health, life, memoir

Feet Tale Two

From the emergency room, my husband was admitted to the hospital. He was in and out of sleep from pain medication. Since 2:30 in the afternoon we waited for a surgeon to repair his shattered feet, but by 10pm, there was no sign of one. Is it still an emergency after almost eight hours?

I fidgeted, wrung my hands and wore out the gloss on those cold, uncaring tile floors. Closing in on 11pm without any word from a surgeon, I had to leave to go take care of our dog, Max.

gmax helen wmBoth my fellas long before they had surgery and when feet were able to hike.

Wouldn’t it figure?

Just as I merged onto the ramp for the highway, the surgical nurse called me. Gary was heading into surgery. She said I didn’t need to come back. He would be asleep all night afterward anyway. The nurse promised to call and let me know how it went.

When I arrived home, I dropped like a led ball to the floor in my bedroom and sobbed. Max did not like seeing me cry and nearly suffocated my nose with his licks. Thankfully, the t-shirt I had put on him to protect his wound remained in tact, and so did the stitches.

I don’t remember what time the nurse called after the surgery, but she said something like, “The doctor wasn’t able to put him back together.”

She didn’t use those exact words, but Gary’s feet were too swollen for the doctor to set them. We’d have to wait ten days to two weeks before another attempt to put my precious Humpty Dumpty back together again.

We were dropped in limbo-land waiting to move forward with healing. Most of those very long days were spent trying to arrange things for Gary’s care through Workman’s Compensation. Oh yes, that was a lot of fun added to the excruciating pain and daily chores of life.

We received some good news that Max’s test results from the lump that was removed turned out benign. Our pet sitter checked on his stitches for us more than once a day. I know she had other clients, and yet, she put Max first.

my2boys (800x426)My two sick boys

Days dragged by, and we saw hide nor hair of any surgeons. I only saw an attending physician at the hospital twice. One of those times he informed us, a second surgeon was going to look at Gary’s x-rays and see if there was anything else that could be done.

This new doctor was to come and speak to us one late afternoon. Instead, a physicians assistant, or nurse, or resident, we don’t know who, but we’ll call him, Butch, came in and told us that Gary didn’t need surgery.

The two of us were elated, but could Gary’s feet really heal okay without surgery? Did that mean he could finish recovery at home?

The next morning I received a call from the original surgeon’s office to schedule the operation on Gary’s feet. What?? Did we both have the same dream of someone coming into his hospital room and telling us he didn’t need surgery?

It turned out, Butch was sent to inform us that the new surgeon wouldn’t be performing the surgery, but rather, the original doctor. Maybe we had heard what we wished to hear … but both of us? Or, Butch was a terrible communicator.

The original surgeon’s office told us Gary needed to travel 25 miles to have the surgery done at a different hospital. How were the two of us supposed to transport a disabled man in excruciating pain? He was non-weight bearing, and we had no equipment like wheelchairs or slide boards. Caretakers, office staff … they all left us to fend for ourselves. We both felt like we were calling out in the wilderness for someone to help us.

Read what happened next here.


30 thoughts on “Feet Tale Two”

  1. I’m so sorry you and your husband had to go through this. You do a phenomenal job capturing the emotions and the frustration and I feel like I am right there with you! Brilliant writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kourtney. I’m known in my writer’s critique group as the one to give help with writing emotions. I need work in other areas, and that’s what the others are there to help me with. Thank you for your support.


  2. What hospital is one without emergency ? In case of doubt, in India, we always go to Government Hospitals. The facilities are less, but Doctors are very knowledgeable. Did not expect such a story from a foreign land

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I came here inadvertently trying to track down the elusive sparkyplants/sdgates and stayed to read!

    What a ghastly experience. Made even worse by the appalling communications (I used to work in health – and communications, specifically) and offhand treatment. I’m still recovering from a fall last year when my small dog cannoned into me and broke my ankle. Not being able to put one leg/foot down is bad enough but two? I seriously dread to think. I’m still limping, so I hope Gary is reasonably mobile again now.

    Love your dog.


  4. Are you kidding me? All of that lack of communication and miscommunication was ridiculous! This is the U.S. for crying out loud! We’re supposed to have some of the best medical care in the world! How could they have left you so uninformed and ill equipped? I would have just lost it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately, the U.S. healthcare is getting worse, and will continue to under the current laws. Anyway, we do figure a way out of this predicament, and trust me, I lost it.


