OK… I’m up in the middle of the night. I was sound asleep and my three year old son (who had apparently climbed in to mommy & daddy’s bed sometime prior to this) all the sudden sat up with a sigh or a cough or a something and leaned against me… against my left side where my surgery was. I was INSTANTLY AWAKE!
And couldn’t get back to sleep.
Of the two weeks I’ve been home from the hospital though, I have to admit that this is the first time Josh and I have ‘collided.’
While I was in the hospital, his sisters, his mom, and Gay’s mom, Sherry, all talked about how Daddy was sick and had “a lot of boo-boos.” So when he saw me in the hospital bed, it seemed to click… even though all he could see then was bandages.
When I got home five days later, the first thing we did was raise up Daddy’s shirt and show him the boo-boos (with bandages off by that point… just staples on four separate incision sites).
Understand, Josh still crawls into our bed in the middle of the night every so often, and as long as he starts in his own bed, we haven’t made a big deal of it… lots of transitions, moves, first time with his own room, etc. So, in anticipation of that possibility, Gay bought me one of those giant human size bed pillows to put on my left side… as a safety buffer in case he crawled in.
I knew he had pretty much gotten it the night that I heard Gay about 3 am say to Josh that he needed to go to the other side of her (which would be between Gay and me so she could get out). And this mostly asleep little toddler said, “NO! Daddy has lots of boo-boos!”
I’m pretty much over the need for the giant pillow and actually, with care, can sleep on my left side again (which has always been a very comfortable position for me). However, this morning I was on my back and Josh must have started dreaming or something and thus I am here e-talking with you!
All in all my recovery has been pretty good!
Starting on the first day in the hospital I knew that I couldn’t eat or lose all the tubes and stuff until I could tolerate consciousness without having to use lots and lots of pain medicine. So, I figured since they gave me a pain med pump (I’m sure there’s a real name for it) I would try not to use it unless I was really feeling out of it. Relying on my vast knowledge of medical procedures I knew that no matter how times I pushed the button on the pump it would only give me real pain medicine when it was really time for me to have more. I figured that was probably about every two hours… so i tried to only push the button every three hours or so. And I just ‘roughed it’ the rest of the time… cause I wanted to prove that I could handle being conscious so they would want to let me go faster!
Turns out it was set to allow me pain medicine every 8.5 minutes! And by Day 2 I was hurting big time! By that following evening, I swear I lived out something between “dark night of the soul” and/or waking dead nightmares! (I learned to push the button OFTEN very very QUICKLY on Day 2!)
On top of all that, being perceived as a heavier person (nobody ever said FAT to me), they had arranged for a special bed for “larger” people. Frankly, someone who weighed three times my weight could have enjoyed that bed! But for me, it was an absolute struggle to get out of it… and I had to get out to be able to go to the bathroom (I consider this a non-negotiable!).
Now remember this is now about half way through the black pit of despair night after day 2… I finally roll/jump and get on my feet at the side of the bed… and my privacy gown (boy, there’s an oxymoron!) fell… and I couldn’t bend over enough to even pick it back up! So there I am in nothing but an IV standing next to my bed when I realize that whoever came into my room last, left the door open (and I’m the visible room from the visitor’s lounge). AND I can’t get my gown, and I can’t unplug that stupid IV to get to the bathroom so I finally ring the stupid call button.
In walks some nurse/aide/someone, who isn’t Bill (my nurse for the night) and she starts to ask how can I help you? when she stops halfway through the sentence and asks “Can you tell me why you’re standing naked in the middle of the room?” For the record, I DID NOT share the many thoughts that came to my mind in that instant. I simply said, “I’d love to… but the short version is that my gown fell and I can’t reach it to put it back on.”
The next day we got rid of that gigantuan bed and replaced it with a normal one and I could get in and out and even make to the bathroom without help… and with a degree of modesty.
I find it MUCH funnier now, than I did at the time!
Upon getting home, I’ve pretty much been sleeping like a baby (up for a few hours, down for a few hours, and occasionally feeling like crying). Gay and the girls have gone out of their way to make sure I have had what I needed and just helped wherever and whenever they could. Michele even learned how to help apply my bandages (cause I can’t see my side to do it myself) and, despite her nervousness, learned how to get all that tape off to remove old bandages without completely making Daddy cry! (Although she uncontrollably laughed nervous laughter the whole way through the first time!).
The people of the Reynoldsville church have been phenomenal as well! They’ve sent cards and notes and meals and even loaned DVD’s!!!!
I did have one set-back… this past weekend I started ‘leaking.’ It turns out that obese people sometimes (OK, often times) will have difficulty with their incisions staying closed… there’s just too much fat and the two sides of the incision start to separate… and leak a bloody, serus fluid. So I spent some time in the DuBois ER just to make sure I wasn’t going to completely come unglued or whatever… I didn’t and my doctor double checked me again today and I’m doing fine.
One last story… again involving Josh. He regularly asks to see how Daddy’s boo-boos are doing and so I’ll lift my shirt and he’ll look and give his assessment: turning to Gay or Michele or Sarah and saying, “Daddy’s got a lot of boo-boos!” But one day, whe we were just getting up he got up on my bed and saw my side and wanted to help Daddy get better. So Gay and I told him he could GENTLY lay his hand ON TOP of my belly and pray for Jesus to help heal Daddy… and he did! Gay led him through a basic prayer of healing and Josh literally bounced away afterwards. The next day, when it was the very first day of him staying with me part of the day instead of going to the babysitters, we both laid down for nap time (I was ready LONG before he was) and he saw my side and asked “I pray for daddy?” I said yes and he gently laid his hand on my stomach like Gay had showed him and whispered something like “Jesus, heal Daddy’s boo-boos.”
I recognize that the main purpose of this whole thing was to remove a potentially cancerous tumor that had invaded my kidney… but I’m learning a lot about the love of my family and my church, about my own faith, and especially about having the faith of a little child.
Dear God, help me not to forget.