Wednesday, May 30, 2012


May 30, 2012

Maximillian completed his third full week post-op and began his first week as an boatsman.  Cue The Smother's Brothers at the Purple Onion--1965 (you can hear it all starting about halfway through this clip:, where you can hear Tom preface the track "Dance, Boatman Dance" with an eccentric comment about the seafarers who “go into town and pick up their oars.”

NOTE:  This is NOT an appropriate entry for America's Funniest Home Video.

He looks so serene, and I imagine the whole experience must feel really liberating after 19 days of bed to bathroom, bathroom to recliner, recliner to kitchen table, and kitchen table back to bed.  And that is the benefit of planning!

And when I say planning, I mean Black Op-level planning.  We spent last weekend doing reconnaissance and considering supplies, technology, and equipment.  We mapped and re-mapped access routes and spent just as much time on the return route.  We broke the process down to stages and phases and practiced them in the living room.  Then we did a dry run:  out the back door on crutches, transfer to wheelchair, across the porch and deck, through the carport, down the ramp, through the yard, over and around various cypress knees, and we finally made it to the dock.

Transferring from the wheelchair to the boat required the most planning and practice, but the advance work to stage all the equipment was substantial as well.  

Maxi will have his foot x-rayed on Friday and we will know a little more about what his roadmap looks like.  I'm hoping for at least a skosh more weight-bearing.  A good report from the doctor will lighten my guilt for leaving town Saturday as I head to DC to do a little business in the childhood cancer world.  

Friday, May 25, 2012


May 25, 2012

You learn so much when you have to take over someone else's responsibilities.  I have depended on Maximillian for years, actually decades, to change the air filters for the A/C system.  Today he supervised and I did the labor.  He does this every month.  I can only imagine what the filter would look like if I had been in charge, because if the filter can trap that much dust in a month, imagine how much would be there if you waited 29 years.

And apparently, I'm not capable of preparing the dogs' breakfast. . . at least according to them.  There are written instructions.  I follow them to the letter.  And yet?  It just doesn't taste the same.  Everyone picks at their food and leaves more than half before discouragement sets in and they wander off in hopes of a better menu elsewhere.  Well, that's not exactly true.  Uma has eaten it all, every day but the one day she had a stomach bug and left evidence of the malady on Walter's office floor.  But Uma doesn't really count because she is like Mikey from the Life cereal commercial:  she'll eat anything.

What else?  

The dishwasher doesn't breakdown or even protest if you run it more than once a day.

Pomegranate juice costs much more than you expect.

If you want the figs to ripen, you have to water every other day.

You never really understand how many glasses of water a 200 pound man raised in the desert drinks each day, until you have to bring him each glass.  I have started leaving them in strategic spots around the house like Hansel and Gretel leaving bread crumbs on the path.

It's really impossible to walk the dogs as much as they prefer.

The sounds of crutches moving slowly and methodically around a house would be an excellent way to create suspense and terror in a horror movie.

Screws, Bolts, and Staples may be in Maximillian's right foot, but it would also be an outstanding name for a rock band.

Sleeping alone is overrated.

Friday, May 18, 2012


May 18, 2012

I had a very good day.  We celebrated my friends Shirlene's and Lisa's birthdays at Christopher's (surely, I  misused my apostrophe key at some point in this sentence).  The really cool thing was that our server was talking about our table back in the kitchen about how she was getting to serve the table with the "fun ladies."  Another server came out to see who we were, and it turns out he was our server last year.  He was very jealous!  We, on the other hand, were just sated.

Maximillian had his first follow up doctor's appointment since his surgery.  Unexpectedly, his Five (5) incisions had healed enough that they removed his stitches and put him in a fiberglass cast.  He still has zero-weight bearing instructions (which believe me, is very inconvenient), but at least we know that his big toe is aligned with his nose and he is improving.

Zero-weight bearing has real consequences.  For one, you can't even carry your own glass of water to wherever you want to drink it (unless where you want to drink it is right by the refrigerator).  When you move from place to place, you are limited to whatever you can put in your pocket, whatever you can balance on your head, or whatever your friends and/or relatives will carry for you.

Maximillian was okay with that at first.  A couple of days after I DC'd his IV nerve blocks he started using his On Q carrying bag (without the little grenade-shaped nerve block device inside) to carry his Blackberry around his neck as he moved from room to room.  

But every day that passes, he wants to carry more things.  So, Maximillian asked me to find him a bag big enough to carry his phone and his nook tablet and his miscellaneous stuff.

The solution?  Look through Erin's vast store of purses, bags, and carryalls.  I found the perfect pouch:  just the right size, just the right strap, just the right features, just the right color.  Whenever Maximillian wears it he is inspired to "suck it up" like Erin always did and charge forward.

Of course, it helps that it matches his ensemble, and makes him a a styling' guy.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


May 17, 2012

Do you remember $10,000 Pyramid (or $25,000 Pyramid or whatever it got up to with inflation)?  The premise of the show, hosted by Dick Clark (and now we know the Mayans were right about the world ending in December 2012, because he won't be here to rock in the new year), was that contestants paired with celebrities tried to guess a series of words or phrases based on descriptions given by their partners.  Of course, there was the mandatory ticking clock with a pretty short time limit.  And of course, the "big money" phrase was always a lot harder than the earlier ones.

So I think Walter and I could win the "big money," especially if the clue were Things That Are Slow.  

I might start with the coy clue of "day after the MLB All-Star game."  Look it up.  It is historically the slowest day in sports.  I might ramp up to "three-toed sloth," then throw in the teaser of Chuck Berry's "My Ding-a-Ling," purportedly the slowest single to climb the charts to #1.  But we would clinch when the clock was almost down to zero by offering the clue "Healing from Complicated Foot Surgery."

