What am I thankful for?

A long year that made me grateful

A couple of things come to mind quickly when I am counting blessings. First and foremost is family. My wife was the one who had to endure all of my medical issues throughout that journey. She had to quietly wait and believe everything would come out alright. She had to drop me off at the hospitals and go home on her own and worry. While I don’t remember my complaining too much, she had to listen to me as soon as I was sent home, had to listen to me through the home PT visits and after the outpatient PT appointments. She was the one to push me to do my homework exercises, make sure I was taking the various medications as directed and had to take on all the responsibility of the household. All the cooking, cleaning, maintenance, errands and all. And she felt she could not leave me on my own for very long, so she was as isolated as I was for a while. I am very grateful for all she did and had to put up with.

I have one brother and one sister. We have always been close, but our own style of close. They live near each other and I live about a half hour away. We often go 4-5 months without seeing each other or even talking on the phone, but when we do get together we update each other and talk like best friends. My brother is 9 years younger and had his own serious medical issues at the same time as my surgeries. We checked in with each other fairly often but as guys we didn’t use a lot of words.  We really like spending time with each other, but don’t spend much time on the phone. On the other hand, my sister is 3 years younger than me. She planned her life way better than I did, worked harder and retired several years before I did. She and her Very Significant Other have a house in the northeast and a second in Florida. I highly recommend having a sibling with a house in Florida if you live in a northern climate. So, after the bout with Covid was clear and we were half vaccinated we were lucky enough to be invited to visit the Sunshine State for 10 days. The weather was warm-ish, but very windy. We were on the coast near Daytona and spent quite a bit of time walking, either on the beaches or nature pathways provided by the local county. It was a great break from the medical journey I had been on and helped with the recovery after my hip replacement and before my knee replacement. Since a lot of the venues were still restricted because of Covid our choices were limited, but with lots of mask wearing and patience with modified schedules we visited outside historical sites and beautiful displays of nature. Oh yeah, and we were very well fed by our hosts while there. After returning home,my sister checked on me by phone or text from Florida at least every other day throughout my medical journey and did a lot to keep me sane and keep my sense of humor honed. She was extremely helpful in my recoveries and I will always be grateful for her remote care.

Physical Therapy
Physical Therapy

The other honorable mention for my thanks are the nurses and physical therapists who worked with me. Yeah, I know the doctors are very well trained, have put in many, many hours to be able to practice and diagnose accurately. But their time actually with me (while conscious) was very limited. I am grateful for their hard work preparing to hone their craft. But the nurses and PTs worked closely, hands-on with me through 3 surgeries and during the unknown risks of the Covid virus and were kind, caring, compassionate and professional. Four PTs kept my spirits up while cajoling me to do my exercises at home and responded immediately to my concerns about recovery. They continually adjusted their manipulations and suggestions for my recovery. Kudos to each of them. Altogether, I have had about 10 in home PT visits and 59 appointments at the PT office.

Nursing staff
Those dedicated nurses

I really learned the value added by the nursing staff. For the pre-op sessions each lasting between 1 hour and 3 hours, I was swarmed by as many as 5-7 people, each with a specific job to do. A primary nurse was the conductor of this symphony and her job was to make sure each box was checked, make sure each person knew what they were supposed to do and keep it all moving in a timely manner. For each of the surgeries a nurse introduced herself as my OR nurse and explained she would be with me throughout the procedure. Once the surgeries were complete, a different nurse monitored me as I came out of the anesthesia in the recovery room and made sure I was comfortable, pain free and had a bit to snack or drink. After all was determined to be well, I was transferred to a room or cubicle with yet a new nurse to monitor my recovery from the surgery. In the case of day surgery (the hip and knee) she assessed my condition, arranged for a meal for me, summoned the hospital physical therapists at the appropriate time and prepared me to go home. The prostate surgery came with an overnight hospital stay and three shifts of nurses to see to my care. All together around 30 – 35 nurses saw to my care and made sure I was comfortable throughout the 8 months. I am very grateful for the care I received from the nurses and I have developed a sincere respect for the job they do and how they do it. I knew many of them had put in a lot of hours for the week and had many more to go. They each dealt with other patients, some not as upbeat as I was. They were each kind, caring, compassionate and professional. While I am a curmudgeon at heart, I could find nothing to criticize in 8 months of care. I am amazed at the level of care I received from the nurses. Hats off to each of them. They earned my sincere gratitude and respect.

So what am I thankful for? Well , my health, of course. My wife and family. And all those physical therapists and nurses. OK, OK, and the doctors. But mostly family, PTs and nurses. I am walking +/- 3 miles a day now, doing light yard work and gardening, tending to little pieces of the HoneyDo List and enjoying good health. My wife has convinced me we should take a special trip this fall to finally celebrate and kick off our retirement. More on that later. I am retired, grateful and thankful.

Published by barnberry

Well over aged 60 (well, OK, a lot more than that...) father of one outstanding young woman, unworthy husband of the most patient and talented woman in the world, retired small business owner, lover of all the wrong foods, political junkie and resident of NH. A conservative with a libertarian streak, and a thoughtful, impish, dedicated curmudgeon.

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