1.28.2011

That Whole 'Sickness & Health" Thing

After my parents forked over the price of a sleek foreign-made sports car for my college education, I decided that I should have studied something else.  I spent 4 years in the education department:  cutting, gluing, coloring, reading, and making file folder games.  But, it wasn't long after graduation that I wished I had done something else.

Nursing school.

I should have gone to nursing school.

I have thought a couple of times through the years about dropping everything and joining up in the program.  Don my scrubs and get to work saving the world...or at least a person or two. But then I had babies.  And decided to homeschool.  And I live at the baseball field 9 months out of the year.  And.And.And.  And none of those things are conducive to nursing programs.

But this week I was granted the opportunity to stretch my nursing legs.  To see if I had the right stuff.

I don't.

Clearly.

I don't.

This week I have played nurse to the husband.  And I discovered very quickly that the scrub-life ain't for me.  A very very quick discovery, I might add.

It all started Tuesday morning.

Kirk went to the gym.  Like normal.  He worked out.  Like normal.  He was walking.  Like normal.  And he fell.  Like NOT normal.

Turns out Kirk's busted ACL (which he's known about for a year now, and had a surgery to take care of it on the books for March) decided to go ape-wild, and when Kirk hit the floor at the gym, his cartilage went ape-wild with it.  After trying to get it "popped" back into place and failing miserably, he called me and said, "Get me to my doctor.  Stat."

So off we went.  The ortho doc is about a 30 minute drive from us, so we loaded up the entire crew and headed that way, fully expecting the doctor to pop the knee back in place and send him home with a handful of pain pills and a pat on the back.

Ixnay on the going omehay.

Turns out the doctor couldn't get it popped back in either, and he scheduled Kirk for urgent surgery THAT DAY.  Whahuh?  That was not what I had planned for my day when I woke up that morning.

Long story short...we got the kids squared away, we had A VERY ROUTINE surgery done, and we went home.  With a fistful of pain pills and a pat on the back.

And so began my nursing career.

Just so happens that my first AND LAST patient can't just do things normally.

We spent Tuesday night and Wednesday day and night at home on the most powerful pain meds that a person can take by mouth. And it was the most excruciating day and nights that I have ever spent.  And I birthed 3 babies...without pain meds. 

Yes.  It was that bad.

After waking up Thursday morning and being in even more pain, we headed to the Physical Therapy center per dr's orders...because MOST ACL patients start therapy 2 days out.

The husband isn't normal.  Remember?

The therapists took about 3 looks at him and said, "This ain't right, Mister.  Get thyself to thy doctor."  (Although I think I'm just making up the redneck/King James voice in my head...but that's how I remember it.)

So after talking to the doctor's office, we very gingerly made our way back the 30 minute drive to his ortho.  Every move and bump and brake of the car caused him to grimace and use his not-pretty words.  I seriously had never seen anything like it....

Until...

He got in the doctor's office.  When the doc started tinkering around with the husband's knee, I thought all hell was going to break loose.  The doctor's face turned a strange shade of green and sheer panic stretched across his face.  And (in my memory) in his very best redneck/King James, he said, "This ain't right, Mister.  Get thyself to the hospital." 

So here we sit.  We're going on 24 hours in the hospital on some pretty hardcore pain meds. 

And here's what we know:  NOTHING.

Seriously.  Nothing.  The doctor just came in to see him, and, basically, they have no idea what caused Kirk to not respond to the pain medication.  They've run tests and done x rays, and everything about this very routine surgery checks out as very very normal. 

They just don't know.

And right now, we are just having to be okay with the not knowing part.

We do have a plan though.  Kirk is right now being taken off of his drip drugs with the magic button that he gets to push every 6 minutes, and they are moving him over to pain meds by mouth.  And then we wait.  If he can tolerate it through the night, then we go home.  If it goes crazy again, then we stay and rehook to the drip. 

It's hard to not know.
To watch this big ole' burly man cry real salty tears because the pain is so ridiculous.
To see him hurt.
It's hard to wait.
And watch.
And sleep on these horribly awful foldout pieces of plywood that they call "Family Beds." 

One thing I do know though....

No nursing school for me.  I've had enough.

Nope. 

I'm sticking with the flight attendant dream.

Peanuts, anyone?

15 comments:

Gretchen said...

