Tag Archives: surgery

Medicine, Mirth and Marriage Vows


My husband had major surgery last week. You know how I know it was major? Because minor surgery is any surgery performed on someone other than you or your loved one. Truly, though, a spinal fusion is major surgery.

In these days of healthcare reform, a five day/four night stay in the hospital is not common. However, if they had discharged us one day sooner I might have staged a revolt. And yet, I’ve never wanted to leave a place more.

hospital sunrise.JPGThe room was spacious and contemporary; the view was beautiful. We watched the sunrise every morning. There was a flat screen television with cable and meals were delivered by room service (for the patient, anyway).

But hospitals are, after all, institutions. Things tend to happen at a snail’s pace and by day three it feels like Groundhog Day. I stayed with my hubby 24/7 because he is my life and I was not about to trust complete strangers with taking care of him after surgery.

I think he appreciated that I was there to help him with things like using the bathroom, but he may have had second thoughts the night that as I was standing behind him holding his gown up, I dropped it. Two people, weary and one under the influence of narcotic pain medication, laughing hysterically over pee. And let me tell you, that announcement on flights about placing your own oxygen mask before assisting others? Applies to assisting with bathroom needs in the middle of the night. There should have been a sign on the door; perhaps I would have avoided falling into a half giggling/half crying heap in a puddle of my own urine.


Roomies making the best of it

The best part of “rooming in’ is middle of the night visits from nurses for medication and vitals. It was sweet when they mentioned that we are so in love and remarked about how tenderly we spoke to each other. They see things, apparently.



Little did they know, I was right on the edge several times. Last year, we chose to “divorce” cable and I’ve been missing one of my favorites, HGTV. I was very excited when I realized that the hospital cable stations included my channel. After the first day, every time Mike was taking a rest, he would say, “Watch anything you like, but not HGTV.”

Seriously? I knew he was about to fall into a drug-induced semi-coma in two minutes. I cried out from my anguished soul and dug deep in the vault of forty-three years of commitment for the strength to love him in spite of this decree. As it turns out, in a drug-induced coma you hear a lot; as he “slept” he was very involved in the renovation projects and he was totally stressed out. Only my sweet hubby could be stressed while under the influence of narcotics and muscle relaxers!

Hospitals are lonely. They are noisy and busy places, but behind the door of a patient


This is hospital food – have mercy.

room time drags. Visitors are awesome, especially when they come bearing food and drinks from “outside”. Please, if you are going to visit – for the love – stop by Starbucks or Panera and pick up a treat! Otherwise, your presence will simply be tolerated. My daughter brought me her leftovers from the Cheesecake Factory and a huge Starbucks mocha. I kissed her. I probably would have anyway, but I was sleep deprived and literally had been scavenging from the leftovers on my hubby’s tray. I might not have recognized her, but black beans and tacos smelled like love.



The place was a labyrinth. The few times I ventured from the room in search of coffee and snacks I was tempted to drop bread crumbs. Somehow, though, I found the gift shop.

When my oldest daughter was in high school, after a weekend that will prevent me from ever being nominated for Mother of the Year (that’s a story for another day), she was hospitalized at a small local hospital. A friend visited and brought a gift that was obviously from the gift shop in the lobby. A new family joke was born…just stop in the gift shop and by a box of tissues or chap stick. No thought required. Yes, we are classy like that.

Let me just say, hospital gift shops have changed. There were cases filled with fancy chocolates and pastries that looked nothing like the sugar free Jello that I managed to add to my hubby’s tray without pushing him over the carb count for the meal. As I passed into the Brighton purses and jewelry I knew this was a place that I needed to escape in my current vulnerable state. Fortunately, my compulsion to remain at his side overpowered the temptation to linger over the Vera Bradley display marked 25% off.

We are home now. Managing pain meds and praying for poop have kept us humble  but so far, but we are still laughing and can’t believe that we’ve been doing this for almost forty-four years. If you have to stay a few nights in the hospital, take your best friend and your sense of humor.

A Matter of Focus


It’s almost time.  I’m already having the dream where I’m wandering around trying to decide what to pack and everyone is waiting for me. It’s the one where I’m also standing, undressed, in front of my closet, paralyzed.  Nothing looks like my clothes and I just stare. It’s as if I’m glued to the floor.

Hubby is going to have surgery soon. It’s a couple of weeks out.  I can’t wait for it.  I’m terrified of it. I’m making lists for my lists.  I’ve read everything they’ve sent and everything I can find on the internet (don’t do that!). I’ve also read most of it to him.  Because, you know…men.

The house is being made ready for convalescence. I’ve cleaned the fridge, because you know…you never know. The windows are clean, because if I were laid up the dirty windows would bother me.  I bought thank you cards, because people are going to visit and bring food.

Valentines are ready to mail. The oven is clean, because…I don’t know!

The hospital checklist is detailed.  If you forget to take the MRI the surgery will be cancelled.  CANCELLED, people!  I can’t do this again.  The surgery cannot be cancelled. Therefore, the MRI is in the folder that is in the bag that is being made ready.

The truth is, controlling things is sort of my thing.  Order makes me happy and knowing exactly what to expect makes me really happy.  When I travel on business, I spend lots of time on Google Earth.  I look at the street view from the front of my hotel. I research restaurants, shopping malls, drug stores in near proximity.  I love familiarity.

To say that I’m anxious about this might be a bit understated. They are going to cut his back open and expose his spine, friends.  I’ve seen pictures (note remarks above warning about internet research).  The surgeon has done thousands of these procedures and I’m sure it’s just another day at the office for him, but this is my sweetheart. It’s not just another tick mark in a long line of one after another. It’s my love.

Be still my trembling heart. I know.  Over and over I remind myself that God has him. He has us. And He will be with us through the storm.

cameraI have a really nice new camera.  I want to do some cool shots and every single time it focuses on the object in the foreground.  I’ve got to spend some time with the owner’s manual to learn how to switch from auto focus.

The truth is, that’s the problem with this surgery. On auto focus, fear and anxiety are in the foreground of every shot.

It’s time to be finished with house work and packing. The lists we’ll be making these next two weeks are of gratitude and confidence. It’s time to celebrate healing and look forward to precious opportunities to be a blessing in this journey.

Focus, Lorraine, focus.  It’s about to get real up in here.

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
Isaiah 26:3