The people involved in the repair and recovery of my husband’s shattered feet had left us to fend for ourselves. We no longer could tolerate the miscommunication and lack of compassion. The two of us put our heads together and decided to be more assertive, in other words, pushy … in order to get something done.
This seemed to work, because we finally received a phone call from the surgeon (Dr. O.). He was a very pleasant man who apologized for the confusion and cleared up all the conflicting reports we had received. He told us there was no reason we needed to travel 25 miles for the surgery (like his office staff insisted). Gary would have it done at the hospital where he’d been staying.
When we finally met Dr. O. face to face, the news was not good. I love my husband’s usual optimism, so to see the light go out in his eyes nearly broke me in two. I’m normally the one who needs to be reminded of the bright side, and now our roles were reversed.
The doc was a straight-shooter, and I liked that about him, because we needed to face the facts in order to fix the feet. I won’t bore you with the names of all of his many broken bones. I’ll just summarize with the technical term Dr. O. used. “His feet are dust.” He prepared us for what would be done in surgery and what was ahead for recovery.
Gary would be completely off of his feet, on his arse, for the next three to five months.
We dreaded the surgery day and looked forward to it at the same time. We had been left in limbo purgatory for 12 days and he’d finally be released to move forward on his … ahem, first step to recovery.
I waited alone during the surgery, which I was told would take 90 minutes. My stomach knotted into pretzels when 3 hours went by without a word. I watched as other family members were called and taken back to see their loved ones. When would it be my turn? Finally, after three and a half hours, I heard my name. Gary’s surgery went well. He’d be back to his room in an hour.
If we thought pre-op limbo was purgatory, the post-op pain was a special kind of hell. One of my husband’s feet was in a cast. Some of you will remember the outer device on his other foot. A metal device (fixater) was custom made … just for him … to hold together the broken foot. Spikes were screwed down to the very core of his bones.
If you are easily queasy, you might want to scroll beyond the photos.
They gave him a button to push for medication every seven minutes. What a sight to behold, my poor husband in agony and me not able to stop his suffering.
I remained by his side all day, mostly to make sure the nurses were giving him the care I expected for him. You might think I sound like a tyrant, but I’ve had my own experiences with inept healthcare workers in this state.
I planned to leave around 8pm for home, but around 5pm, I received an urgent call from the pet sitter about our dog, Max. She said the wound from his surgery had broken open.
Have you ever found that being more assertive helps to get things done? Have you ever had to watch someone you love in pain and feel helpless? What did you do about that feeling?