Sending hugs & praying on. I'd like some peanuts.

Bridget said...

I'm so sorry about Kirk, and I hope he starts to respond to the pain meds by mouth and begins to feel better soon.

Three babies without pain meds...wow!!

Mich said...

and there I thought the medical dream stopped when Doogie Howser went off the air.

Of course your beautiful family has certainly giving you lots of nursing experience through the years! Love you all bunches!

Hope Kirk feels better real soon.

lisa@littlesliceoflife said...

I'm seriously disappointed you didn't post a picture of the "creepy baby in a glass box".

Perhaps for entertainment tonight you could rip that crucifix off the wall and reenact scenes from The Exorcist.

Too irreverent?

Angie said...

Praying the hubby will be out of pain SOON!
Also praying for you and the rascals.
I've always thought stays in the hospital would be a lot more bearable if they'd hand out gift bags to the spouses.
Nothing big, just a few xanax and a nice pillow!
Love you all.

Nina Diane said...

oh no...sounds dreadful. Hope he is ok soon. I just can't even imagine! hugs....

Jim said...

Amb,
Thinking about Kirk and you, Babe! He's in our prayers.

You did all right as a...what do you call it...a pink lady...or something like that...in the hospital. Over the years, nursing and even doctor, M.D., like, have been "dreams"!

As long as you're happy, Babe, that's the ticket! By the way, as I type, I'm munching on pistachios - I've heard they're good for you!

Love you,
Jim-Dad

Ellen said...

Amber, I feel your pain sister!! My husband, Robert, tore his ACL playing flag football this fall. It was a complete tear and he walked around on it for several days before even going to the doctor. So, my husband is no wimp. But from the minute he woke up from the surgery, it was horrible. I kept saying something must be wrong, because he was in such pain. The nurses were acting like he was being a big baby, but I knew he could handle pain. It really made me concerned. Then they wanted to see him back at the office the day after his surgery for a checkup!! I was thinking, what is wrong with these people. Even the most slight move made him so sick he would get nauseated (sp?) and I had to try and load him in the van without moving his leg and get him into the ortho's office. He couldn't even sit in the waiting room without extreme pain. Then they started proding all over the incession and he got as white as a ghost and nauseated from the pain. He was off work for two weeks and he needed every minute of that to recooperate. That was in November and he has just finished his therapies and is almost back to normal. I still wonder though, if something wasn't quite right, because he had such severe pain. I hope that they are able to get Kirk's pain under control and it turns out to be nothing major.

New Every Morning said...

It is an awful feeling to see your burly man who doesn't shed tears, cry out in pain. I know. I've been there. I'm SOOOO incredibly sorry. Sending hugs and prayers (but they are not being said in King James Version, more like the Message).

theelizabethhighsmith said...

i hereby crown you florence nightingale, you've been through the ringer, flo, get thy self and thy mister some rest soon, i'll pray it true!

Nancy said...

I hope tomorrow is a better day - I will pray for that.

Sandy said...

You are a riot! And I think your "calling" is author... you are a great writer.
I think every girl/woman at one time or another wants to be a nurse. For Gretchen, it lasted about 3 weeks... which is good since she can't tolerate ANYTHING medical. But she took good care of her honey when he was laid up TWICE with his leg! However, I was the one to give him a shot every day ("no thank you", she said when they started to show her how to give the injections, "I have a mom/nurse next door who will take care of that..."
I hope they get Kirk's pain under oral control really soon & that his rehab will be uneventful. Praying for all of you!

Marla Taviano said...

I am so, so sorry, friend. Praying for Kirk RIGHT NOW. I can't even imagine.

p.s. I was a nursing major for 2 quarters and then we watched some video that had blood in it, and I switched to elementary education. Gabe came home from a b-ball game this afternoon with a gash in his cheek and I about threw up.

Ginger@From The Cocoon said...

I absolutely love reading your perspective on life....you crack me up...in a good way :)

Seriously, you're an awesome wife....nurse? hmm...maybe not...hope Kirk heals quickly and life gets back to "normal"

Christi said...

Oh, wow. Not fun stuff. Hopefully things will get better fast!

You are even able make bad stories so funny! :)

I'm with you...I couldn't last 5 minutes...literally...as a nurse!

Sorry things are not going well! Prayers for things to improve...

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