Always trust your brother to give you the unvarnished truth. Brothers keep you grounded. Just when you are feeling proud and special, they remind you that instead of a Star Wars action figure, you once asked Santa Claus for a Wonder Woman doll. Mothers think you are special, so they ensure that Santa puts the Wonder Woman doll in your stocking. They were impressed that you were expressing your feelings and had the courage to go against the grain at such an early age. Spouses devour the Wonder Woman story because it’s cute. They love you despite your poor six-year old judgment. Whether it’s a brother who reminds you when you do wrong, a mother whose son can do no wrong, or a wife who knows her husband can do plenty wrong, but loves him anyway, family provides a net to fall into when something is wrong.
“Make sure you arrange for help when you get home. Whether it’s family or a friend, you will need someone to help you when you return home from the hospital.”
This was the advice from Kathy, a nurse at my pre-op class. She gave me a lot of information on what to expect during my hospital stay and after I returned home, but I had the “helping hands” section covered.
For months, Stacie, my wife, has been mentally preparing for my arrival home from the hospital. In fact, Stacie may be the only person dreading my surgery more than me. I think I have a high pain tolerance. But, in 2008, Stacie lived through my recovery process after my hip arthroscopy and apparently, I was not the model patient. She deals with enough whining and I don’t blame her for not wanting another complainer in the house. But regardless of my condition, Stacie will be the tip of the spear in Operation Doug’s Recovery.
Instead of taking vacation, my mother and step-father are flying from Vancouver to help. The nurse said I should clear the house of all clutter and objects that could cause me to trip and fall. Not only has my mother offered to help keep the house clean, but she and Pat will also be taking care of three clutter creating tripping hazards who will be excited to see their Daddy after four days in the hospital.
The hospital will give me some tools which should ease the family’s burden. I’ll get a Long Handled Sponge with Contour Head, a Dressing Stick and, my favorite, the Dual Handle Sock Assist. If I’m lucky, I may return home with a 3-in-1 commode that serves as a seat and a portable toilet. Kathy said, “You can even use it to go to the bathroom in your living room.” Tempting, but we’ve had enough people going to the bathroom in our living room over the past six years. Besides, I cannot afford to have the tip of the spear suddenly pointed at the patient.
I’ll be in good hands when I get home from the hospital. But what matters most is not home cooked meals, a clean bedroom and a comfortable toilet seat. What matters is my Mom and Pat care to be here; my extended family will be sending their get well wishes; my Dad will be watching over me; three monkeys will attack me when I get home from the hospital; and, Stacie’s face will be the first I see when I wake up from surgery.
My brother and his family live in NYC, but I’ll look forward to hearing from them too, even if it’s in the form of an e-card with Wonder Woman wishing me a speedy recovery.