Invalid Admissions

I admit it: I am tired of being on my back, tired of hurting, tired of being helpless.
I’m tired of feeling a bit groggy. Reading takes extra focus and often the words remain blurry. Despite this, I spent time working remotely this evening in an effort to combat feelings of uselessness. While I can’t go into the office, I can at least do some of my job from my invalid’s bed.
I’m tired of holding my leg up in the air. I do balance my leg against an upended laundry basket, padded with a pillow, but the cast is heavy and my muscles grow weaker without a real workout. I wiggle my toes ever so slightly, just to keep feeling in them.
I’m tired of balancing a dish on my sternum and dropping food scraps onto my neck. Eating has especially been a challenge today; no doubt the delicious turkey soup my husband made with leftovers was a poor choice of foodstuffs to consume while on my back.
I’m tired of the effort required to safely remove myself from my perch on top of the bed, to swing my legs ever-so-carefully down over the edge, and to hop on one foot to the bathroom. By the time I reach my destination, my foot and ankle are throbbing from the change in elevation. These trips are as short as I can possibly make them, because the doctor impressed upon me the need for elevating my ankle to keep the swelling to a minimum and the dangers of the wound draining from the incision sites. I’m trying to balance the need for hydration with the need to avoid unnecessary time out of the stranded turtle position (and just like when we go camping, I tend to sway over the dehydration line).
I’m tired of being in pain. Our first night at home post-surgery, my husband waited for me to wake up to offer pain medication, and the first half of the night it worked very well — but then I slept from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. and paid dearly for those 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep. He held me while I whimpered and wept in pain for nearly an hour, waiting for the medication to reach its highest effect. Since that miserable experience, he has been living by the clock, setting an alarm to go off every 2 hours and then carefully handing me a 2mg tablet of Dilaudid. This system keeps me from falling into the abyss of misery, but I am in no way pain-free. I suppose that a small amount of pain will keep me from forgetting the seriousness of my situation.

According to the dictionary, the word invalid — /ˈinvələd/ — used as a noun, can mean “a person made weak or disabled by illness or injury.” In this case, I am an invalid wife, and my husband is tasked with caring for my every need. Like many other people, I do not like being in this helpless position. My lack of independence grates against my pride and the way I would prefer to look at myself. But there is another way of using the word invalid, one with a different pronunciation — /inˈvaləd/ — used as an adjective, which means “not valid” and void, null and void, unenforceable, not binding, illegitimate, and/or inapplicable. True, this meaning usually applies itself to legal documents (“the law was invalid”) but as I am held captive by my predicament, and mostly useless to my family and society, the irony of the same-spelled word is not lost on me.

Dahlia, Calamity Shane, websized

“Calamity Shane” dahlia  —   photo taken September 2015

14 thoughts on “Invalid Admissions

    • I understand. Good luck with your appointment on the 2nd. I hope C can go with you to your appointments. I found it very difficult to navigate the doctor-speak, especially when I wanted something tangible for me to pin my hopes to… the orthopaedic surgeon didn’t want to give anything but bare bones technical information. For instance, I wanted to know when (if all goes well, and the time frame could even be flexible) I might be able to sit at my sewing machine again, with my leg propped up in an orthopaedic wheelchair. He started to say “2 weeks” but then took it back, telling me that Christmas gifts are not my focus right now. Grrrrr…. That doctor has seen me cry more than some of my long-time friends have ever seen me cry, and I just met him a few weeks ago!

      • Charley can’t go with me, but the doctors here in Hawaii seem to speak “people-eze.” I have so far found them all to be friendly, competent, and easily understood.

        Your doctor likely can’t give you a solid time frame. It will depend on how quickly you heal. My sister, Jackie, broke her ankle this Spring and was stuck in a recliner in her living room for several weeks because her bones refused to heal. When she was allowed up and about she was very limited and slow. You are younger and you were in good health before your accident, so your prognosis should be better, but each person is different.

  1. I am so sorry, and glad you have a place where you can vent a bit. It is SO hard to feel useless, and I would imagine that the time of year is not helping. Is there an end in sight to this period of healing? A point in time when you are allowed to sit, without having to have your leg so high?

  2. I am so sorry you are hurt and immobilized. I know it has to be driving you crazy.

    No words of wisdom, just know I ma thinking about you.

  3. I hear you. I am sorry you have to go through this. It is probably small consolation, but your photo of the flower is a hopeful one to me. If something called “Calamity Shane” could be so beautiful, then surely there is beauty and a pain-free existence for you in the future. May that future come quickly.

    • Carolyn, I chose that particular image to juxtapose the feelings of despair that come with this calamity. I’m glad you picked up on the subtleties. What I hadn’t seen in my choice was the *hope *– thank you for that. .

      On Sun, Nov 29, 2015 at 10:30 AM, Spokalulu wrote:


  4. I’m so sorry you’re going through all of this. I hope you heal quickly and can become more mobile soon.

    Do you enjoy audio books? Our library system has a good selection available for download. You just need the free “One Click” app and a library card.

    • Thank you for your suggestion of the library audio books! We get them for long-distance travel but i had not considered them for my current situation. Even if I can’t get the download to work for my computer, I can still order them and have my dh pick them up for me.

  5. I can’t even imagine. I had bunion surgery a billion years ago which required Serious Drugs every 4 hours – my bf at the time said I would apparently start crying in my sleep at the 3.5 hour mark. This is like… I don’t even know. Far worse. So I hesitate to say I understand or know what you’re going through, because I don’t! But I sympathize. Oof.

    The suggestion of audio books is a good one! I hope they turn out to be a good distraction.

    • Thank you. I’m trying to be really positive in what I post, but this was one of those “let’s get real” moments. I haven’t cried in my sleep (that I know of!) but I did wake up with clenched teeth at one point last night. Fun times. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. I know I am very lucky to have a retired nurse for a husband. He can do the medical speak and calm my worries, plus he is my caregiver 24/7. Getting the incisions checked and re-cast today was traumatic. I experienced my first anxiety attack and definitely don’t want any more of those! I’m told future checks and re-castings will go much smoother, especially since I shouldn’t fear that the stitches were adhering to the gauze wrap.

  6. This sounds SO frustrating. And at such a busy time of year. I’m keeping you in my prayers on this end, cannot imagine how helpless and hopeless this kind of injury would be.

    • Thank you. I *am *frustrated. Trying to do too much (which is actually very little of anything) is not helpful, as I learned last night when I lost my balance and met the floor again — much too close to the rock hearth for comfort. At least I didn’t land on the casted ankle… My newly sore shoulder, arms, and knees will be keeping me less active today.

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