This has required a trip to California where husband Tom’s knee is waiting…all shiny two titanium pounds of it. We have spent the past week undergoing all the pre-op tests required to see if he’ll survive during the two hours of sawing and banging and chipping and hammering or whatever they do in the surgical workshop to accomplish the “out-with-the-old and in-with-the-new” procedure.
But how did we get to this point? Well…first off, he’s a man. And that oft-times means an injury of some kind…an injury that usually follows the loving wife/partner’s question of “Honey do you think you should be doing it that way?” That’s why all the red/black or yellow warning signs show a stick-figured man falling, tripping, being banged on the head, walking off something. You never see a skirt on these stick figures. Lots of times, serious injury involves power tools or a ladder. That’s why ladders come with rungs of disclaimers that stop short of warning “Do NOT climb on ladder!”
In Tom’s case, it was not a ladder. It was a door threshold. A threshold that he did not trip over, but instead rolled off of. Yes. He’s a handy guy and was staining the wood about one step-height (12 inches) above ground level…”one small step for man, one giant fall for mankind.” Acute pain can be a humbling experience for a normally strong and rugged man who’s suddenly reduced to a desperate need of assistance. The next thing I knew, I heard a plaintive cry for help and I rushed to the scene where he was on the ground grabbing his knee in anguish. Fortunately, he did not break it, but tore the meniscus of his already arthritic knee-bone and that was the start of the downward spiral to Titaniumville.
Now another independent study that I have conducted over 52 years of tending to the plethora of husband injuries is that these usually occur in the daylight hours. And when the caring wife/partner says at 11 a.m. or 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon, “Honey I think we should go to ER,” the husband/partner replies with frustration, “No, I’ll be fine.” This routine continues for the next 12 hours until, finally at 3:00 FRICKIN’ A.M., he (now in mortal agony) says, “We have to go to ER!” If I were going for my doctorate, that’s a thesis I might want to do: “Why the injured/sick male of the species only agrees to go to ER at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m.”
So, here we are on countdown…about one day away from the OR having bonded with the hospital and medical building parking attendants and the admitting nurses. All the nurses love Tom (what’s not to love)…they think he’s cute and funny (so far). We just finished our “Preparing You for Knee Replacement Surgery” seminar. Pain, of course, was the #1 topic. A PCA (Patient Controlled Analgesia) pump will be provided so that pain medication can be given through Tom’s IV for the first two days. The big rule in bright red letters is: “Family or friends should NEVER push the button!” (the trigger that shoots a dose of pain meds into his vein). Darn! I could have fun with that. A man in kneed can be a pain indeed.