Sunday, June 6, 2021

While we're waiting

My husband Art is having back surgery - a laminectomy - this coming Friday. He's got at least half a dozen pinched nerves in his lumbar spine that are affecting his legs. The surgery should relieve much of the pain and restore his ability to walk. Later this summer I will have my hip replaced, and possibly my knee. 

We're at home in our apartment in Brier, Washington, waiting. Here's what we've done this week:

  • Got our eyes checked. For me it's been two years. For Art it's been five. Here's how the morning went:
    • Backed my car out of the garage, then pulled it back in with enough width on the passenger side so Art could get his wheelchair from the apartment to the garage, then transfer from the chair to the car. Backed the car out again, then pulled it back in with enough room on the driver's side so I could get out of the car, open the trunk, fold up the wheelchair and put it in the trunk. We have not yet downsized and decluttered enough to reclaim sufficient width in the garage to have this happen in just one step.
    • Once at the eye clinic, find a handicapped spot, leave Art in the car with the morning paper, and get my eyes checked. No changes, no new glasses required. Yay! 
    • It's two hours until Art's eye appointment, so we drive to a Greek-American deli for breakfast. Open the trunk, get out the wheelchair and set it up for Art to transfer into it. Walk down the sidewalk to locate the ramp from the street we can use. Walk back to the car and push Art in the wheelchair - in the street - to said ramp, continuing on to the tables set up outside the deli. Two men offer us their table. I say, "Thank you! I will pay your kindness forward sometime today." One of the men says, "No need to do that. We're Republicans."(!?). I say, smiling, "There are good Republicans." The man says, "There are LOTS of good Republicans." We have a delicious breakfast. We do the getting-Art-back-into-the-car thing. We drive back to the eye clinic.
    • Once at the eye clinic, find a handicapped spot again, get the wheelchair out of the trunk, and get Art transferred into it. Push the chair in and out of the elevator. Note that the tire on the left side of the chair has come off the wheel. Once in the waiting room, transfer Art to a chair, turn the wheelchair over and, assisted by two friendly strangers, put the tire back on. (It was probably at this point that the "Help" button, attached to a lanyard and tied to the wheelchair, fell off. We called the clinic the next day but no one had found it, so a replacement has been ordered).
    • Art gets his eyes checked. No changes, no new glasses required. Yay again!
    • Arrive home and reverse the process to get Art and me out of the car and back in the apartment.
    • Take naps.  
  • Review the items in the storeroom. 
    • Notice six Kirkland (Costco) jars full of coins, from all the years Art emptied his pockets at the end of the day and put the change in a jar. Ask Art if he'd be interested in sorting them and putting them into coin rolls. Getting a yes, haul them out to the dining room table.
    • Two days later, put five Kirkland jars full of coin rolls into a rolling suitcase to take to the bank. Put the suitcase in the car. Do the get-Art-into-the-car routine and drive three miles to a Bank of America, which you have read accepts coin rolls. We don't have any accounts there, but we do have two Alaska Airlines Visa cards through that bank.
    • Put the rolls of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters into plastic racks provided by the teller. When finished, slide the racks under the plastic divider for the teller to process. Receive $490 in bills. 
    • Drive to the neighborhood Mexican restaurant. Do the getting-the-wheelchair-into-the-restaurant thing. Enjoy an excellent lunch indoors. Do the getting-Art-back-into-the-car thing. Drive home. Do the getting-us-back-into-the-apartment thing.
    • Take naps.  
  • Take Art to and from his presurgical physical appointment. He passed. Yay!
  • Get my first online physical therapy to prepare me for my upcoming hip replacement, so I'll be strong and the process will be easier.
  • Did the things Art has done for the last 25 years but can't now until he can walk after his surgery, plus the things I usually do.
    • Make shopping list
    • Shop for groceries
    • Prepare breakfast
    • Fix lunch
    • Cook dinner
    • Order what we need from Amazon
    • Send emails and texts asking for help during Art's first few days home after his surgery.
    • Listen to a family member having a personal crisis.
    • Talk to a friend having a family health issue.
    • Attend a Board meeting on Zoom for The Inn Project, a cause in Tucson I'm devoted to.
    • Attend two Olli classes on Zoom.
    • Drop out of two Spanish classes on Zoom for lack of time to do the homework.
I am grateful that I'm strong and healthy, even though I hurt. I'm grateful to have the financial resources we need. I'm grateful for a supportive personal and family network.

This, too, shall pass!


Janette said...

Wow! That is a lot. We had the doctor prescribe a wheel chair and sliding board (yes, they can do that). When Mom got worse her doctor prescribed an electric wheel chair. So very much work!
It is a bit sad that Republicans in your area have to tell people that they are nice. It used to be that we did not care what party nice people are in- but there are a lot of assumptions about Republicans being awful people..... sad.
Hope all goes well in with his surgery and his healing is fast. Nothing worse then being dependent when you are used to being in control of your body.

Olga said...

Aging can become a full time job. I was stumped by that Republican comment. Is "paying forward" a new age, hippy/ left wing liberal thing to be out of hand dismissed? Sharing merit is thousands of years old in Buddhism and i m sure other traditions as well.

Tom said...

Wow, you have a lot coming up in the near future. May the surgeries go well, and your recoveries be swift and (relatively) painless.

DJan said...

Yes, that was a curious response from the Republican. I do hope both your surgeries go well, and that the recovery periods will be swift. And congrats to you both about your perfect eyes! :-)

Linda Reeder said...

Like Olga I was perplexed by the response to "paying it forward". We're Republicans????
Tom and I are still having lingering effects from that intestinal "bug". And I can relate to the task it is of getting myself in and out of the car and just around these days. I think I have had a setback from my hip surgery, and my fused back refuses to be happy and give me the mobility I want so much to have. I will return to Physical therapy Friday to see if I can help myself.
Beside the discomfort, getting old just makes everything take more time! Uff!

Joanne Noragon said...

I've had a couple of those surgeries and all was well, so I am expecting the same for you. I suppose you'll be doing a lot of wheel chair maneuvering until then, and you have my sympathy.

Cynthia said...

Oh my word, I’m exhausted for you! Every few months I spend two weeks with my mom, age 94, and go through the same routines. The wheelchair alone takes so much energy and strength and you have a long stretch ahead. I hope your surgeries will put you both back on your feet and pain free as soon as possible.

Donna said...

That's so exhausting. May you continue to be able to do all that you do. And I hope you have time for lots of naps!

Allison said...

After Jim broke his pelvis, there was a wheel chair for quite some time. It was exhausting because it was so heavy. My hat is off to you that you can still lift one. Hopefully the chair will be gone soon. I truly hope Art is doing well and that the recovery is not too bad.