Saturday, August 21, 2010

"She Doesn't Complain."

A hospital is no place to be sick. ~ Samuel Goldwyn

The Wife had to have an out-patient "procedure" the other way, which is doctor-speak for cutting someone open, sticking her back together, and then sending her home. Fortunately, everything went quite well, and things are nearly back to normal around here.

Normally, the big concerns about surgery are complications and infection. In our case, it was getting The Wife past The Dog. As I've mentioned before, we have four dogs: Emily, Tiny, Rosie, and the camera-shy Stinky. All of them are bonded to The Wife, but Tiny is attached body and soul. The Wife can't leave the room without Tiny following her. Should The Wife go somewhere Tiny can't follow, Tiny will come to me and give me the "She's left me!" look. It's similar to the look in the picture at the right side of the blog, except more pitiful.

By the way, Tiny was a puppy then. She's 90 pounds of pure, unconditional love now. So there was concern that we might have trouble getting The Wife into the house without getting serious injuries when Tiny reacted to her return.

Fortunately, The Son is 6 foot 3 inches and, while miserably out of shape, capable of holding a death grip on the dog until we could clear her. Tiny strained but mostly gave us this miserable look that said, "What did I do? I just want to say hello ... and tackle her so she can't go away again!"

Anyway, we survived that, but it took my psyche a while to recover from an incident at the hospital.

I'm sure you're familiar with the drill at out-patient surgery. The patient is taken to be prepped, concerned relatives sit in a waiting room with a television showing utterly boring programs, and eventually, a nurse comes in and calls the patient's name to let you know the ordeal is over.

(If a doctor comes in and calls the patient's name, this is usually not good. It means that something got a lot more complicated. Always pray for a nurse.)

So the nurse comes in, and says, "Gog?" I jumped up and met her at a table where she had some forms and stuff. But, instead of the usual platitudes about how well things went, she said, "Your wife doesn't complain."

Now, to me, that would appear to be a good thing, but there was something very disturbing about her tone. It was flat and yet sort of surprised. So I said, "Well, that's good."

"Yes, but she doesn't complain." Same weird tone. Sort of like a Steven King character, or like Big Lenny saying, "He doesn't move anymore."

So, I tired a little levity. "Heh, heh. We are talking about Mrs. Gog, aren't we?"

"Yes,,,she doesn't complain ..."

Okay, this isn't fun anymore. I asked in all seriousness, "Is she ALIVE?"

"Oh, yes, but she just doesn't complain."

By this time, I just wanted to get through the damnable forms and get The Wife away from this crazy person, so I pointed to the forms and stuff. I didn't hear a word she said about the forms, signing anything she wanted signed. For all I know, I may have bought a condo in Death Valley, but I wanted out of there.

She finally brought The Wife out, who seemed to be in reasonable shape. She was able to communicate, at least as well as someone who's on a gallon of painkillers can communicate. When I mentioned the nurse's statements to her, she just shrugged.

The next day, when the drugs had worn off, I asked her about it again. She agreed it was strange. "Look. I was awake, lying on a comfortable bed, and drugged out of my mind. What would I complain about?"

I don't know. Maybe us 60-year-olds are made of sterner stuff. Maybe the younger patients scream bloody murder getting a wart removed. But, even if not complaining is unusual, it shouldn't cause the spooky sort of tone that nurse used when she said, "She doesn't complain."

I'm still seeing her in my nightmares. Except now, she's looking down at me and holding a really big needle. You know what she says?

"You won't complain, will you?"

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