  5. Lori, poor communication and lack of continuity of care can be a very frightening thing especially when you are trying to obtain the very best care for your loved one. I think everyone involved in the medical field should walk a day in the shoes of a patient (or lie in the bed as a patient), to see how the hospital functions from the patient’s perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey there. I think bureaucracy makes things way more complicated than need be. I’m a super organized person, sometimes to a fault, and it makes me wish I could get in these places, roll up my sleeves and fix their many failings. Sigh. Thanks again for coming over and reading. Your blog says it’s marked private when I click. That’s fine. Just thought I’d let you know in case you weren’t aware.


      1. Lori, try sdgateswriter at wordpress. I had a gardening blog, but I put it to rest as I started on this writing journey. Needless to say my garden has suffered immensely as well (through my partial neglect and because of two little puppies who shall remain nameless – Maxie and Mikey – who have no respect for delicate bedding plants.) So I don’t know if I can just delete the now defunct Blog site – I’m afraid I will inadvertently delete everything. Thanks for trying to come visit the blog. You’re a good egg!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. That waiting period must have been awful Lori and the conflicting information, not to mention lack of practical support. It’s so true that you don’t always get that support you need at the time when you need it most.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Goodness gracious! How could they just leave you in the lurch like that with now help for transportation? That’s insane–but that’s our “health care” system! Can’t wait to read on…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s good to know while reading these posts now that everything worked out in the end. But too often it seems dealing with health care puts too much stress on people at the worst possible times. I wish we could have a simpler, more streamlined, and more efficient way of doing things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There was so much going on that I didn’t write here on my blog. I just put updates on his condition. Now that it’s over, I can look back and tell it in story form. I do believe there is a more efficient way of doing things, but there are two many clashing personalities to figure it out. Thanks for reading about our trials, JM.


  9. Wow, what a nightmare but having spent more time than I’d like as a patient advocate for family members over the last several years, it sadly does not surprise me. The lack of communication, or the mixed signals that come from staff not all being on the same page is so frustrating. And I’ve been there with the never-ending wait for the doctor! It seems they always come as soon as you step out of the room. And once you enter through the hospital doors, you really are at the staff’s mercy. There’s little you can do to control/change the situation directly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Joy. I’ve told myself that this is just a problem here in my neck of the woods. But, it seems to be a growing problem all over now. It’s so true about being at the staff’s mercy. I was so relieved when he finally came home, even though the work was overwhelming.


  10. Dealing with departments and bureaucracy is never easy but when a loved one’s health is at the crux of it, it’s excruciating… it’s like just tell me what to do and I’ll do it, pulleeeaaasssse!
    But then sometimes there are people who help, and their light shines even brighter. I love the photo of “My two sick boys”. At least you all had each other 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi EllaDee. At the time it seemed like it would never end. It’s a good reminder that we are stronger than we think. Thanks so much for your support and understanding.


    1. Yes, we felt like we were floundering. Thankfully, things get a little better in the next installment, sort of. Thank you for reading and supporting me through, Jill.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. This is raw for me to read right now, because I just helped my mother through a surgery. I really had to act as her advocate in the hospital as we had so many different residents and even attending surgeons coming in and saying different things. I understand it was a teaching hospital, and that’s still my choice of hospital to go to, but the communication was not always adequate. Luckily, she had a wonderful intern who came frequently and acted as our go-between. It’s very interesting as a physician to be on the other side. And I was surprised, because when I rounded on patients in the hospital, I went to see the patient every day and tried to make sure everyone was on the same page. I’m not tooting my own horn, but just expressing why I was surprised at things.

    What an ordeal for you guys. Having to deal with the bureaucracy of Workman’s Comp while your husband was in the throes of his accident had to be beyond frustrating.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do not think you’re tooting your own horn at all. The healthcare professionals where I live have a lot to be desired. I didn’t find them as difficult to deal with when my mom went in the hospital where she lives (and where I grew up). I think healthcare is a hit or miss kind of thing, depending where you live and/or what hospital.

      Workman’s Comp actually did fantastic with paying for everything. They were also getting conflicting reports from all the healthcare professionals and were just as confused as us.

      Thank you for your support and empathy, Carrie. I know you are one of those few doctors I’ve met (even if online) who cares. Hugs.


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