Friday, February 22, 2013

Meet Mr. Potato Head

(Act 1 / Scene Seen 3 - 1/18/13

Morning was here.  Frank made it through a night of propped up sleep.  Blood trails had dried where they zigzagged his cheeks.  Moist baby wipes successfully soaked away the crusty remains.  The bug-eye apparatus stayed firmly attached, thanks to some seriously sticky surgical tape.  These clear plastic eye shields were basically a makeshift human windshield.

Removing them was not something I was looking forward to.   What, pray tell, did the morning bring?  And... Please don’t let me interfere with any of the stitches or incisions!  One thing’s for sure, these bug-eyes really enhanced my man’s new look.  He certainly was a ‘stunner.’ 

Once removed, the ‘vision’ was no prettier for either of us... Of course, we were told there would be swelling, but this was WAY more than expected.  Frank had no way to gauge, as he still was not able to see. 

On a positive note, the bleeding had subsided to an occasional drip.  Outside of that, his ears were burning hot and swollen... his lids hurt and were so swollen they appeared to be straining the stitches...  In fact, the stitch crossing his eye was creating a groove, as his lids were ballooning around it.  And... he was still shivering!  

He was also, still acting too ‘still’ for my liking.  I don’t know how to describe it, other than he was not his usual self.  (Again... I know... I know... he just had surgery...)  

As usual, Frank insisted he was ‘fine’ - regardless of the fact that he looked like the Michelin Tire Baby Man gone awry.  Inches in front of the bathroom mirror, he was not happy with what he was seeing, “What the hell is on my ears?!”  (Picture the gauze dentists pack in your mouth after a tooth is pulled... uh... I am all too familiar, as I have STRESS!-cracked-three-to-the-root-and-had-to-have-them-pulled!-ARGH!!)  He insisted he was going back to work on Tuesday, and those had to go! {insert another wife-ignores-hubby moment...}

I can’t say I blamed him.  There was no way he could camouflage these two honking white tubes, sandwiching his bulging red-hot-almost-purple ear.  The tubes - like some new-generation body piercing -  were sewn together through the cartilage of both ears.  One from the front, and one from the back, as the ear between strained to separate them.  

At this point, may I remind you about that funky stitch the nurses wanted me to remove?!  {Uh, I think not... I’ve no desire to toy with mutated Raggedy Andy and risk what looks to be an imminent eyeball-to-eyeball explosion...} 

I called the doctors office and got an appointment for 2 o’clock based on the stitch removal.  We had never been to this particular office, as it was one of the office’s Dr. W travels to.  All the while, I could not shake this gnawing concern in regards to the ‘stillness’ he was exhibiting.  I asked if a wheel chair was available to transport Frank into the building.  The receptionist did not know and asked me to hold on.  When she came back on and told me there was none, I asked if there was someone available to  assist us getting into the building.  She put me back on hold again to check. 

A few moments later another woman got on the phone claiming to be one of Dr. W's nurses.  I repeated  my requests... though by the tone of her voice I believe she was already filled in and had her own opinion.  

When I re-asked about the wheel chair... She responded shortly, “We don’t have a wheel chair.”

When I requested that someone be available to assist... She responded annoyed, “People go through this all the time and they don’t have a problem.  This is all quite normal.”

When I tried to use the ‘he can’t see very well’ reasoning... “We have people that have had this surgery all the time and they can hardly see... they {insert annoyed tone} do just fine and walk into this building on their own.”

When I pushed further she said, “If your so concerned then just park in the handicapped spot and walk in.”

It was clear to me that she felt I was unnecessarily concerned, inexperienced and naive about this procedure... and pushy.

She 'took charge'  of the conversation and told me to come in at 2:45.  As I was confirming the 2:45 as opposed to the 2 told before, the phone curtly clicked in my ear.  She hung up...  On top of the ‘No wheel chair...’ and the ‘No’ to someone assisting us, there was also no ‘goodbye’ salutation...  no ‘we look forward to seeing you then’...  no concern for my concerns.  It offended me outright, and what I really wanted to do was call back immediately and give her a stern, and ‘colorful,’ piece of my mind.  I did not....

