Bob hurt his knee on New Year’s Eve while hunting. His right foot got caught on a root and his left leg went sideways. Possibly a torn meniscus, said the minor emergency doc. Go see a specialist if you are still in pain after a week or so. The good news, said the specialist a week later, is that the bones are fine. How about an MRI to see if there’s any other damage?
$500+ out-of-pocket later, the diagnosis was a tear in the meniscus on the left knee. It can heal after 4-6 weeks if the tear is small. Sometimes, arthroscopic surgery repairs the tear. Unfortunately, our insurance wouldn’t pay for surgery unless Bob attempted to strengthen his knee through physical therapy. Three times a week for 4 weeks is what the doctor prescribed.
Physical therapy places are not user-friendly. No late night hours. No weekends. Bob requested early release from work 3 days a week for 4 weeks. His work put him on short-term disability until his knee could be healed or repaired.
After a week of not working and PT, Bob decided it would be a good time to have an abdominal hernia repaired. (Well, since you aren’t doing anything anyway.) It took longer for our family doctor to set up an appointment than it did for the surgeon to get Bob on the surgery schedule.
Last Wednesday, the hernia got repaired. We got home Thursday after an overnight at the hospital. And Bob got me for a nurse.
As a child, I thought I could be a nurse. Even then, my ego winced at having to take orders from a doctor. Maybe a doctor? When I discovered my inability to restrain the gag reflex at the sound, smell, or sight of bodily emissions, I knew that I would never be a doctor or a nurse.
After hugging Bob too hard after surgery and dropping to my knees, crushing his toes when I was trying to help him sock his feet, I slowed down and tried to channel a gentle caregiver. The surgeon came to check Bob’s incision, pointing out the 2 drain tubes on each side of his abdomen with tomato bisque colored fluid accumulating in plastic bottles that dangled like tassels on each side. (Aren’t you taking those out?) (Oh, no. We’ll take the tubes out Monday.)
In the meantime, he told me to empty the drain bottles, measure and record the contents, and immediately report darkening of color or change in odor to his office. I did try to empty the drain bottles, but Bob took them away when I started gagging. (It’s okay, baby. I can do it myself.)
Sunday morning Bob woke me to show me his abdomen which was angry red and blistered under the tape. The blisters were in various stages of weeping and smelled like rotting flesh. We called the doctor’s office and were advised to remove the tape and just leave the area uncovered. (It sounds like you have an allergy to tape.)
Bob started micro-ripping the tape off and I got gaggy. Let me help, I volunteered, quickly ripping the tape off. With tears in his eyes, Bob gasped, “It’s okay, baby. I. can. do. it. myself.”
I think I’m losing credibility as a home health care provider.
Bob goes to the ortho doc tomorrow to schedule surgery on his knee. (One surgery down. One to go!)