We have all had times when life changed in an instant—an accident, illness, natural disaster, or other event strikes, and there is “before” and “after.” My husband and I had one of those times last week.
On February 5, I got a surprise call from my husband in the middle of the day. “Can you come get me?” he said. “I think I broke my kneecap.”
Of course, I said I could. Five minutes later, after gathering a few essentials (such as his crutches from an earlier injury), I set out. With the help of a security guard and a couple of my husband’s co-workers, we got him into my car, and he and I headed for the hospital.
The St. Luke’s Emergency Room personnel took him right to an exam room, where we waited for an initial evaluation, then X-rays and a physician to check him out. Yes, the kneecap was broken. The ER personnel fit him for a knee immobilizer to keep the leg from bending.
We were instructed to contact an orthopedic surgeon. Hubby pushed back a bit, wondering if there was an alternative to surgery. “Ninety-nine percent of these injuries require surgery,” the ER doc told us.
Later in the week, the orthopedic doctor confirmed surgery would be necessary, and the surgery was scheduled for Tuesday, February 13. Yesterday.
The surgeon was able to repair the kneecap. All the pieces wired back in place. But our patient, who had been getting around better and better each day since the 5th, is now back to Square One in terms of pain and immobility. Still, we are hopeful for a speedy recovery.
The good news is that he can put weight on the leg throughout his recuperation; the bad news is that he still cannot bend the knee for at least four more weeks—he remains in the knee immobilizer.
Since the accident, I have been doing a lot of toting and fetching for my husband. Been there, done that—in the summer of 2011, he broke his ankle (which I wrote about here).
This knee injury is much more disabling than the ankle because he cannot bend his leg. Which means he cannot reach his feet to dress or put on shoes. And he has had difficulty even lifting the leg by himself, so he needs help getting in and out of bed.
For the next several weeks, my primary function will be that of caregiver. It’s not something I enjoy, but I’ve done it before, and will likely do it again as we age.
As he will likely do for me at times.
Because that’s what Valentines do for each other. “I care” isn’t just a slogan on a candy heart.
For better or for worse, in sickness or in health—these vows mean something. They aren’t convenient. They aren’t fun. But they are what real love is all about.
I hope you and your Valentine have a less stressful celebration this year than we will.