Surgery Day for Desperate Hubby

Once we had the diagnosis from a real doctor and the referral to the practice of Dr. Coughlin, we were once again thrown into the maelstrom of waiting for the referral to be processed by the new doctor’s office. DH subsisted on a combination of Celebrex and ibuprofen, staying fairly comfortable until we got word of who would be doing the surgery and when it would occur.

DH went to the consultation alone again (I’m apparently pretty busy for someone who doesn’t have a job), and met his surgeon Dr. Hirosi, a rising young protégé of the esteemed Dr. Coughlin.  DH liked the doctor immediately, and trusted him so much that he did not feel it necessary to ask even one question.  Not one question.

The information that he did manage to glean from the appointment was that he would have to have bone marrow removed from his hip to place inside the fusion (the doctor did impart that that would be the most painful part of the procedure) and that he would have a series of casts on for three months.  This three month recovery period would require absolutely no weight bearing at all.  Great.

When DH got home that afternoon he was jubilant that the surgery was scheduled and there was a plan of action for him to get better.  I asked a few questions.  It went something like this.  Me:  “So how long do you have to stay in the hospital after the surgery?”  DH:  “I’m not really sure.  I think he said two days.  Or maybe it was three days.”  Me:  “OK, so what do we need to do to prepare for you to come home?”  DH:  “I’m not really sure.  I don’t think he said anything about that.”  Me: “How long do you think you’ll have to be off of work?”  DH:  “I’m not really sure.” 

My very smart mother-in-law said she thought we might need an ice machine boot thingy of some type for the first few days.  I asked DH about that.  He said “I’m not really sure.”

It was obvious we were going into this thing fairly blind.  With all the unknowns, I wondered aloud if we needed to make an appointment to talk to the doctor some more before the surgery date, so I could be prepared to handle child care and all the other household requirements while DH was recovering in his hospital bed (complete with room service).  I asked DH what he thought about that.  He said “I’m not really sure.”

We decided to just wing it.  It will be what it will be, as I’m fond of saying.

We arrived bright and early (6:15 am) at the Day Surgery Building of the St. Al’s campus in Boise (day surgery……kind of implies maybe no overnight stay, yes?)  I asked Desperate Hubby if he really had to say overnight. I bet you can guess what he said.

When we went into the lobby we saw this beautiful fish tank.  Very soothing.

Fish Tank

The first question the receptionist asked was if DH would be staying overnight.  I guess she had the same source of information that we did.  DH answered:  “I’m not really sure.”

Our lovely intake nurse took us back right away and started preparing Greg for the surgery.  I immediately started taking pictures.  She thought that was pretty hilarious.

First off DH got his leg shaved.

DSCF1542

And his  IV in.

Checking out IV

After about half an hour our nurse shooed me back to the fish tank lobby to wait.  She said the surgery would start in 45 minutes, then take about an hour and a half, and that the doctor would come and get me when it was finished.

When I returned to the lobby I sat and started to wait.  I had brought Greg’s laptop, so I surfed the net for awhile and looked on e-bay for show shirts for Horsecrazy.  I started to notice that I was really, really hungry.  I drank three or four cups of the super bad coffee they had at the station around the corner, but that didn’t help. 

Then I noticed something that perked me up.  A candy machine.  I promptly rifled through my wallet and found all my change.  I bought a bag of trail mix and a diet coke, then at the last minute added a box of Junior Mints to freshen my breath.  I was golden.

After a couple of hours or so I was bored and feeling a little weepy.  I felt sorry for myself sitting all alone in the hospital waiting room.  At just that moment I got a text from my mother-in-law.  She was in the parking lot.  I told you I loved her.

Right after she got inside the lobby the doctor came out.  He told us the surgery went very well, and showed us x-rays of the before and after.  After I saw the huge ridge of bone spur that had formerly traversed my beloved’s navicular joint I was doubly glad I had not done a pre-purchase exam.  He would have never passed a vet check.

The doctor told us to go to the main hospital orthopedic floor and wait.  Apparently where would be an overnight stay involved.  Maybe two.  We rushed through the pouring rainstorm outside to get to the right hospital tower.  Then we waited. This is my mother-in-law Becki.  Isn’t she pretty?

More Waiting

In due time DH was wheeled up to the room and transferred into his bed.  We met the nurse on duty that day.  His name was Jamie.  He too was a guitar player, and he and DH hit it off immediately.

