411: In my kitchen, breaking my no-sugar rule to taste my souffle.
She SMS’ed me to tell me that her elbow was dislocated. “Oh my god Its entirely out of the socket”. And then, quoting her doctor, she said, “I quote, ‘thats not good'”. Apparently the nerve that controls her left hand was at risk, and they wanted to operate immediately to avoid loss of the entire left hand.
We then went into seperate versions of overdrive. I started looking for airplanes to get me to Boston. I ran home and realized this was the day the construction guys started demolishing our kitchen down to the studs. No time for that! I drove my motorcycle to BWI, tucked it in a garage (I would be unable to find it or the parking stub days later when I returned) and hopped the next available flight to Boston. I landed about 8pm or so and caught the first cab to the hospital. In a cruel joke, I found one of our carefully selected kitchen cabinet handles mounted on the inside of the taxicab. Guess that style isn’t so unique after all.
I was relegated to a waiting room in the bowels of the hospital, shown at right. It had about a dozen people, and a now empty nurse’s station that is presumably staffed during the day. Since I was born for trouble, I immediately went and started looking for the phones. They’d locked away all the handsets and locked down the phones so you couldn’t use the speakerphone button.
Every 15-30 minutes this phone would ring. One of us would answer it, and find out news about their family member in surgery. Usually it was good news. Sometimes it was non-descript, and the family member, still possessing the ability to read tone of voice, would run to the other end of the hall to receive the serious news.
After everyone had left I had the place to myself. I raided the cupboards and found this beer glass. I then looked all over the place for a beer (though I don’t really like beer anymore) but was thwarted in my quest for Germany’s favorite refreshment. I can see the need to get blotto in this room, and I envied those before me who had done so, but I cursed their selfishness for not leaving me any.
I then decided there was nobody to argue with, and so I switched the tv channel. The last person in the waiting room was watching election returns, and she wasn’t too bright. I felt it best not to anger her, as he relative had won whatever low-level office she was running for, and could possibly deny me a dog license.
At this point in the evening, the surgeons were screwing five titanium rods into Sarah’s bone in different places. They then attached these to an exo-skeleton, the sum total of which is that she can move it around without the elbow re-dislocating. That white thing in the photo is a bandage that absorbs blood coming out of the open wound that’s drilled right into the bone. The visual effect is that she’s some sort of borg-like monster. In fact when we were in the Museum of Fine Arts last weekend, we were walking by a crowd of people and one middle-aged woman, thinking we couldn’t hear her, tracked Sarah with her eyes and not quite out of earshot, said, “Gross!”
Right about this time I found Sarah’s favorite movie on television: Army of Darkness. Bruce Campbell’s character from this series finds his own arm severed and a chainsaw attached to it. I was somewhat certain that Sarah wouldn’t appreciate the irony of this until weeks later when I told her.
Finally, they wheeled her out of the operating room, where the drugs from the operation (including an amnesia drug that is only legal in the operating room) caused Sarah to profess she loved me repeatedly. I had hoped to be the first thing she saw when she woke up, and I was successful. They wouldn’t let me spend the night, so I stayed in a hotel near the hospital and returned the next day about 10am. Sadly, my Jewish wife had missed communion.
She got her breakfast, and I went in search of something resembling lunch myself. What I found looked unappetizing, and surprisingly enough, tasted about as bland. Everything you hear about hospital food is true.
Finally, they discharged Sarah at the end of the day. For someone who had just been what she’d been through, she’s surprisingly cheery. She was dying to leave, as her hospital roommate is a woman with colon cancer who was telling everyone within earshot that she’d given up. The longer she was there, the more I worried about Sarah’s mood.
Sarah’s got months of physical therapy ahead of her, but she’s doing it patiently, and she gets better every day. At this point she appears headed for a nearly full recovery of her left arm and hand, and so for that, we are thankful. I have moved up to Boston to take care of her while she convalesces. Thankfully we have a Boston office at Mindshare (and it’s not my apartment!) so I can work. And I’m cooking like a fiend. Souffles, creme brulee, stuffed artichokes, you name it. It’s a good time to be eating from my kitchen.