We arrived at the office on time.  There were no close parking spots available, we actually had to park at the end of the lot.  Dropping Frank at the doorway was not an option, as I didn’t trust that he would be okay on his own.  Walking from the parking spot, I felt I was guiding the arm of a robot.  He followed methodically at my side, stepping over the curb as I pointed it out.  At this point, I really wanted to just get in the office... and boy was I glad when we were!  Every time I tried to engage a ‘how are you doing?’ conversation, he responded with “Fine.”   “Fine” was quickly becoming my most hated four letter word!  (Though if I was to cut “Normal” down to “Norm” it could sit right up there with ‘Fine!’) The feeling, or sense, that I had that something was not right would not let up.  Even so, sitting 'safely' in the waiting room at that moment... I have to say, I felt sheepish for having been so persistent.  Frank was insisting he was fine, but to me he was not.  

I snapped this shot while we 
waited for the appointment. 
Normal? The doctor repeated it again, “Everything looks good.  This is all normal.”  (Are you kidding me?!)  The stitch crossing his eye was removed, as was the tube on the back of his ear.  The front gauze had to remain and fall off on its own.   

I sat nervously in the extra exam room chair.  Frank was not acting ‘normal’ to me.  No matter how many times - or ways - I asked, the answer was the same.  I was feeling, and sounding, like the over-nervous, stereotypical meddling female... I tried to stop bringing the topic up, after all, Dr. W repeatedly stated, “This is all normal.”  He began writing his medical notes, paying me no mind... as Frank just sat there.  

It was at this moment, Frank’s ‘stillness’ shifted.  I keyed into it immediately.  He had not moved from the chair, but it was like he left the room.  A completely blank mask replace the ‘stillness.’  

I knew I was bordering on being thrown out of every next doctors appointment... I didn’t care, “Dr., Is he alright?”   He glanced up from his writing, “He’s fine.  He’s just resting.”  {Sorry, doc... I’m not buying it...}  “Frank, how are you doing?”  Again, he didn’t respond. 

The Dr. kept writing.  I got up from my seat and moved closer to Frank.  “How ya doing Hon?”  No response.  I touched his leg, “Frank?  Hon, are you okay?!”  Still no response... Dr. W looked up, “Mr. Lopez?”  No response, no nod, no nothing... Dr. W stood up, and positioned himself with me right in front of Frank.  We were both trying to get Frank to respond, me by rubbing his leg, Dr. W by patting his shoulder.  At this point I started to plead with Dr. W, “What’s happening?!”  He responded with another ‘comforting’ nod, “This is normal.”  {OMG I wanted to hit him.}  

“Frank!”  {Seriously, if this is one of his infamous naps ?!$#*%?}

“Mr. Lopez?”  

Suddenly, Frank’s leg kicked out in front of him.  Every muscle engaged at once.  His body attempted to gasp for air, and he garbled and choked, struggling for breath.  I was relieved Dr. W was fully present... and strong.  He was able to brace Frank before he crumpled on to the floor.  Like that of a mother creating a speedy, makeshift seatbelt with her arm, he full arm shoved Frank back into the chair.  With a kick of the foot pedals, the chair transformed into a full reclining lounge... though there was nothing relaxed about this.  The outstretched leg looked distorted, as his foot and ankle twisted, in a somewhat animated manner, inward.  His arms were now also locked straight to the tips of his knuckles, which were clenched so tight the knuckles were white.   Those ‘lovely eyeballs,’ were rolling back in his head!   It was a very unnatural look, and a lot to take in.

All the while Dr. W continued to insist this was... ‘normal.’  

My looks darted between him and his ‘normal’ and Frank and his fight for air.

I didn’t know what to do....... there was nothing I could do..... 

Frank’s leg released and started to lower into the mold of the chair.  It was a false reprieve that didn’t last long... seconds later both legs were up, even stiffer than the first time.  What’s more, his tongue got really fat, so fat it didn’t fit in his mouth.  His eyes were still rolling..... and all the while Dr. W was still insisting this was ‘normal’......  This, as he continued repeating, “Mr. Lopez, Mr. Lopez...”

I was coming out of my skin.  Frank was completely spazzing out!  I stepped towards the edge of the room not knowing what to do.  I needed a second to think... this had to be a bad dream.  I managed to pace - at break neck speeds - the two feet of available wall space.  My insides paced even faster... I swear there was a ricocheting, ping pong games of nerves inside me.  I needed to not freak-out... after all.... Dr. W is standing right there... he insists Frank is okay... this is ‘normal’... you can’t afford to loose it... now is NOT time time... stay calm... don’t add more drama to this... bla, bla, bla, bla, BLA!  So much for my self-directed pep talk.... my 'second' was over. 

Frank was now on his third spasm episode.  As calmly as I could muster, I pressed Dr. W, “Do you want me to do anything, or GET SOMEONE?!”  He calmly shook his head ‘No’ and continued summonsing, “Mr. Lopez?”

