Have you seen Blackbeard's gold hidden in this here cave?

If your idea of a good time is dropping a roll of toilet paper down the john and repeatedly trying to flush it, then you should just love narcotics because that’s what they do to the human excretory system. How can a person even want to get high on something that makes him constipated? It just ain’t dignified. Besides, pills are for sick people.

I thought I had stopped them yesterday (two days after surgery), but pain woke me up in the wee hours this morning, so I took first one Percocet and, when that didn’t work, another. I called the physician’s assistant today, and, to my great surprise, she said that most people take narcotics day and night for several weeks after shoulder surgery. She also said that patients tend to migrate from their beds to their recliners.

I was in such pain last fall that the only relief I could find was in a recliner that Peggy bought with her inheritance from her grandmother (and even then I could only stay halfway comfortable for a few minutes at a time). Now that I’m having to sleep with my lower arm sticking straight up into the air, maybe I will have to move back to Granny's recliner.

Peggy took a week off to stay with me, and I don’t know what I will do when she goes back to work—or when she leaves on her two trips in April. It’s not just the practical help; it’s having someone to keep me company now that there isn’t much I can do with myself. I can’t lift anything; I can’t take my arm out of my sling; I can’t even turn my palm up. If I break any of these rules, I risk pulling the stitches out, and that would leave me worse off than I was before the surgery. This is a state of affairs that will have to last for at least 42 days. The worst part is knowing that, no matter how careful I am, the stitches might come out anyway.

I’m enclosing some pictures of myself in my get-up. The black thing is my sling, and it comes with a thick pad that holds it several inches away from my body. The blue thing is a bladder that I have to fill with ice water several times a day. I wear the sling and the bladder all the time. The cooler is what the ice water stays in. I don’t always carry it in my hand as if I’m so stoned on narcotics that I think I’m in a cave holding a lantern.

You will note that I look like an axe murderer who is trying to pass himself off as a friendly sort of regular guy. That is because Peggy made me smile. If Peggy didn't make me smile, I would look quite handsome, but Peggy hates me and wants me to look ridiculous, so every time she takes my picture, she insists that I smile. I always say that I don’t want to smile, but she makes funny faces and silly noises until I do, and it is then that she takes my picture. People with cameras have been doing this shit to me for sixty years, and I hope they all fall down the shaft of the mine that I’m exploring with my lantern.

The hand-carved bowl on the wall was my Granny’s dough bowl that she received as a wedding gift on Sand Mountain in Alabama in 1896. It's made of the wood of the Tulip Tree. At a little under 200 feet, the Tulip Tree is the largest tree in the eastern U.S. and is the state tree of Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. It also grows where planted here in the Willamette Valley. I’ll enclose a photo of its leaves and flowers.


His kajirah said...

Sheesh Snow you're in quite a sling there. The cooler looks as if you could be straining your other arm by carrying it. Maybe it just looks bigger in the picture. Am glad you shared the pic. Am curious as to how your incision(s)look. Maybe after you get these things off, you can share a picture of that too?

Know how you mean about wanting to find relief in your recliner even if it doesn't last long. Any time of feeling less pain is better than no time. Nearly all last year this one used a recliner for the most part. Even slept in it. Don't have it anymore though, not since buying our new home. Am thinking though of moving to the rocking chair that's in this room as part of things that can be used for comfort. It wasn't until you mentioned the recliner that one realized and rememberd it would be more comfortable for moments at a time than it is to sit at the edge of the bed in indian style, having to prop pillows under each upper legs or they ache like heck. The pic that was added to her own blog was quite icky, they were taken during first bandage change. He changed her bandages again today. No pics lol. He said things look good back there though.

It must be very difficult for you to not use your arm. It's an automatic reaction to do so.

Be easy on you.
Wishing you pain eased days and nights.


Lisa said...

snow my friend- you MUST go and do a google image on the HERMIT card from the Rider Waite tarot deck- you are the image if it, only he hold a lamp where you hold a large container of water.........
the other interesting point is that you are both wise older men, who think alot, ponder and question their reality........
you look well snow and i am glad you are getting about and not riddled with pain ......sending love xx

Chrisy said...

yes well peggy obviously hates you...makin you smile...and looking after you....i've heard that shoulder surgery is horrible ...very painful...you seem to be doing really well considering...I wonder how you'd go on lighter painkillers that don't have such dire consequences...what a relief tho that you can still type...

