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.
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.
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.