The Hammer of Spinal Repair
Caution–lest you think that Josh has suddenly, annoyingly taken to speaking in the third person–this post is written by Josh’s wife, Adrienne, since Josh is not fit to write.
Yesterday Josh had back surgery. Don’t bother with writing us any advice about that now, it’s done! And it went well. He really had exhausted every non-surgical treatment available. Nothing helped. The doctors told him that he might get better without surgery…in FIVE YEARS. Unacceptable. So yesterday at 7 a.m. he had a discectomy. It turns out there were two massive hunks of disk jabbing into his nerve. Now they’re gone. Josh asked the doctors to save the pieces because he wanted to blindfold them, take them out to the desert, and have them shot as traitors in full view of the rest of his body parts (Just to show them “How we handle mutiny in these parts”). Surprisingly, the doctor did not save the pieces. He may have mumbled something about turning down the morphine drip though.
Which brings me to my next point: Josh and drugs. Wow. I don’t know anyone else who is so cheerful, or so loud, immediately following a major surgery. When I came into the recovery area of the surgical center, I could hear him before I could see him. “I wanna ged up!” slurred a deep, drunken voice. “I will race you and I will beat you! Let’s go–parking lot!” That’s my Josh. In fact, the nurses told me that Josh wins the prize for getting up sooner than anyone they had ever seen following back surgery. If you know how competitive Josh can be, you know that makes him enormously happy. He has no recollection of any of this, though. If only they would be willing to sign an affidavit acknowledging his toughness, or perhaps give some sort of medal…the nurse did give Anna a little teddy bear wearing a t-shirt that says, “My operation was BEARABLE at the Central Utah Surgical Center” but I don’t think that’s the same thing. They also told me that while most people can barely do one lap around the post-op room, Josh did three–and they had to force him to lie down again. This was about thirteen minutes after waking him up. That was as long as they could keep him in the bed.
He did have his complaints about the bed, since his feet hang off the end. He loudly told the nurses that if they ever got a grant for the surgical center, they should use it to replace “all these midget beds.”
When I asked him how he was doing, he said he felt like he’d been “hit in the back with a hammer…the hammer of spinal repair!” He was much, much goofier than I thought he’d be. In fact, everyone else in the room was pretty much how you’d expect them to be post-surgery: shaky, very weak, whispering to the nurses etc. (I should explain that the post-operation area is just one big room with the beds separated by thin blue curtains spaced about eight feet apart. Absolutely no privacy.) But what Josh thought was a whisper was more like a super-loud stage whisper. When we heard the lady in the bed next to Josh’s telling the nurse that she wouldn’t get up and walk, Josh “whispered” to me, “The reason most people won’t get out of bed is ’cause they’re pansies. Freakin’ pansies…Rock ‘n’ roll!” (accompanied by the appropriate hand gesture).
I wanted to run next door and apologize to the wimpy lady (she really was kind of a pansy), but I didn’t dare leave Josh. Instead I said, “Shh! You are NOT whispering! You are so on drugs!”
“No, actually I’m feeling pretty clear-headed now. I think they’re wearing off. Listen! Ask me some math! Two times two–four! Two times five–eight!” (a pause while I laugh) “Wait…no….”
He also repeatedly poked me with his finger which had the fingertip heart-rate monitor on it. “I’m checking your nose pulse,” shouted Josh, poking me in the nose. I think it’s safe to say he was stoned out of his mind. At least now I know he’s really funny on drugs, not like those mean druggies, but a friendly sort of guy who also says “dude” a lot.
One other thing about Josh on drugs: he may swear. Remember how he’s “not a swearing man,” unless he’s doing some sort of home repair? Well, we can add another caveat. The nurse was trying to get him to eat something so that the painkillers wouldn’t nauseate him (it ended up being in vain, since he threw up a bunch a little while later). Upon tasting the requested blueberry muffin, Josh exclaimed, “Oh! Oh! That tastes like @#¡! Oh! That @#$% tastes like paste! Burning paste!” Of course this also was not whispered. I quickly got the muffin out of his sight. “This is an acid-muffin! I don’t want an acid-muffin! Why would anyone make an acid-muffin?!”
Besides the Fastest-to-Get-Up Prize, we also won another prize before we left. One nurse told us we were the Cutest Couple-in-the-Surgical-Center. I think that’s because we were the only ones laughing hysterically while walking around the room for the required post-op laps. Unfortunately Josh’s teeny little gown DID cover him just enough. He told me he was hoping to cheer everyone up by showing them his bottom.
I know Josh may have shared his drug-addled cheer (but not his bottom) with some of you yesterday because he was making drunken, shouting phonecalls the entire drive home. Feel free to share, since I can’t be the only one with good Surgery Josh quotes. And in case you’re wondering, he’s a lot more lucid today. He has no more leg pain, the numbness in his toes is gone, and he’s doing pretty well considering he just underwent the hammer of spinal repair.