Back at Franks side I looked for something to be hopeful about... By now color had left his body.  His fists passed the white knuckled phase and upgraded to opaque muddy green, beyond just the knuckles.  His face, lips and tongue the same.  Even the redness of his eyes had paled.  His legs stayed stuck straight - straight! - out like some kid playing a game of dead bug.  “Dr. W, how can this be normal?!  Look at his color.”  He just repeated, with a illogical-are-you-F’n--kidding-me comforting nod “It’s normal.  He’s fine...”  

“He’s GREEN!?!”  I could feel the blood trying to leave my head.  {Damn it!  Oh No you Don’t!} What is going on?!  This is crazy...  Frank let out another choke... and proceeded to pee.  I glared at Dr. W, “He’s PEEING!  Is THAT ‘normal?!”  Dr. W looked to where I was pointing, and with an unexpected tilt of his head, said, “No... That’s not normal...”  Frank was on his forth round...

Good God!?  Somebody rational please come save us...

At last, Dr. W asked me to get a nurse to come assist.  (Gladly!  Finally!!)  In comes an Angel.  Monique, beautiful Monique...  Stepping into the room long enough to see what was needed, she jumped into action.  Within seconds she was back with an armful of ice packs.  A few were piled on his chest, one behind his neck, and one at each wrist.  Frank’s fixed limbs started to sink into the chair.  He was colorless, though no longer rigid... The brief moment of ‘relaxed’ silence, was broken by gagging and heaving.  Monique didn’t miss a step.  Grabbing the garbage can, she had it positioned before Frank could let loose.  I swear I thought I was watching my husband die...  He gagged and retched as his eyes bulged.  It was at this moment that I was Thankful - beyond belief - that we were in the doctors office!  The vision, of those already taxed sutures rupturing, was inescapable.  Without a doubt Dr. W was concerned as well.  (I don’t care how many times he wanted to say it was ‘normal?!’)

I hovered, trying to offer consolation to Frank, but he was ‘not there.’  In between heaving, Monique juggled ice packs.   He was now sweating profusely and every hair on his chest was matted and stuck to his skin... except in the very center where there was a puddle of sweat.  There, the hairs were floating.  His clothes were soaked, if not by sweat, by urine.  

Finally............ He stopped retching.  Color started to ebb back into his face.  His tongue receded like some sort of weird tide.  His eyes re-centered.  His fists unclenched.  His legs softened, deflating into the chair.  Someone handed me a cup of cold water - ordered by Monique.  {Vodka would have been better...}  Somehow this was a symbol to my senses that the worst was behind us.   I couldn’t speak, my heart was in my throat.  My God I thought I lost him.  My body started to shake... 

It was at that moment that it hit me.  Just minutes before sitting in the examination room, we were in the parking lot!  All of the anxiety I was feeling, shifted.  I scathingly turned to Dr. W, “Normal?!  Nothing about this was Normal!  Any fear I had is quickly turning to anger!  I knew something was not right!  I ‘knew’ so much so that I called the office and requested a wheelchair!  I was told ‘NO!’  I asked several times... Since there was ‘NO wheelchair,’ I asked for someone to come out to the car to assist!  Several times... I was told ‘NO.’  10 minutes ago we were on the other side of the parking lot!!  The.  Other.  Side!  Would that have been ‘normal?!’ ”

Frank broke the moment, “You okay, Nan?”  His first reaction was concern for me...  Dr. W couldn’t be more relieved - though I am not so sure it wasn’t more about the timing.  As Frank strained to see me, Dr. W answered, “She’s worried about you.”  

Had I tried to say or expressed anything, I would have crumpled into blubbering incoherentness.  All I could do was move close to his side, hold his hand and outright white lie by nodding my head.  He asked again.  “Hon, you okay?”  He was trying his damnedest to see my face, clearly exhausted from what just happened.  Trying to quell my shaking voice, I answered, “Yes... I’m okay.  But I’d be a hell of a lot better if you’d knock this sh!t off!” 

Dr. W - who as far as I’m concerned is lucky to be standing upright - turned to me and requested our primary doctor information.  He wanted to discuss what just happened.