This just does not go fast.  In fact, it's kind of like this (watching pain dry), only less fun:

Saturday, May 12, 2012


 May 12, 2012

Maximillian made it outside today for the first time since Wednesday morning, save for the transition from the hospital to the van and the van to the house on Thursday.

No marathons or dance halls yet, and this sweet ride doesn't work that well in the house because our floor plan requires a smaller turn ratio.  Still, its good to see him upright (which is what all the cool chicks say about their men).

Thursday, May 10, 2012


May 10, 2012

Home doesn't often operate as a verb, but sometimes it just becomes one and reverberates until it has your attention.  Maximillian made it home from the hospital around 2:00 this afternoon, and that's the way it felt to him.  

I need to get out and walk Willie and Teddy between rain showers, but I wanted to demonstrate Nurse Teddy and Nurse Willie skilled nursing techniques.

I also wanted to give you another opportunity to participate in the health and maintenance of Maximillian's foot.  Let me introduce Maximillian's two new best friends, as shown in the above photo with Willie.  They don't yet have names.  Maximillian suggested Heinrich and Fredrich to keep with the teutonic theme.  I thought he might name them Mitt and Barack, so he could remember to use one in his left hand and one in his right.  Any other thoughts for crutch names?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


May 9, 2012

Adult hospitals just don't have much advantage over children's hospital (except the definite all-time best thing--that they have many fewer sick or injured kids).  The pre-op room did not have awesome toys for Walter to ride around on while he passed the hours.  Nor did I have a soothing rocking chair to still my nerves.  There were NO adult life specialists circulating with art projects or blowing distracting bubbles.  I guess on the up side, CNN rather than Dora, the Explorer provided the soundtrack to my afternoon.

The worst difference was that I don't have a trustworthy nurse phoning out to the waiting area every two hours, giving me the update.  In fact, it is almost 5:00 and I haven't talked to a nurse since 12:30.  I'm pretty sure they won't have Gatorade and purple popsicles in recovery.  

For those following the action, here is a pre-procedure photo of Maximillian's size 13B prize right foot.

Monday, May 7, 2012


May 7, 2012

I don't mention Walter very often on this page, except to point out how remarkable he is and how much I love and appreciate him.  I think he glances at the page from time to time, but only when he is extremely bored.  That (my mentioning him, not him reading Let's Do It!) may change in the next couple of days.  Walter is having foot surgery on Wednesday, and I'm reprising my role as tertiary house nurse (supporting Head Nurse Teddy and 1st Assistant Nurse Willie).  I hope to negotiate a deal with the patient, where I can share endearing and perhaps humorous tales with the public, without stretching the matrimonial pledges of trust too much.  What a great way to kick off National Nurses Week! 

Or perhaps I would be on safer ground if I proposed to you that from time to time this summer I will publish a fictional account of imagined encounters with an unknown person (perhaps I will call him Maximillian) recovering from a non-specific malady who has very limited mobility.

Here's an installment:

In anticipation of having at least ten weeks of non-driving and an uncertain number of weeks out of commission at the gym (did you know that Maximillian was a seven-day-a-week workout guy?), Maximillian bought a rowboat (do not think I mis-typed the phrase rowing machine) to attempt to get some cardio in while he recovered.  Now we just have to hope that he gets back on his feet and into the gym before drought conditions re-emerge and the lake disappears again.

Here are your two assignments until the next post:
  1. Maximillian's rowboat needs a name.  Please suggest your first choice.
  2. If you have had foot surgery, give me a hint what I might expect.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Sleep Less

May 4, 2012

Of all the things I imagined about Wednesday night, waking up at 1:08, screaming, grabbing my back, and stripping my pajama bottoms off were not among them.

Now, I am left to ponder how I could have possibly angered the gods so much that they would have slipped a scorpion under the covers and down my pants right in the middle of my RIM sleep pattern.

You can tell this is not the scorpion that stung me four times in the small of my back as I slept.  For one thing I would have photographed the real scorpion on my Rembrandt rose colored Lands End sheets, not the stucco pictured here.  For another, my scorpion would have looked much flatter, smashed over and over in my frenzy by Walter's size 13 shoe until it lay in unrecognizable small clumps on the floor.

Lest you worry, the damage from this incidence is minor, except for the lost sleep (which is inevitable, because really, who wants to get back into bed after this happens?  At that point, there is no end to the places where your imagination takes you--though in honesty, all of them involve feeling small things crawling across your skin in places you can't see or reach.).

I have to say that I was mightily disappointed in Teddy, the guard dog, who has made the case for the last three years that she deserved to sleep IN THE BED with me and Walter so she can PROTECT US AT EVERY TURN.  I don't think she woke up until after I had stripped to the buff and pounded my assailant into paste.

I also mentally composed a letter of apology to my mother at some point as I sat in my sleepless state waiting for the morning to come.  Years ago, she was stung by a scorpion while gardening.  I won't describe in detail where she was stung, but you can form your own mental picture by imagining a scorpion in the grass swinging its barbed tail up to sting someone squatting to pull weeds.  I believe I had learned in Girl Scouts that the appropriate first aid for scorpion stings required a tourniquet between the sting site and the heart.  And I always founded it incredibly funny to remind her that it would have been nigh impossible for her to follow that advice.  Now it doesn't seem funny at all.



Wednesday, May 2, 2012


May 2, 2012

Allow me to present Elizabeth Bustos, the 2012 Erin Buenger Scholarship recipient!  She wants to study early childhood education and her teachers rave about her--not just her academic success and the host of activities she is involved in, but about the strength of her character.