2017-05-19 / Commentary


I’m just saying...
Julia Rogers Hook


This guttural scream was from my husband Marty when he came home from work early one day last week and caught me vacuuming four days after having a total knee replacement (TKR) surgery. (And I had to change the words because what he really said is unprintable.)

I was so busted, and I knew it. On Monday, May 8, I had the surgery and was sent home that Tuesday. Marty had meticulously “arranged” for me to have girlfriends over throughout the day as I recovered because I’m sure he suspected something like this would happen. He tried to tell me my girlfriends “just want to spend some time with you and help you if you need it,” but I knew he had taken them aside and asked them to babysit me. And frankly, it’s been a lot of fun to have non-stop gab-fests with some of the women I love the most.

And…although I hate to admit it, I really did need someone to be there that first week as I learned how to adapt to using a walker and such.

So it’s all worked out well. My doctors and nurses and physical therapists are all pleased with my progress but…there have been some interesting snags along the way.

For instance, I have never in my life had so many open discussions with SO many people about my bodily functions. Specifically…my bowels.

Call me old fashioned, but to meet a good looking young male doctor and then to have him immediately blatantly inquire about my “regularity” is a little… well… odd.

Apparently, after a major surgery, the pain meds tend to slow down the…um…body’s ability to “discard wastes.” They call it “bowel blockage” and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the ONE thing everyone wants to avoid, ESPECIALLY the patient.

While it can be disconcerting to “discuss” such personal stuff with such a vast array of medical personnel and whomever else happens to pass by the room, belieeeeeve me…bowel blockage is NOT a fun thing.

At first you barely notice anything amiss. Then…you realize you’re uncomfortable. After about a day, your discomfort becomes a distinct pain and suddenly you’re in the bathroom crying, begging, and trying to make any kind of deal in the world with God, the Universe, or any old deity who might happen to be listening.

On one particular night, my bowels practically became a community meeting! Marty panicked when I started crying out in pain and my cousin who was staying with us was sent out into the night for remedies. At the same time, our neighbor (who is THANKFULLY also a friend) was called and she dispatched her daughter to search out relief for my predicament.

Both of them arrived within minutes of each other bearing bags of every conceivable medication from a stool softener to laxatives to…well things that were verrrrry “intrusive.” But I didn’t care. At that moment in time, I would have eaten dirt with a spoon if I knew it would help!

Once that little problem was “handled,” I felt a whole lot better. And with my improved health, the boredom set in. If you feel bad, staying in bed is easy but if you feel pretty good, in my case anyway, you want to get things done.

And after four days of inattention, as I looked around my house, I kept seeing things that needed doing. There was a layer of dust under the television and a smudge here and there on our kitchen counter. The floors desperately needed a brisk broom and…well the list goes on and on.

At any rate, it was that boredom that led me to surreptitiously tidy up when Marty was otherwise occupied. I would carry my Swiffer duster in my shoulder bag, so I could dust while he went to the mailbox. I would grab the spray cleaner and wipe down the counters while he showered. I had quite a little covert cleaning routine going until I made my fatal error. I misjudged how long it would take him to get home from work. And when he opened the door, I was caught! Red handed, as they say.

“WHAT are you DOING???” Marty demanded as I stood there sheepishly holding my nifty new cordless vacuum.

“Just tidying a little Marty…you know how the animals bring in all that debris…I just thought a little quick vacuum would be fine....”

“And if you fell…then what?” he was breathing heavy, and there was fear in his eyes. After I promised to curtail my cleaning or at least keep it at a minimum, he began to calm down. I don’t want him at work worrying about me at home…and everyone knows if you cross your fingers while making a promise, it’s not really an ironclad promise anyway.

I just hope I can get today’s laundry done before he gets home.

I’m just saying…

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