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I'm most recently a writer.  In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot.  As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades.  An unwilling transplant from the South,  twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US.  Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect.  When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do.  Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Just When You Think. . .

You can finish that sentence any way you like. For me, it goes something like "Just when you think your day's going pretty good, the love of your life hits the floor and your plans for the rest of the year go out the window."

Yep. That was Wednesday. Four o'clock. John on the floor, writhing in pain. One look at his leg and its gruesome new contours, and I calmly dialed 911. I do know our limits and this far exceeds them.

Hours later, after a 30 mile ambulance ride and some excruciatingly painful X-rays, he was admitted to the hospital where he had his original knee replacement done and we anticipated surgery there the next morning. Come morning, however, his surgeon, Dr. M, decided more expertise would be required to handle this and placed a call to KU Medical to a specialist. When I met with Dr. M, a caring, truly involved physician who like so many in smaller rural hospitals is overworked and often frustrated by the lack of resources, he commented that he'd been awake most of the night trying to figure out what to do. I could have told him I'd done the same, but I'm pretty sure he already knew that. He showed me the X-rays and we both shuddered at the same moment. It's ugly, to put it mildly--two fractures so close to the prosthesis it's hard to imagine those bones ever supporting weight again. He explained there's a doctor in Kansas City who actually fixes this kind of thing, after which his partner puts in a revised prosthesis. Nice to know we're not the first, anyway.

So here we are, three hours from home, taking up residence in a hospital room for not sure how long. The surgery this afternoon went well. Now we hope to say the same for the healing. The surgeon described the metal plate and the special screws in some detail, but I kind of let that go right over my head. I asked the usual questions about recovery--how long, how difficult--refraining from describing the challenges of living in a 19th century house on a limited budget, not to mention the limits to my nursing skills and physical strength. Those are things for the discharge planner to help with, anyway. 

Tonight, he's sleeping peacefully. He was a little weird coming out of the anesthesia and I think the staff in the recovery room--who all looked about old enough to graduate from high school--suspected he had some form of dementia. I explained to them he was just drunk, not a condition he's ever really been in, but I felt sure it was something that would wear off. It has. Thank God! My prayers have been first and foremost that no matter what happens with his leg, he'll come out of this the same John I've loved all these years. I wasn't at all amused by his drunken ramblings, I can assure you!

So now we enter the wait and watch. Even the doctor admits he doesn't know what to expect, only what to hope for. We've spent the first half of this year getting to this low point. Now the uphill journey begins.

There will be adjustments, not the least of which being I will no longer hold down a job outside of caring for my husband. I'll miss the paycheck, but we'll figure out how to manage on less. We've done it before. I'm already trying to think of ways to rearrange the first floor to better accommodate our needs now. Just thinking about it makes me tired, but I won't have to do it alone. One nice thing about children and grandchildren is the extra pairs of hands and feet available. And everyone seems motivated by this latest crisis. "Papa" didn't realize how valued he was until now, I'm sure.

When I posted last, I had in mind one kind of battle. Now the stakes are even higher. Many of our questions are the same, such as what caused these falls in the first place. They'll do some tests while he's here to look for that. But more than anything, the question of how well those bones will knit, and how strong his leg can become again, looms foremost. For that answer, we just have to be hopeful and patient in the weeks ahead.

I have to make one final note about the past few days. Say what you will for social media, the community of "friends," from readers to fellow writers to longtime friends and family, have stepped up to offer overwhelming support to us. Many are perfect strangers we'll never meet face to face, but the love and prayers they've sent our way feels very personal--as warm and comforting as real hugs, I assure you. I often feel alone here, but this week, I learned I should never feel that way given the outpouring of good wishes and positive energy coming our way. I'm grateful to have lived to see the world grow so small.

More to come here as we go forward. Meanwhile, hug your loved ones and say thank you to whatever power you believe in for the gift of every "ordinary" day you spend together. Just when you think this is all there is to life, there will be more. 

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