We note, as we put pen to paper this week, that this will actually be the first column we will have written in 2013.
We penned all the columns for the month of January the first part of December as we had made some rather unusual plans to celebrate the holidays and were not at all certain that our holiday celebration would allow us to do January's columns in January. And, since we undertook having a total hip replacement on December 27, our thinking proved to be quite correct. January was a month of recovery, having spent the end of 2012 as an inpatient guest at the Bassett Medical Center here in Cooperstown. And while we survived the experience, we are not certain it will make our long list, let alone our short list, of ways in which to celebrate the holidays in the future.
And while credit for the success of the operation must go to those involved with it at Bassett, we do think it is safe to say that much of the reason we got through it as well as we did was that fact that our sister Ellen arrived in Cooperstown on Dec. 17 and only just left this past Sunday. And right up front we hasten to note that she came and she stayed even though it meant leaving her home in Austin, Texas which tends to sport much better weather this time of year than does Cooperstown. And of course, had she stayed in Texas she would not have had to deal with all of our horror and angst over the surgery and the resulting recovery.
Of course, the first problem she encountered was getting us to the hospital by 6 a.m. in the midst of what has been to date the largest snowfall of the season. Fortunately, our trusty snow remover, Skip Wright, arrived at 4:30 that morning which made it possible to get out of the driveway, down Pioneer Street, onto Beaver Street and around to Bassett. We made it with time to spare.
It is also fortunate, we think, that we remember nothing about the surgery. But we do remember waking up in recovery and peering at what seemed to be a long tunnel of white light which prompted us to ask whoever seemed to be at our side if we were dead. To this we got the reply, "Dead? Of course you're not dead." To say that we were somewhat relieved is perhaps an understatement.
We were discharged from Bassett on Dec. 31 and, although we were not at all certain we were ready to go home, we are happy to report, that with a bit of assistance from our neighbor Finn Jensen, in addition to our sister, we were able to get out of the car, up the back steps and into the house. Of course, we were at that point absolutely convinced we would never be able to move again. Fortunately, that prediction did not prove to be true.
However, there were some moments during the recovery that I think both us, the patient and the caregiver, would rather cheerfully like to forget. Among these are the night that we discovered during a trip to the bathroom that the thigh on our operative leg was one massive, dark purple bruise. We panicked as we had been told, since we were on Coumadin to prevent blood clots, that there was a possibly of grave risk of internal bleeding. We immediately called Ellen from our landline to her cellphone in her bedroom and announced we were bleeding. She rushed into the family room where we were ensconced in our hospital bed, fully expecting to see blood gushing forth. Of course, it wasn't but our hysteria more than made up for the apparent lack of bleeding. We suspect it was not a night either of us feel the need to repeat ever. Nor do we need to go through the "We will never be able to sleep again," "These exercises are beyond me" or the "What will we do when you leave" moments. We seemed to have gotten through them all and are continuing to plow ahead. And through it all, Ellen proved to be an excellent caregiver who provided us with full service, low cost, high quality care with excellent food thrown in for good measure.
And while there was a lot of work involved in her stay, we also think she rather enjoyed getting to know Cooperstown. She loved the fact that she could walk to the General Store, the post office and the library as it reminded her of what it was like when we were growing up. She was amazed by the fact that she could go to Church and Scott's and they would simply charge everything she picked up to our account. She could not imagine any pharmacy in Texas offering such service. And during her stay we were able to enjoy several dinners from the Hawkeye Grill as they very graciously agreed to pack the dinners up for take-out. And, she became conversant enough with the highways and byways of the area that she was able to give directions, when asked, to get from the Commons to the Hall of Fame.
Of course, there was the occasional misunderstanding about some of our stores, all of which were unfamiliar to her except for CVS, McDonald's, Pizza Hut and Subway. The greatest confusion arose when we suggested she could go to Stewart's and get some corn chips as we tend to think the Stewart's brand is quite good. She expressed amazement that Stewart's would have its own brand. We explained that it is, after all, a chain. "Stewart's is a chain," she inquired. We told her yes, to which she replied that she never would have guessed that when she went there to pick up the oysters for Christmas. It took us a moment to realize that while we were talking Stewart's, she was thinking Spurbeck's, which we must note has the most delicious oysters but not, at least to our knowledge, their own brand of corn chips.
We also think she quite enjoyed all the Christmas goodies, not to mention the delicious dinners, which found there way into 105 Pioneer during her stay. In fact she mentioned it was almost worth the trip from Texas to partake of them, suggesting that perhaps we should plan to have some other part of our being replaced next Christmas so she would have a good reason make another winter time visit to Cooperstown. And while we remain dubious about such a plan, we assured her that she was more than welcome to have any medical procedure of which she might be desirous done here next Christmas so as not to miss the goodies.
PLEASE NOTE: Comments regarding this column may be made by mail at 105 Pioneer Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326, by telephone at 607-547-8124 or by e-mail at email@example.com