) And now we hold a happy thought for the other knee to improve! Hugs!

  4. Best of recovery to Barry. thanks for sharing his story this morning.
    The footies are pretty bad.

    Wonder if there is a patient satisfaction survey somewhere.

    Smile…..

  5. jeffstroud says:

    Great post, beautifully conveyed.

    Sending healing and rest to both of you! ((( )))

  6. susan says:

    Sending healing and hugs!
    SuZen

  7. Colleen says:

    Much love and many hugs. You are in our thoughts and prayers today. Knowing all will be well….as it will be.

    Warm Thanksgiving wishes to both of you!

  8. Heather says:

    My thoughts and hopes are with you. May you both enjoy Thanksgiving, and have a healthy, quick-to-recover knee to add to the list of things to be thankful for.

  9. Brenda Hardie says:

    I hope surgery has gone well and Barry is recovering with no complications this time. Prayers of healing and love are being sent up for both of you on this day before Thanksgiving. Drive safely going home and get yourselves all tucked in for a nice long rest tonight. ♥

  10. DAwn says:

    Thought of Barry today…hoping things went well and he’s napping at home. And now I will add my hopes that you both get good sleep tonight.

  11. HolEssence says:

    You guys are oh-so-zipped in the pod!

  12. Martha Bergin says:

    Hi Kathy, sending you {{{{{{HUGS}}}}}}, respect, dreams, prayers, optimistic thoughts!

  13. I hope it all went well! Wishing Barry a quick and relatively painless recovery.
    (Btw. “Mutti” is the German word for mommy)

  14. john says:

    Ok, this is Barry now, not Kathy; we need some macho talk here, not all this warm and fluffy stuff. Barry, you know what you need when you get out of the hospital … what did the coach always say? “Rub some dirt on it, Barry”, “Walk it out, don’t let it stiffen up”. “No pain, no gain; know pain, know gain”. “Feel the burn”, “C’mon man, suck it up and get back in the game”. “Cowboy up champ”. “Pound your chest and roar like a wild man”

    Now that we have that out of the way, make sure you have a couple of pillows underneath, Keep it elevated. God made pain killers to be used not looked at. Don’t push it too early and make it worse. Last, but not least, listen to Kathy when she says “just tell me if you need anything”. You owe it to your life partner to make sure she feels useful; it will make her feel better to be at your beck and call. This is what he meant when that guy said, “… in sickness and in health …”

  15. Kathy says:

    Thank you all for your kind comments & best wishes for Barry’s recovery. It was so helpful for me to be able to sit down in the waiting room and write a blog yesterday. I love putting thoughts into words, as you all know. We left the hospital before 9 a.m.–he was “fast-tracked” to get out early. We were home by 11 a.m. and he’s doing pretty well. His left knee, unfortunately, was not as good as the right knee. The doctor told me it was “bone on bone”. The next option will be some shots to help lubricate the knees. One of these days it will artificial knees, we’re pretty sure. Again, thanks for your comments and thoughts. (And, John, your comment was hysterical! We both got a chuckle out of it.)

  16. I’m finally catching up with some posts, and just getting to this one. I’m glad everything went well, and keeping my fingers crossed for both of you that future treatments help (before the knee replacement)!!

  17. Sybil says:

    Kathy, I am glad that writing this blog post was a comfort to you. It’s an amazing thing this blog community isn’t it ? All the best to you and Barry.

  18. Kathy says:

    Thanks again, everyone! It feels like it’s been a month since last Wednesday. How time flies when you’re having fun…**smile**

Although I don't reply to every comment on every blog, I do read all comments with mesmerized interest and try to return the favor by visiting YOUR blog or at least sending you heartfelt well wishes.

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