Saturday, November 7, 2015

Surviving the Second Day

It's always the second day after surgery that gets you. The first day, you're all psyched up and determined to conquer the thing, and you're popping the full dose of pain medicine every four hours. The second day, all residual benefits of the nerve block are gone and you realize just how terrible you feel. Taking the bandages off is nice and taking a shower is glorious, but then it dawns on you that you've got six weeks of pain ahead of you, and it's time to start backing off of the pain meds. However, my second day was made so much better by three things...my wife, my siblings and my dog.

Pam is not a natural nurse. The sight of blood makes her lightheaded. A mere conversation about stitches makes her nauseous. But there she was yesterday morning, unpealing my bandage, taking short breaks to gather herself, all the while smiling and being about as upbeat and positive as possible under the circumstances. She took two days off from work to be with me as I have recovered, and spent that time making me delicious food and basically being the most adorable person you can imagine. But then it was time to go back to work and leave me alone for the day...with Lucy.

My dog has been baffled at my condition. She is totally freaked out by the black sling. She seems completely confused as to why I am moving so slowly, astonished that I am unwilling and unable to throw the frisbee with her. So, she has decided that her job, for the duration of this strange set of circumstances, is to stay permanently at my side at all times, staring at me for hours on end looking for any clues as to the reason for my condition. Occasionally, she will leave my presence to search for things to bring to me and drop in my lap. It's like she's thinking, "Here. Maybe this will help you snap out of it!" My second day featured the inability to sleep even though the medicine had made me groggy. So Lucy took it upon herself to demonstrate for me the sixteen different ways that she can fall asleep, just in case I had forgotten...

It's at times like these when I wonder how it is that people recover from illnesses without animals. 

Ever since the surgery on Wednesday, I have been checked on by my siblings at regular intervals. My nurse sister Linda has texted me, my big brother has called a number of times to talk baseball, a much needed diversion, and yesterday, my sister Paula came by and took me to Panera for lunch. My kids texted me all day to check up on me and in Kaitlin's case to give me a homework assignment..."well, since you'll just be lying around all day doing nothing, why don't you look up some examples of news texts that have multiple purposes? Oh, and I need them by noon!"

I survived the dreaded second day, in large part because of some wonderful people...and a devoted puppy!