Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Driving the Senior Husband to Surgery

I have had some weird flu bug all week, I think.  It remains low grade and bothersome but hasn’t evolved into a full scale attack.  The reason I say I think is because I am also facing an ordeal of a lifetime so my symptoms may be entirely psychosomatic.  This ordeal is that for the first time since he was an infant, Jim is going into the hospital for surgery. It is cataract surgery.

Remember, he is Felix Unger from the Odd Couple so this means that this is being micromanaged down to the tiniest detail. As he read his instructions last night aloud, we got to the point where he isn’t allowed to take a taxi to and fro.  He has to be with a responsible adult (me). Ah, so there are other couples where a last ditch bailout was tried but Cleveland Clinic clipped their wings.  I might have known.

He also made a few announcements.  He will be doing the driving to the surgery.  I just need to do the return driving.  I knew this before it was announced.  There is no way the world’s worst back seat driver was going to let me drive him to it. Complete radio and CD music silence will be maintained so as to maximize safety, of course.  (Gosh, I wish I could strap his yapper with the seat belt, as pictured to the right, for this drive home.) 

“The surgeon said I will be awake and can talk to her during the operation and ask questions,” he continued. Wow, will she live to regret those words. He will want to know everything. I am so glad I will be in the waiting room. As I write this, I notice the headache I've had for three days is getting worse.  I need to take some pain reliever.

Later, after a shower and two big Aleve capsules, my headache is better.

I am writing this diary like entry so other spouses or significant others can study it for when they find themselves in my position. Let's face it, if you are 65 or over, this is the best you can expect for the future, i.e. outpatient surgery on body parts going to seed. I was hoping to find a joke book about one's first trip to the hospital but here are the books on first hospital trips. I'd say Jim is overdue by about sixty years for his first hospital trip.

I am going to write the rest of this during the experience itself tomorrow. Right now it is time for  a nice big Tanqueray Gin Gimlet.

I woke this morning to find Jim hovering over me asking me about my shoes. He was saying he didn't like the traction on my boots and the fact that they were slip ons with velcro.  He thought I needed lace ups for driving. It was with those words, for driving, that I realized what was going on, that he was micromanaging my shoes for driving. Even though there is tons of snow outside, I gave up my boots for our compromise shoes, my European Danskos, shown above left, which are among the sturdiest shoes ever made.  First crisis over.

We are here now, sitting in the waiting room. I just asked if he was nervous about his surgery and he said, no, that he was nervous over the drive home, mostly my driving him home. I swear, if I could get away with conking him on the head and stuffing him in the trunk with a gag, I would do it. That is how I would like to make the drive home with him.

They just took him in for his surgery.

The surgery is really fast.  He was awake during it but he was such a bundle of nervous energy, they ended up giving him the maximum amount of sedative.  He emerged goofy as hell.  Happy but goofy. While I am driving, he is driving with a pretend steering wheel in his head from the passenger seat! Both of our arms are at the ten o'clock and two o'clock positions on our steering wheels.  He's also got on wrap around dark glasses only making him look goofier.

It is our custom to always stop for a meal after surgery in celebration for making it through.  We have done this after each one of my surgeries. So we go to Moosewood in Bay Village and have our favorite Lake Erie perch lunch.

Then it is driving the rest of the way home where directions are given to me about how to drive better every step of the way. Never have I so appreciated missing a big chunk of my hearing.

We are both laying down now.  I have to take him back to the surgeon in the morning for his day after check up.  So it will be another ride from hell but at least the surgery is over for this week.  We do this same surgery on the other eye next week. My three day headache is gone and temporarily at least, I am feeling much better.


  1. Carol, that is hysterical. Jim is so lucky this is his first surgery as it is a piece of cake. I can see better than I could in 7th grade.
    Al used to be a terrible passenger. He would be messing in the glove compartment adjusting anything you could adjust. He is better now.

  2. Omg so funny I totally relate for no reason love the blog waiting for the next