Wednesday, October 29, 2008

If the Creek Don't Rise and My Body Cooperates

I can’t get to the computer very often or very easily. We have a kidney shaped computer table and although it is an efficient set-up to play from when my body is in relatively efficient working condition, it is anything BUT, in my present situation. “Swelling is the enemy” is the chant that I hear every time I go to the ’wound specialist‘. “Keep your leg elevated at all times.” It’s a mantra that all the doctors’ staff repeats constantly. If John thought my fall looked similar to a porn star you should see what I have to do to sit at this kidney shaped computer table. If I didn’t look like someone that hasn’t had enough sleep, or someone that is dealing with too much pain, or someone that is a bit wobbly from pain medication, and if my leg wasn’t wrapped with so many ‘wound wrappings’ that it looks as if I might be part mummy I just might be a wee bit sexy sitting here with my legs spread at different angles, pillows propped all around me, my ’as little material as possible’ summer dress falling off one shoulder and billowing in the breeze caused by the fan that sits on the other side of the room .... At least I keep trying to convince myself of that. I’ll almost believe anything if it will help fight off the ‘depression of suppression’ of activity that this latest happenstance has handed me. On top of all that we are in the middle of a never ending heat wave that has left me with ‘SWEAT’ dripping off my chin. It’s so hot that I no longer perspire like a lady, I am just plain sweating.

Writing that last paragraph brought back a memory. I was seventeen years old and was recuperating from what turned out to be the last of the series of operations I had as a child. My mother had bought me a beautiful red nightgown. It was short so it wouldn’t interfere with the huge cast I had up to my thigh. It was so beautiful with it’s lace and ruffles that I had decided to wear it when an ’older’ boy that I had a crush on had called to say that he was going to drop over to visit with me. It was a very hot afternoon and the low cut neckline and small spaghetti straps of the beautiful red nightgown were perfect. The boy arrived and came over and sat beside my bed and held my hand as we talked about what was going on outside of my small confined world. I hadn’t known that he felt the same way about me that I felt about him, but he must have because he sat there for the longest time holding my hand and smiling. My mother popped into the room once or twice to see if we wanted something to drink or eat. The first time she came in she stood behind the boy and made awkward hand signals that I couldn’t understand, but mother’s are mother’s and I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought after she shrugged her shoulders and left the room, after all my crush was acting like he had a crush too.

After the boy left my mother came in the room and asked if I had enjoyed myself. And as I was regaling her with how much fun I had had during his visit she laughed and said, “I think he really enjoyed himself too. You are sitting right in front of that stream of sunshine coming in the window and it almost made your nightgown diaphanous. I didn’t want to embarrass the two of you, but I did try to signal to you to turn your back a bit.” Her hand signals! She was trying to tell me that I appeared almost nude in my beautiful red nightgown! OMG I was so embarrassed, but not enough to say “No” when he called and asked me for a date when I was up and running again. We dated a long time and not once did either one of us ever mention that he had seen me almost nude from the waist up, but then again when we’d park in our special place by the beach he did spend a lot of time trying to get me that way again!

And then I grew up and met John ... do boys ever really change.

Last week Scott and I were sitting in the room waiting for the wound doctor when I heard 3 staff members in the hall say my last name, then walk into a room and shut the door. I turned to Scott and said, “It’s ominous when you hear your named used just before they close the door. I wonder what they have in store for me.” Not too much longer one of the women walked into my room and said, with glee, “I get you!”

“Why does that make you so happy?”

“Because we don’t get to see haematomas as large and deep as this one. Three of us vied with one another to get the chance to work on this wound.”

“Oh, so it’s not my bubbling personality. It’s because I’m the educational specimen of the day?”

“Yup!,” she said as she came at me with surgical scissors and tweezers.

“We’re going to start debridement today,” she said as she took the tweezers and pried up an edge of the black tortoise shell like cover that had developed from the huge sack-like thing of blood that had been on my leg. I held my breath and she held the tweezers and scissors, lifting and snipping. Soon the other two women ‘just happened?” to walk into my room. So now I had all three women with scissors and tweezers anxiously waiting for their turn to snip at my ‘learning tool‘ injury. At one point I said, “ You three are actually having a good time, aren’t you?” And they all laughed and agreed then tempered it with, “Aw no Sandra, we’re just excited because we’re getting the chance to put into use something we have learned, but rarely get to use.”

“Would you stop if I screamed?”

“Many of our patients do, but this has to be done. We cant stop.”

“Then I wont scream,” I said.

When it was all over and they each had had their turn at doing something that they don’t usually get the chance to do they all turned to me, smiled, and said, “You are a wonderful patient.”

“Am I a wonderful patient because I brought you something very unusual to work on or because I didn’t scream?”

In unison they said, “BOTH!!!!,” and we all laughed.

Debridement is the removal of the layers of ‘things’ unwanted that sits in the wound. I tell you I am learning a whole bunch of things that I never wanted to know in the first place. It is very painful, but I am determined to do everything that it takes to get this leg back into use. This is the pits!!

The doctor says that if all goes well and my body reacts correctly I may get out of this without having to have a skin graft, but even then it will take at least 3 months for it to heal. Lordy, I do not want to have a skin graft. So I do everything they tell me too, including sticking this painful leg in the shower once a day for 5 minutes. Of course everyone in the family wants to be warned before I take the bandages off, the poor babies get sick if they have to look at my “disgusting” leg. Sometimes I deliberately knock on bedroom doors and force them to take a gander. Hey, why should I have to suffer alone!

God Bless, Pennie

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