Obligatory goofy selfie prior to surgery…a Gainey tradition.
We sort of collectively gasped as we counted up the surgeries that Dan and I have had since we became a couple over fourteen years ago while Dan lay in the hospital bed awaiting stem cell replacement/ arthroscopic knee surgery; two ankles, two knees, two shoulders, a nerve block, and a hysterectomy (that one was mine). I assure you that we are not trying to go for any sort of couples surgical Guinness record or anything, we just have lived hard and are a bit accident prone, I suppose.
The nurses all know us in what we call ‘The Gainey Wing’ of UAB Highlands, and we always spend a few minutes catching up. They no longer show any surprise when they see us, but just ask how our animals are doing. Dan does his best to make them laugh as he always does, this time threatening to bust out in his hospital gown to go down to the taco truck in the parking lot to snag a burrito. To be honest, he may not have been kidding- it was 2:30pm, and the poor guy hadn’t been allowed to eat all day. As for me, I stress-ate three giant macademia nut cookies from the hospital coffee shop in place of lunch while they were prepping Dan for surgery. I didn’t tell him.
Dan had been told he was first on the docket, but ended up being last, not being wheeled into surgery until after 4:30. I spent a lot of time in the waiting room…always an experience in any hospital, but possibly more so here in the city. I was privy to conversations I wish that I had never heard, such as that overly detailed one about a cat having constipation and the resulting treatment. Oh, and the one about Cousin Loraine whose boyfriend was in the county pokey. Apparently Cousin Loraine was on her fifth husband, and the decision was made that she didn’t have very good taste in men. A woman got locked in the bathroom (she couldn’t figure out the locking system), which provided a bit of excitement. A man sitting near me used his time to try every single ringtone on his phone. I almost had to join Cousin Loraine’s husband in the pokey after that experience. Thankfully, I had a sugar crash from the macademia nut cookies and lost my will to stuff the man’s phone in a place it really didn’t need to be.
Finally, finally, the surgeon called me in to say that Dan’s surgery had gone well and he would be ready to go home in a little over an hour. There were four of us left in what had been a jam-packed waiting room. It felt sort of like an episode of ‘Survivor’, and we all began eyeing each other, wondering who would truly make it off the island. I felt a little giddy…we had been there over six and a half hours, and soon I’d be driving my groggy husband to Chez Gainey, where I would attempt to naviate he, his heavily bandaged knee, and his crutches on the wet and slippery stairs up to the sunporch- all while making sure that Shiva didn’t escape and Sophie didn’t get underfoot in her excitement to see us after almost seven hours. We made it after what I’m sure looked like a Three Stooges routine (let’s just say that the crutches were the third Stooge for all intents and purposes).
I got Dan settled on the couch with dire threats if he attempted to get up before I got back, fed the dog, and raced to Walgreen’s in the evening rush hour traffic to get Dan’s pain medication, then on to the grocery store to get his promised hot plate from the deli. He gave up on the traditional post-surgery Sonic chocolate shake, saying it was just too late- the thrill was gone. I have no doubt my mother was shaking her head up in Heaven at the missed opportunity. I had to agree. I did have to laugh at my husband’s post-morphine examination of his medicine bottle, “Take by mouth? Seriously? How else are you supposed to take it?” Don’t ask, Honey…just don’t ask.
I finally got to bed to try to rest up for what would be another really long day that would start early, waking up at 2am to the sound that makes me move faster than a speeding bullet; my dog preparing to vomit on the bed next to me. I managed somehow to get her onto the rug by the bed before she sent her dinner back to the proverbial kitchen. After I got her resettled, I went downstairs to check on the patient, finding him happily playing on his computer. I found myself wishing I’d had a shot of that medication that made him so chipper at 2am. I wasn’t feeling it. Sleep was illusive as I lay there wondering if Sophie was going to hurl again. Thankfully she did not.
All in all, just another day, another surgery for the Gaineys, though we sure are hoping that’s it for a while. It’s so romantic that we can share the same crutches, but I think I’d rather go out for a nice dinner or something along those lines. No matter what, we’ll try to find the fun in whatever comes our way. All I know is that Mr. MacKenzie is worth it…but he sure as heck better stay off those damn ladders.
Taken pre-surgery. If you see this man on top of my house, please contact the authorities immediately.
**Mr. MacKenzie is my husband’s home repair/ladder climbing alter-ego. 🙂