Natalie said...

Hello my fellow axe murdering buddy! Cute photo, I must say, I am glad Peggy took it. :D

I am still concerned about you being alone after such a big operation, is there some people that could help you outwhile Peggy is away?

Should I still send the kids over for you?

Sending love as everx

Michelle said...

I am with you on the toilet paper issue....so yuk.

You look pretty handsome even if she did make you grimace for her Snow.

My comments always bounce back from here so I hope you get them :)

Snowbrush said...

Cali, the cooler isn't really THAT big. Must just be the picture. I just redid it, so maybe it will look more accurately sized. Yes, it is hard for me not to use my arm. I have to remind myself all day long to let it go limp so the sling can support it.

Lisa, I WILL look up the Hermit card.

Hey, Chrisy, you look pretty comfortable there under that beach umbrella, while I'm stuck here under an old shrub full of bees. I think the narcotics will be okay. This time around, I at least knew enough to start with stool softeners, lots of fruit, and so forth.

MIchelle, I don't know what you mean about your comments bouncing. Do you mean they simply don't show up?

"...are there some people that could help you outwhile Peggy is away?" Natalie

Yes. I will lack conveniences not necessities. For example, I really could use some help bathing, but I can't think of anyone I really want to ask, although I think some people would.

Michelle said...

No, I checked now and I see they are here...I just get a bounce back email saying they were undeliverable......blogger is fibbing!

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

Hi Snowbrush. When you are feeling a little better, it might be worth finding a chiroprator that does cranial osteopathy. It's really gentle (involves just light manipulation of the head) but has a profound affect on the rest of the body. I had some last week and the pain relief is quite exraordinary - even helped my foot! Just a suggestion there to mull over if you wish! Hope we can all help to keep you company whilst you are on your ownsome, don't hesitate to ask friends and neighbours for help if you can. Good luck x

Snowbrush said...

Great news, Michelle. I'm so glad your messages are making it.

"it might be worth finding a chiroprator"

Thanks for the suggestion. I have thought about it from time to time, but I've been advised against it by my physical therapist, the reason being that I have a dead neck vertebra (literally, DEAD as in osteonecrosis), and dead bones tend to be unstable which means that manipulating them is a bad idea. His advice came to me unsolicited, and he is someone who I trust a great deal.

Anonymous said...

Snow, the picture is great. Peggy did the right thing in getting you to smile.
Glad to hear that you are managing okay...the time without Peggy will be difficult to be sure. Has your health care team advised any type of gentle exercise you can do? That might help in strengthening and healing.

JOE TODD said...

My first thought before reading your post was "the blue thing" with tube attatched was for some kinda enema . Glad thats not the case and you have a sense of humor

Gaston Studio said...

LOL, Snow. I love the post and emphathize with you about having to relax your arm so that it will heal properly. Sorry about the constipation but with pain killers you're supposed to take them regularly so that they can do their job. I just learned this recently from a nurse in my neighborhood!

You are so lucky to have your grandmother's dough bowl! And I had no idea the flowers of that tulip tree were so gorgeous. I must tell G. Harrison (blog) about this tree because he's in to making bowls!

Gee, it doesn't look like you have a beard in your side photo. Did you grow it recently, or am I just blind?

Snowbrush said...

"Has your health care team advised any type of gentle exercise..." Audrey

Audrey, three times a day for ten minutes each, I am supposed to lift my arm from the sling with my other arm, and very gently lower it straight down. I then lean forward and rock my body slowly this way and that so the arm swings a little. I am not supposed to ever use the arm to swing itself. I can also take the sling off to shower. I get nervous about taking that sling off for ANYTHING, but Peggy had smelled me enough, I suppose, so she scrubbed me down last night.

"My first thought before reading your post was "the blue thing" with tube attatched was for some kinda enema" Joe

I anticipated that, Joe, as I would have thought the same thing. I've never seen an ice water enema, and I never hope to see one, but it is for certain, my Ohio friend, that I had rather see than be one.

