Thursday, December 20, 2007

Long Suffering Spouse prepares for the hospital

Long Suffering Spouse had her gall bladder removed Tuesday. She's home now and doing as well as may be expected. Pain pills are wonderful things. But today's story is about how Long Suffering Spouse got ready for her date with the surgeon. And it's about Christmas cookies, too....

Long Suffering Spouse's Christmas cookies are legendary in our neighborhood. She makes all sorts of breads, coconut bars, date bars, brownies, wreath cookies, Christmas trees, gingersnaps, gingerbreads, three different kinds of sparkle cookies, all sorts of cookies.... Let's put it this way: People are even nice to me in the hopes of getting a tin of her Christmas cookies.

One group of people that is usually favored with Long Suffering Spouse's cookies are our doctors. The list has changed from year to year; this year may be the first that the pediatrician's office didn't get any. Well... the kids are getting too old for a pediatrician... and the doctor who took care of our kids has retired. The doctor who removed most of my colon at the end of February used to be on the list when I was getting annual colonoscopies... then he dropped off the list for awhile. He was back on this year. And my internist was on the list, too, particularly since he recently signed on also as Long Suffering Spouse's internist -- and he's the one who figured out that she was likely suffering from gallstones.

The gallstones complicated the baking schedule this year.

Usually the baking doesn't finish up until school lets out, or just before. Often, my wife brings her tins for school on the last day before Christmas break... and there still might be one or two varieties as yet unbaked. But this year we knew there'd be surgery, so Long Suffering Spouse was bound and determined to get all the baking done beforehand.

She can be very determined.

The teachers and staff were pleasantly surprised that the cookies came in on Monday. The Rectory and Monastery don't care when the cookies come... so long as they do. And Long Suffering Spouse even let me bring a few tins downtown to distribute to offices where lawyers send me cases....

That left the doctors' cookies to be distributed Tuesday morning. This was made possible by the rescheduling of Long Suffering Spouse's surgery: It had been scheduled for early Tuesday morning, but late last week it got moved into Tuesday afternoon. It wasn't my wife's idea, but this was how she took advantage of it.

So I chauffeured her around Tuesday morning on our way to the hospital. And when we were all done, and on our way to check in, I realized there was still another tin.

"Who's that for?" I asked.

"The OR staff," she said.

"What? You're bringing bribe-o?"

She may have been a little embarrassed by that characterization.

So, naturally, I exploited this. Checking in, she was trying to conceal the tin from prying eyes. But she pulled it out when we finally got to the assigned pre-surgery area. What's this? she was asked.

"Bribe-o," I said, flinching in an effort to avoid the elbow that Long Suffering Spouse sent my way. Not that I didn't deserve it....

And it almost worked: No one could have been tended to better. Or by so many. Almost all of whom offered praise for this variety of cookie or that one.

The plan failed in this respect, however: The hospital still kept her overnight. She didn't want to stay... but she was in no condition to leave.

The bad part? The surgeon and the hospital humored my wife; they said "we'll see" when she voiced her desire to go home on the day of surgery. They told her it sometimes happens. I think it was the anesthesiologist who wasn't in on the plan. She confirmed my suspicions when she told my wife (who had made it a point to tell anyone wearing scrubs that she wanted to go home Tuesday night) that it wasn't her call to make. "It's up to the surgeon," said the anesthesiologist, "but usually for this kind of operation patients are kept under observation for 23 hours after surgery."

Maybe the anesthesiologist didn't like cookies.

1 comment:

Kacey said...

I understand Long Suffering Spouse completely. I had a carotid endarterectomy in August and had the cookies baked and frozen ahead of time. Had "My Honey" bring them in a big plastic tub while I was in the "Constant Care Unit". They gave me great care and nurses from the heart and vascular floor came in and thanked me, too. It worked out great, because I had another big vascular deal in November and those nurses really were nice to me. It never hurts to show people you appreciate them with a cookie or two.