Talkin Guitars

DH had a great first day in the hospital. Unbelievable as it sounds, he was laying there working in bed just an hour after getting out of surgery.

Working in the Room

DH’s foot had been treated with a nerve block before surgery, so it didn’t hurt at all.  His hip was another matter though.  With no pain meds on board, that started to smart as soon as the anesthetic wore off. 

Nice nurse Jamie took care of that with some good drugs.  With DH pretty comfortable and settled in, I headed home around mid-afternoon to get the kids.  They were OK when we first got home, but by dinner time and the hour to get ready for bed they were missing their daddy a whole bunch. 

Batman cried and cried.  That made Horsecrazy cry. 

It made mommy drink wine.

I talked the kids into making daddy a get well card before bed.  Here are their creations.  Batman’s is the double amoeba drawing on the left; Horsecrazy wrote her name and drew a picture of daddy.

Then we all climbed into my king sized bed, where the kids slept sideways and parallel to each other, leaving me hanging off of the far edge like a climber halfway up the summit of Mt. Everest.

Kids Cards

By the next morning the foot block still had not worn off.  Dr. Hirosi told DH that he would have to stay another whole day and night in the hospital.  I decided to take the kids in for a visit.

They were happy to see daddy.  He was happy too.

Kids Visit

They all took turns playing with, I mean trying out, the breathing machine.  First daddy demonstrated.

Daddy does Machine

Then it was Annabelle’s turn.

Annabelle does Machine

Then Zachary tried it out.  I’m pretty sure he blew more spit than air.  But daddy didn’t mind.

Zach's Turn Machine

They gave daddy the cards they made him.

Daddy's Cards

Then after they played with the TV controller for awhile and drank all of daddy’s ice water I took them home.

The next day daddy was released.  When he told Dr. Hirosi that morning that he was still pain free the doctor almost didn’t believe him.  He said if he hadn’t done the surgery himself he wouldn’t believe Greg had undergone the normally painful procedure.

As soon as DH got home he wanted to visit with his old familiar friend.  Notice the pristine white cast. That didn’t last long.

Welcome Home

The kids were eager to do some decorating.

Decorating Cast

Now it looks like this.

Finished Product

We took a look at the hip after a couple of hours of being home.  It is pretty nasty looking.

Hip Shot

We’re now into the process of recovery by nearly a week.  DH is still pretty much pain free, but as he cuts down on the narcotics so that he can do some work the hip and foot start to get a little painful.

He is a very good patient so far.  I haven’t had to withhold food or water hardly at all in order get him to behave.

As for the kids, well, Annabelle likes to pretend to be daddy.  He doesn’t smile quite that broadly most of the time though.

Pretending to Be Dad

Both Zach and Annabelle are a little out of sorts because I have temporarily increased their preschool/daycare schedule to full-time while daddy is confined to the house.  They aren’t used to being away from home that much.  I miss them too.  But I admit it is kind of peaceful around here.

Until DH rings his service bell to request coffee.

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4 thoughts on “Surgery Day for Desperate Hubby

  1. Jerri

    Great story and love the photos! I’m glad Greg is doing well and it sounds like recovery will be a hoot over at your house! I am curious about his symptoms and what they called whatever he was being treated for. Surely it was more than just a bone spur?? Ouch! Love to all of you! (P.S. I was on my way out the door and noticed you’d posted a new blog entry, so now I am 15 minutes later than I’d planned! :-))

    • Hey Jerri…..sorry I made you late! DH’s symptoms started out with pain and swelling after lots of activity; the cross-fit jumping was a big offender, but gradually even just a walk down the ditchbank would promote a whole evening of icing and pain. His pretend doctor thought it was gout at first because it was so extremely painful to the touch. The swelling was over the top of the foot; and it would be hot, red and puffy from the ankle to the toes. The surgeon characterized it as severe arthritus in the navicular/talus joints, and he said the cartlidge was all worn away so there was just bone on bone in those joints. That was what was causing the severe pain. Apparently the severity of the onset was propogated by the changing of the plane of the foot due to the inserts the first doctor ordered, which chipped off some of the ridge of bone and allowed those pieces to enter the joint. Pretty much a mess all around, huh?

  2. Uncle Bill

    Hah! Service bell for coffee. I think I like DH. Just don’t slap the foot if he rings it too often. 😉

  3. Paula, I was laughing all the way through this. Why? “I’m not really sure.” 🙂

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