"...but with pain killers you're supposed to take them regularly..." Jane

Forsooth, fair Jane, this is so true. Intense pain is harder to control than less intense pain, so you're supposed to head it off before it builds.

The beard. I grew it in the summer 1976 and was actually run out of my teaching job because I refused to shave it when school started back. I finally did shave it in the '90s because it was turning gray unevenly, giving me a mangy look. Now that it is almost all gray, I plan on keeping it.

The tulip tree is also called the tulip poplar, although it is not a poplar but a relative of the magnolia. The wood is soft for a hardwood, and therefore easily carved.

Renee said...

Please forward this to Peggy.

Thank you for making him smile Peggy, he looks quite handsome and I really like the twinkle in his eyes.

I think you look like you are doing amazing.

Love Renee xoxo

Lisa said...

Hi Snow- i woke up with you on my mind this morning and am wondering if all is ok.........sending love and healing to my friend who will send me a rock or two when he is MUCH better.......

i love the quote
'I will lack conveniences not necessities'

isnt that so true for most of us when we are feeling down- only we dont realise it........you always give me so much to think about...........LISa xx

Bill said...

Your comments about the picture made me laugh. I used to hate smiling for pictures. I'm a little (ok, a lot) behind on blog reading, but it looks like the surgery went alright, so that's good.

A Palmer said...

I broke my collarbone in two places rollerblading a number of years ago. Boy, did that hurt, so I feel your pain. I enjoyed your comment on my post about the fact that my ID picture that of my dog and that we'd probably all be better looking if we were our dogs. Lucy get tons of compliments when we're out or visiting the nursing home. So you're no doubt correct. I'd be better looking if I was Lucy! She says thanks, too. Thanks for visiting!

Sarah said...

Hi Snowbush, thanks for popping by my blog. I see my sister Anne beat me here - lol. Hope you are mending and feeling better soon!! Ouch!!!!!
I adore tulip trees. We had several in our area when I lived in NC.
Nice to see someone from my end of the world!!! Sarah

Matawheeze said...

Good to see you up and fussing at the world. And you *DO* resemble the friendly neighborhood axe murderer, but I find that charming. Keep healing until you can take the bowl off the wall and pummel some dough for the oven.

Snowbrush said...

"Please forward this to Peggy" Renee

Thank you, Renee. Peggy reads my blog from time to time, and I made sure she saw your note. Just know that she is not a writer.

"...sending love and healing to my friend who will send me a rock..." Lisa

Roger that.

"I used to hate smiling for pictures." Bill

Maybe it's a guy thing.

"Lucy get tons of compliments when we're out or visiting the nursing home." A Palmer

Please go back to my January 4 entry to see some god pics of my Bonnie.

"Nice to see someone from my end of the world!!!" Sarah

I know. Seems like half the blogs I visit are from Australia.

"...you *DO* resemble the friendly neighborhood axe murderer, but I find that charming." Matawheeze

Everybody's got to love somebody, sometime," eh?

"Keep healing until you can take the bowl off the wall and pummel some dough for the oven." Matawheeze

I'm more a biscuit, cornbread, and cracker man than a yeast bread man, and boy did I ever baker crackers for the freezer over the last couple of months.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

I had tried to leave a comment on "Title To Come Later" post, but it was returned through the mailer-demon program ?
Not sure why, however, just wanted to send well wishes your way, you've had a "go round " with this, hav'nt you.
Will read more about your surgery a little later this evening, take good care of yourself !

Renee said...

Hey how are you feeling today? Is it getting better or worse. Or is it about the same.



Snowbrush said...

"Hey how are you feeling today?" Renee

The first three post-surgical days went so well that I had about concluded that all the dire warnings were over-stated. Things have gone downhill from there. Last night, I fell in the garage, hitting the concrete so hard that Peggy heard me from the kitchen. Fortunately, I landed on my left side, but my right shoulder still got torqued quite a bit. It was already bruised from the surgery, and now it is more bruised. Peggy insisted on calling the doctor right away, but, as I expected, there wasn't much he could do. He asked if anything had felt like it had popped when I fell, and I said that it had not.

Renee said...

Oh no. I totally gasped when you said you fell. Be careful.