Thursday, June 19, 2008

Surgery and a broken frig: Complications ensue

Long Suffering Spouse had surgery only last week. Sent home after only 36 hours, she discontinued the really heavy-duty pain medicine only a few days later because she needed to resume her duties as chauffeur.

She's under doctors' orders not to lift anything over 10 lbs. and to limit bending or stooping -- even sweeping and vacuuming are expressly verboten.

It's making her crazy.

She has so much to do, she says, and she can do so little. It's frustrating.

But -- other than that -- she's doing fine. Really. It's only my opinion, but I think she's recovering better and faster than she did last December when she had her gallbladder removed.

Older Daughter was home visiting last week from Champaign -- on a break from nursing school -- but her trip did not become a classic busman's holiday.

Older Daughter arrived before Long Suffering Spouse went into the hospital. Long Suffering Spouse returned home on Wednesday evening and Older Daughter had to go back Downstate on Sunday. It's not that Older Daughter had no opportunity to try out her budding skills as a nurse... but she was most helpful getting her youngest sibling to and from his events and in keeping the dishes from piling up to the ceiling.

Sure, the first couple of days back were rough for Long Suffering Spouse, but she was determined to get back doing something, her limitations notwithstanding, as soon as possible. By Saturday afternoon, Long Suffering Spouse and I were in the stands for Youngest Son's ballgame. No, she couldn't do much... but she could watch. (It's funny -- I think she was genuinely surprised that so passive an 'activity' could be so tiring for one just out of surgery... even after she saw me going through this last year.)

Fast forward to Monday. Late Monday evening Younger Daughter told me that the refrigerator in the basement didn't seem to be cooling properly.

Yes, like a lot of big families we have a frig in the basement... for overflow stuff. It's pretty packed from just before Thanksgiving and through Christmas, and then again at Easter, but during most of the year it just has to keep the spare loaves of bread or the extra gallon of milk. And also stuff that isn't needed right away or maybe ever. Such as Oldest Son's beer from... when? A year ago? He moved out a year ago... so maybe longer than that.

The freezer in the basement frig tends to be more crowded all year round: Market Day meat or veggies, frozen pizzas for emergencies, a turkey carcass for eventual soup stock.... You have the picture.

But on Monday the basement frig was bursting at the seams. As you might expect, Long Suffering Spouse had planned for her recuperation by laying in abundant supplies and preparing as far in advance as possible. She tried to explain that to her own mother... but failed utterly: Abuela had reacted to her daughter's hospital confinement by cooking. And cooking. And cooking. Not everything was actually edible... but all of it took up space. Lots of space.

We had moved that frig from the old house... and it wasn't new then. And now, on Monday, Youngest Daughter was telling me that it wasn't keeping very cool. "I didn't tell Mom," she told me. "I didn't want to bother her."

Tuesday morning I had occasion to inspect for myself. Long Suffering Spouse sent me down for a loaf of bread. It wasn't particularly cold.

Despite Younger Daughter's advice, I told Long Suffering Spouse. Do I look stupid?

Inspection quickly proved that the frig wasn't particularly cold because, in technical terms, it was busted. Meanwhile, Younger Daughter had departed for a two day college orientation, Middle Son had gone to work, and Long Suffering Spouse insisted on letting Youngest Son sleep. So she emptied the frig -- a task that, I am almost certain, involved more bending and stretching than her doctors would have liked -- while I went into the garage and attic for coolers and off to the store for ice. Long Suffering Spouse culled mercilessly, but she still filled a large bag of stuff she wanted Abuela to take back to her house and put in her freezer.

That took awhile. A widow, Abuela lives alone; nevertheless, at least since the promised Armageddon of the Year 2000, Abuela's giant freezer is always full to bursting. Some of the food in there has, no doubt, been there since the year 2000... and some may be older than that.

I think it was late Tuesday afternoon when the repairman showed up to deliver his verdict: The refrigerator could be repaired... but parts for the nearly 20-year old machine are hard to come by. In a week or so, the parts could be found, probably, and these could be installed within a day or two thereafter... and it would cost only slightly more than a new frig.

So Long Suffering Spouse went out yesterday morning and bought a new frig. It is expected some time this afternoon.

And it occurred to me how much of a hassle this would have been under ordinary circumstances -- even if Long Suffering Spouse weren't mending after surgery.

And then the phone rang this morning shortly after Middle Son had left for work. It was Middle Son. He'd been rear-ended. He'd been thrown around a bit in the collision... but he seemed fine when I caught up with him at the police station. And our car fared pretty well, all things considered, given the force of the impact.

And I can't explain how busy it is at work right now. Not when I've taken this much time explaining all this.


Jeni said...

Boy! They say things happen in threes don't they and if that's the case, your threes are over and done with now -surgery, fridge and accident! Next threesome should be positives -well, let's hope so anyway!

landgirl said...

Oh Cur sorry to hear about so much travail. Perhaps it is some consolation that busy at work, hopefully means billable hours to pay for the repairs when the second wave of the bother hits. Small consolation perhaps. Hope LSS is all better soon.

Ben and Bennie said...

TC, that is always the case. Or at least it seems that way. All the bad luck wants to pile on all at the same time.

I recommend you sit back this weekend, grab a much colder brew from the fridge, and watch the ChiSox conquer the Northsiders.

Cristina said...

Wow, that was rough! It's gotta turn around now. Just don't say: It can't get any worse...because it always can. My mother always said that should make us feel better. Never worked for me...

Cathy said...

Goodness, i guess it is true that when it rains it pours. Hopefully things are now more calm. Thank goodness son did not get badly hurt. I'm happy your wife's surgery is over and she is on the mend. The recovery time following surgeries is the hardest.

sari said...

I hope your wife is feeling better!

Our fridge just had cooling issues a few weeks ago, so feel for you.

After I had the baby (via c-section) in October, the only thing I did thoroughly enjoy was the No Vacuuming Edict from my doctor. I sure stretched that one until the full six weeks was up.

Of course, NOTHING was vacuumed in six weeks, but frankly, I didn't care.