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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

HIM Had Surgery OR How This Day Got Progressively Weirder!

HIM, the man to whom I'm married, had two neuromas in his right foot.  Okay.  First I have to tell you just what the heck a neuroma is.  Hey, we'll have a questionnaire.  It sounds like a funky word and who knows, it might just be something really, really, really funny.
This is HIM prior to having foot surgery.  Haha.  I love my autodesk sketch program.

A neuroma is: A) A neurotic disorder of the limbs causing one to inadvertently kick other people in the butt whenever they're being stupid and/or silly.  No, wait, that's me.  B) A rare type of meatball dish which is covered with noodles, peas, and pig's intestines sauteed in a light butter cream.  C) An odd game played in Turkey by goatherders using rocks and other men's testicles.

Answer: D) None of the above, although I'd like to see the game in Turkey.

Here's what a neuroma is from my trusty, large dictionary: 1. A tumor or mass growing from a nerve and usually consisting of nerve fibers.  It can also be 2. A mass of nerve tissue in an amputation stump resulting from abnormal regrowth of the stumps of severed nerves - called also amputation neuroma, pseudoneuroma.  HIM has definition number 1, since I'm pretty sure he still has all his limbs attached.  (Not certain about his brain however, so that could have been amputated without my knowledge.)

This interesting little thing happened to HIM because whilst in the US Army he was forced to road march 15 miles with a 60 pound rucksack once or twice a month for many years.  (Although HIM was a Patriot Missile Warrant Officer who fixed the missile and radar systems, for some reason the battalion thought that all of the troops should be able to hump 15 miles down sandy dirt roads carrying 60 pounds on their backs.  Whateveh.)  In any case, his feet got fubared.  (For those of you who are acronymically challenged, that's FUBAR-ed or Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition - ed.  This is a highly technical term developed by people in the military.)

So the VA Hospital decided that HIM's pain was overwhelming and debilitating and that they would remove the neuromas.

They set the day for Friday, May 20th but they wouldn't tell us what time the surgery would be because that would mean some ordnance of convenience for us.  After all, our lives are comparable to an ant that was trod upon when compared to the importance of the outpatient surgical center.  The day before the surgery they finally announced condescendingly it would be at six am.

Seriously.  6 am.  What this means is that HIM would have to get up at 4 am, and drive to Crystal City and take the metro over to the hospital because I would have to stay at home and make sure our daughter Cressy gets off to school.  (Asking friends, family, and neighbors for a special keep-my-daughter-overnight-and-get-her-off-to-school favor kind goes against my grain.)  Thanks, VA for the compassion.  So HIM got up at 4 am and naturally I couldn't go back to sleep.

A few texts and an hour and a half later, HIM notified me that he was at the VA, and they were prepping HIM.  I got the kid off to school and got off on a drive whereby I would go to the VA hospital and be there ready to drag him home in his new, improved neuroma-less state.

So HIM had programmed the VA's address into the Garmin and put it into my car.  I knew how to get into the District but I didn't know exactly how to get to the hospital.  Once I got up to where I could see all the monuments and wave hi to Barrack and Michelle, I turned the Garmin on.  Let's see.  Where to begin.  Oh, HIM programmed the Garmin to have a New Zealand accent.  I'm sure that most Kiwi's are very nice people but having a New Zealand accented voice to give you direction in heavy, downtown traffic is like trimming nose hairs with a flame thrower.  (Not that I've done that.  Really.)

At one point in time it told me to turn left on a one-way street, going the wrong way.  There was a lovely incident where the Garmin was telling me to do a U-turn on a freeway that was, well, very well populated by vehicular occupation.  By the time I got to the VA hospital I was a nervous wreck and I was lucky I hadn't caused one.  (There's one guy in a Lincoln Continental who's probably still swearing a blue streak about me.  He looked like he was ready to stop his car and beat me with his shoe or maybe his wife.  But hey, the good part was that our cars didn't actually make contact, so it's all gravy.)

