Mandan News

Honoring ones vows

Layout 1 (Page 1) Dear self,

As a direct result of the marriage vows I took almost 44 years ago, I had to return from the paradise of Lake Tschida last week. Both my loyal readers, and especially my coffee klatch at Cappuccino on Collins, know that I’ve been hermitting around Heart Butte for a while, so returning to the pace of big city life is no easy task.

However, like I was saying, in order to fulfill my fancies of Lake Tschida, and thus abscond from life in a metro area, I had to promise my wife that I would not only return for, but assist in her six week recovery from a total knee replacement. She said it had something to do with that ‘better or worse and sickness and health’ promise I made way back in 1970.

So, last Monday I was required to attend a class on how to care for a person who has gone through a total knee replacement. I kinda felt like, ‘geez, after 44 years I shouldn’t need lessons in caring for my wife … but being the obedient spouse, I attended the class.

The class was very instructive, especially the part where the teacher pulled out an artificial knee, which looked like some sort of medieval torture device. Each metal joint was smooth on one end and had what I considered to be a huge spike on the other end.

The instructor then informed the class that the doctor basically cuts out the patient’s entire knee, smoothes off the bottom of the thigh bone, then flattens out the top of the shin bone. Once the surgeon feels like he’s ground off enough bone, he begins to insert the new knee in place … we were told it takes a modicum of hammering to fully insert the new knee into the patient, but once it hits the patient’s bone marrow it goes in easier.

It was here that I squirmed in my chair and began to fully appreciate Renee’s trepidations about proceeding. However, she has been complaining about her knee for as long as the rest of her family could stand it. Eventually she was the only person left in our tribe that thought she could put this thing off any longer … her knee was bone on bone and severely affecting her mobility when she finally caved in.

Wednesday came along and she went under the knife, saw, hammer, drill and whatever else they used … fortunately she doesn’t remember any of that. When she returned to the room, she was fairly content for day one. ‘Wow, I feel a lot better than I thought I would.’

Then came the physical therapy. My experience with PT has been quite similar to seeing the Marquis de Saud, in the sense that the therapist asks, ‘where is the most painful part of your body today,’ and once you answer she says, ‘ok let’s exercise that spot for a while.’ By this time her meds had worn off, and the pain was beginning to make her realize that her body had just tolerated an incredible intrusion.

Don’t get me wrong, I think PT is wonderful voodoo and it really works as long as you religiously follow orders and do what you’re told to do. So the first therapy session involved how to get out of bed and void, then how to get back into bed, then how do stairs (up with the good down with the bad) and two days later they sent us home.

Anyway, here we are on day three, thanks to Easter Seals we got her toilet set up, and thanks to better living through chemistry, she seems to be resting well.

As for me, I’ve been informed that life will be better for her in six weeks, so I’m hanging around town wondering how long it will be before I can finally adjust the toilet seat for her out there in the wilds of Tschida.

May you be able to handle the consequences of whatever vows you make.