My Warrior Prince

Journal from yesterday, June 14th... I’ve been keeping small, tidy, realistic lists this week.

Today, meet with builder at 7 a.m.  Go with Bill to follow-up hand appt. at 9 a.m.  Go to Lowes to find light fixtures at 11 a.m.  Get Will to gymnastics at 4:30 p.m.  Go with Bill at 6 p.m. to finalize plumbing fixture selection.  Get Will from gymnastics at 7:30 p.m.

A famous person once said the only thing you can plan for is a picnic.  Insinuating everything else will be rearranged.  He was right. Today’s juggle started at 7 a.m.  Get plumbing valves before the lights.  Clean out LEGO structure closet by Monday so drain pipe can be built in.

At Bill’s doctor’s appointment, Lowes, plumbing valves, and the LEGOS closet got pushed to back burner.  Bill has a staph infection in his hand.  Based on the x-ray, the ortho doctor/surgeon thought it was deeper than the pin entry points.  (Pins were removed Tuesday.  At that point, she saw the infection and booked an operating room for today on the very, very outside chance she might need to clean up Bill’s hand.)  Bill’s surgery was on for 1:30.

As Bill sat with the open wound, she reviewed the possible scenarios, including two or three days in the hospital with intravenous antibiotics – at which point a bit of blood spouted from Bill’s hand.  The doctor and nurse gave a little scream. Bill didn’t know what was going on.  I thought, “Wow, the thought of a hospital stay pushed his blood pressure up a few points and blood shot right out of the hole in his hand!”  Cool science.

The doctor explained that it was only a drop of blood.  “It’s a girl thing.  You’re OK, it’s just a drop of blood, but we don’t want it to drop on your pants.”  Bless them, murmured the Laundry Maven.

Pre-op at 12:00 p.m. through post-op endpoint at 7:20 p.m. felt a bit like a Saturday Night Live skit.  Nurse Betty came in talking about installation of a “pick-line” while the infectious disease (ID) doctor – with a pocket protector and a stack of binder-clipped 3x5 note cards – explained, numerous times, how infection works, how a nurse would be coming to our house once a day for four weeks to administer IV antibiotics and change dressings, how Bill wouldn’t be working for a few days.

Bill and I are throwing looks back and forth.  Finally, I said, “This is all a bit of a surprise to us as this wasn’t the conversation we had with the ortho doctor this morning.  This is the first we are hearing about any of this as definite.”

Backpedalling a little – yet continuing in the vein of intravenous antibiotics, the ID doctor asked where we lived in case we had to up daily visiting nurse visits.  Bill answered.  To Bill, I said, “No, we don’t live there.  We don’t have a house right now.”  To the ID doc I said, “We are putting an addition on our house and have moved out for the summer.  We are in a hotel for two weeks then living in a house in Gloucester for the summer.”

That crazy scenario threw him, so he went back to defining infection.  With three nurses, the surgeon, and an anesthesiologist present, no one could turn him off.  Finally, in my most assertive voice I started saying, “Thank you, doctor.  You’ve BEEN very helpful.  Thanks for coming BYE.”  Finally, he waved and said, “Good luck with the addition!” which put an awkward silence in the air amongst us strangers.  “That would be a house addition, not a baby addition,” I added.  It took a while for Bill to catch it; through laughter he said, “I feel a blog post coming on!”  Oh yeah.

When the 4th medical professional asked if I would be staying here while Bill was in surgery, I replied, “No.  I’m going to the Caribbean.”

Enter capable, trustworthy, bright surgeon who explained she would flush the area during surgery, Bill would have a pick line put in after surgery, and then he would have daily antibiotics administered by the Nurse Maiden.  Said Nurse Maiden – me – would also need to change bandages three times a day after we bathed the area in Hydrogen Peroxide and water.

Hmmm… I have a compromised lymph node system.  If my doctors are afraid of the dirt in my flower gardens, I probably shouldn’t be dabbling in staph infection.  The purple rubber gloves on the wall fit me, so I added a couple pairs to the pile of take-home gauze.

Bill to surgery.  Arrival of very nice man to explain at-home IV system.  The conversation moved along quickly as chemo déjà vu proved helpful.  I understood it all and suggested adding the step of giving patients gum before the saline push.

Bill out of surgery.  Surgeon’s speculations were correct: infection is in the bone and tendon.  She has flushed it, it’s super clean, and it’s deep, so the Nurse Maiden shouldn’t be surprised when changing the dressings.  Bill sees the surgeon again next Tuesday for a follow-up.

Bill’s in recovery, waiting for pick-line set up.  I was just asked if I had the original prescriptions.  No, I haven’t been given any paperwork.  Oh dear.  I just told the nurse this feels like a Saturday Night Live skit.

Please pick-line my husband, give him a big dose of antibiotics, and let me take him home.  Er, to the hotel.

At 3:30 I mentioned that I have to pick up the boys from school by 6:00 p.m.  It was field day, so I knew a longer day at school would be more than OK with a bouncy castle sitting outside the building.  “Oh, you will be out of here long before then.  They are nearly done with the pick-line and then they will just take an x-ray to make sure it’s placed correctly.”

At 4:30 I finally see Bill, who hadn’t been given any food.  “I feel funny.  My head has been on a folded up blanket, not a pillow, and my feet are hanging off the edge of the bed.”  And you haven’t eaten since 6 p.m. yesterday.  And one paw is in a huge gauze bandage and the other has an IV in the bend in your arm and a pick-line on the inside of your upper arm.  And your arm is orange.  And I see the wheels spinning, “&*(^% two-handed catch.”

Yes, it all started with a two-handed catch on a beautiful spring evening playing softball under the lights.  The ball hit a finger on the ungloved hand and broke a bone in that hand.  I recognized the look.  Today Bill joined the rank of Warrior.   The Warrior Princess’s Warrior Prince.

At 5:15 and four x-rays later, I decide to get the boys from school.  The radiologist couldn’t see the 52 cm of tubing that had been fished into his vein.  “Just call us when you get back and we will bring him down.”   At 6:00 we returned with a Dunkin’ Donuts bagel for Bill.  It was an evening of Dunkin’ Donuts and potato chip appetizers for the boys.

After waiting in the van for a half hour, the pick-line picture still hadn’t come through.  The boys were given permission to come into the recovery room, where kids are “never allowed.”  They were given this-will-make-it-better popsicles that the nurse stole from the OR.

At 7:00, a 5th x-ray was taken.  Finally, “It’s satisfactory.”  We closed the place down at 7:20 and got home at 7:36.

It’s now 12:00 a.m. tomorrow.  All are bedded down, but the Nurse Maiden is contemplating all that is ahead in the coming weeks – yet knowing that this day will make a quick IV and thrice daily hydrogen peroxide baths seem like a piece of cake.

We are given these Warrior days for a reason.