Enter the hospital.  The VA hospital isn't like normal hospitals.  No, this is a place for veterans.  Most are great people, just like New Zealanders.  But of course there are exceptions.  Notably the man in the elevator.  My first error was getting on the elevator with him.  You see, he wasn't wearing his I'm-a-crazy-SOB-you-should-avoid-me-in-tight-constricted-places sign.  And I think he had an aluminum foil hat under his ball cap.  He talked to himself.  That's what I thought at first.  Then I figured out that he was talking to someone else.  But there were only the two of us in the elevator.  And it was a freaking good conversation.

The veteran: "I told you not to come here."

Invisible person: "But we had to come."

The vet: "I told you.  I told you.  I told you.  I told you."

Invisible person: "Don't like it here."

The vet: "Shut up."

Invisible person: "No, you shut up."

Me, thinking to myself, 'I'll just back into the far corner of the elevator and pretend I'm a part of the wall.'

And here was the funny part, I was only going up ONE floor.

I located the outpatient surgical center and bypassed it to find a bathroom.  When I found a bathroom (girl bathrooms seem to be at a premium at the VA hospital so it was well hidden.) there was a single stall inside.  This normally wouldn't have been a problem except a woman was using the toilet with the stall door open.  (As far as I could tell she wasn't physically challenged and didn't need to leave the door open.)  But I believe I turned beet red and hightailed it out of there because I didn't feel inclined to stand and watch a strange women go pee pee and/or poo poo.  (And I could have because the woman told me to stay, which made me leave EVEN FASTER.)

After finally using a bathroom (with the stall door shut) I made it back to the surgical center, where I talked to the receptionist.  More drama ensued.

The receptionist had a very nice mustache, which was curly at the ends, and on the chin was a very nice goatee beard.  It was even combed into a Colonel Sanders-like arrangement which a neat little curl at the end.  I think Dippity-Do might have been used to achieve this effect.

Doesn't sound like an issue does it?

Except the person had long hair, 'd' sized boobies, and spoke in a feminine persuasion.  After the psychotic voice on the GPS unit, the man in the elevator talking to himself, ("I'm not schizophrenic and neither am I."  "It is as bad as you think and they are out to get you.") I was at a loss.  I couldn't decide whether I should stare at the ground, her boobs, or her face.  (I'm 75% sure it was a woman.)  Now Fat Woman has facial hair issues.  I have been known to use tweezers, wax, and exotic mud compounds from the depths of an Amazonian rain forest, but I don't think I'm brave enough to let it all go, much less go ahead and style it too.  ("Hey, y'all, I've got facial hair and if you don't like it, then you can kiss my hairy tushie.  Both cheeks and I styled them, too.")

And I thought about taking a picture with my Droid but conscience and logistics won out.  I couldn't get close enough and she looked like she was big enough to hurt me.

This looks just like her.  I swear.
Anyway, I found out HIM was still not back from surgery and I went to hide in the waiting room before I asked about what conditioner worked best for facial hair.

HIM rolled in five minutes later with a goofy smile on his face.  (Yes, Virginia, there is a sedative.)  More hilarity ensued.
Well, HIM wasn't really singing.  But he was happy.
Very, very happy.  But here look at the alleged neuroma-less foot:

This is a foot under the blanket.  I swear.
Okay.  Okay.  Here's a better shot of the alleged victim of neuromalic attack:

Of course, once everything was in the clear, we relaxed and had a sandwich.
HIM eating a sammy with orange juice.  It's good for you, boy.
Then they released HIM from the hospital and I drove HIM home where Cressy drew little smiley faces on all his exposed toes.  Why?  This is really good.  Wait for it.  She wanted him to have HAPPY FEET.  Haha.  She's so cute.


Kari E said...

This is so funny to hear from a patient/family point of view! I work for a podiatry surgeon. :)

212Mike said...

Hilarious! I hope everything works out! I knew that there was a good reason to avoid long hikes with a loaded pack! Mike Wood