EDITOR’S NOTE: SHE’S BACK!!!!! Oh yeah … and here’s a bit about what she’s been up to.
by Linda Shaffer
According to my recollection, which may or may not be very accurate, I haven’t written anything but checks, grocery lists and an occasional card or message since the end of June. That was when we last met in Geezer Tribe. I had picked out a garage door with an opener and a new reverse shoulder joint. Both were awaiting installation. It is with great joy that I can tell you those things did happen successfully. A few other things happened, some not quite so great, but everyone at Shaffer House has lived to tell the story.
After being put to the test of having to take care of me for a year or so, one of Mr. S’s important parts finally gave up and he began hobbling around in pain. As a person with four hip surgeries under her ever-smaller belt, I was able to encourage him along toward the body parts store. I was pretty positive that he would have far better results than I did. It took awhile to make all the arrangements for a shiny new hip with his name on it. Of course he had to wait for my shoulder to heal so that I could take care of him. As good fortune would have it, my shoulder was care-giver ready about the time he retired to his recliner to await surgery. On the day he told me a trip to the dentist was starting to sound good, I knew he was in trouble.
Mr. S has a reputation for being a guy who is always pretty darned happy. If he isn’t, he will find ways to make himself so. If this doesn’t succeed, I will step in to help. I have a rich history of finding ways to make our lives less predictable. Even the kids are always on the look out for things to make him laugh. He has a long-standing agreement with life. His senior yearbook picture sums it up with the following description under his name, “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.” Let’s just say it takes a lot to bring him to a state of misery but his body has managed to do just that a few times. Since he’s not in agreement, he usually moves through these phases as quickly as possible to get them over with. Not so with the hip.
Mr. S does not suffer in silence. Neither does he listen to stories about how good it will be after surgery or how good it could be if he played by ‘the rules’. Rules not established by him are not recognized or given official status. I have seen him pay close attention to his oncologist and a couple of orthopedic surgeons but those moments are rare. He can charm most medical professionals with his wit and he does. Medical details are left to me. His comments regarding medical opinions or advice are usually summed up with one quiet phrase as soon as we are out of earshot. “He (or she) ain’t the boss of me!” This is said in a cockney accent that’s really pretty funny. After more than 40 years, even I still laugh.
From August until his new hip was installed, Mr. S was a wounded giant and I was Big Nurse. This was not a time of matrimonial bliss. I felt sorry for all of us…even Grover, who witnessed the whole thing. We were pathetic. Nov. 3 was the big day. The surgery went off without a hitch but Mr. S wasn’t Mr. Happy on Nov. 4 when I brought him home from the hospital. Most of us who love him were delighted with the outcome. However, it seems that he had missed the part about not healing right away, having some discomfort, necessary exercises and limited activity. His expectation was that his hip surgery would be just like a knee replacement he had in 2018. That would be the one that he sailed through without any pain and very little recovery time.
I tried to help by opening his very informative book about hip surgery to the page called, ‘At Home’. I showed him which exercises his physical therapist had marked. I said cheery things like, “Remember this from when we went to your hip class?” Nobody ever said Big Nurse wasn’t part Cruella DeVille. In return he propped the book up on the floor next to his table, where it has collected dust ever since.
Gosh, we’re good at this. God knows, we’ve had enough practice these past couple of years. I wonder what we’ll do with our time now that we’re both on the mend. Maybe I ain’t the boss of him but I can keep trying can’t I? Have a great week my friends!