Monique and I stayed with Frank.  A few minutes later, Dr. W returned, “I just spoke with Dr. Primary, and he requested that you take Mr. Lopez to South Nassau Emergency...”  I didn’t even let him finish!  My hand flew up, like a school girl with attitude,  “AND YOU hung up with HIM?!   It was an interesting moment.  Mr. Sophisticated-medically-educated-professional was instantly reduced to mere-man... a very foolish feeling one at that... in front of a very I-have-had-enough!-pissed-off female!  “Now you, Get. Back. On. That. Phone. {pointing my stern finger at the phone on the wall} and come up with a better plan!!”  Dr. W look bewildered, quite possibly wondering where his medical credentials just went...  I gestured towards Frank, who was in no condition for anything, much less my car!  “Seriously?!  And just how - HOW?! - am I supposed to get him into the car?!  Remember, YOU don't have a wheelchair?!  {insert a directed 'duh!'}  Is he going to do that again?”  Dr. W was realizing he might not have thought this out, “I can’t tell you that.”  My facial expressions told it all, “Well, I CAN tell you... I am NOT taking him anywhere!  What if he does this in the car... you really think I would be okay driving?  Seriously?!  How is that safe for either of us?!  And just HOW am I supposed to get him from the CAR into the hospital?!”  At this point I was trying not to yell.  “Are you kidding me?  You think I want to be left alone with him?!”

Dr. W was at a loss.  Frank tried to raise his head, “I’m fine.  I want to go home.”  {insert another wife-ignores-hubby moment...} “The hell you are!  You’ll be lucky if I ever let you in THE HOUSE again!”  He let his head fall back on the rest.  “You’re going to the hospital!”  

Dr. W was back to his medical self, “Okay, I can’t dispute your points. {uh... ya think?!}  The only other choice is calling an ambulance and going to Winthrop ER.”  He said it like it was supposed to upset me, as if this notion was going to intimidate me or sway my decision... Bluff called, “Fine!  Call the ambulance.  I am NOT taking him myself!”

Monique was still slapping ice packs.  Frank was mumbling about "people trying to freeze him to death."  Dr. W looked at him, then shook his head in agreement, “You're right.”  Monique shot me ‘the nod’ - the ones we women understand and give only to each other in situations such as this...

The ER did all sorts of blood tests, an EKG, a CAT scan... While we waited for the results, IV fluids were started.  My nerves started to ease... though not before exhibiting my nervous strength and literally ripping Franks shirt off.  {Sorry Honey... The nurse said she needed it off, I was just helping.}  All heads turned our way as the rip echoed through the ER.  Frank peered at me from one of his beady eye slits..... {Oh please, as if you weren’t a sight-to-behold already!?  You and your swollen-shut-googly-eyes and Mr.-Potato-Head ears....  I’ll buy you another shirt...} 

By the time the test results came back and the IV bag was empty, Frank was getting back to his Dennis-the-Menace self.   He did the blind man shuffle to the bathroom, and made a few funky evil-eyed faces to ogling-can’t-help-themselves onlookers, though I am not so sure they got the ‘joke.’  “I must look pretty bad...  Isn’t it amazing how you can feel all eyes on you?”

That round of IV fluids really did the trick.  My theory... Fluids not only helped to dilute the anesthesia that was still in his system, but it also helped to flush it out.  

The ER doctors showed up with the results, and based on all the tests, they determined nothing was wrong with Frank.  (Go figure... my ‘tested’ nerves could supply a list... though, the 'stillness' was gone and Frank was back.)  A few overnight tests were half-heartedly suggested, should we want to rule out seizures, but Frank, who had germ protecting gauze pads taped over both eyes, objected.  “No, I want to go home...”

At this point, I couldn't agree more.  I wanted to get him out of there too!  I lobbied his case... outlining the colonoscopy story and fluid/anesthesia theory... and the extreme concern and risk regarding wounds so fresh, especially around his eyes, and hospital germs.  All I kept thinking about was the next phase of this saga should we have to contend with an infection... 
Dr. ER shook his head, “I couldn’t agree with you more... I think you’re right, the best thing to do is get him home.”

So this was our day.....  exciting, huh?

Driving home, exhausted but certain in my knowing Frank was okay, a myriad of moments suddenly became hilarious... Dr. W's bewildered face as I scolded him, Frank's uncharacteristic shivering, the sound of his shirt ripping, the stares, the plethora of smells emanating from my man... who, at the moment looked more like Mr. Potato Head than he ever did wise ol' Yoda... I crumpled into a fit of giggles the whole drive home.  

We walked in the front door in all our glory... On top of his red swollen eyes, exposed stitching, and honking ears... he now had tattered clothing, which was speckled with blood, and drenched in sweat and smelly urine... bandage's covered the 9 failed IV attempts, (they couldn't find a workable, plump  vein -which just added to my dehydration/anesthesia overload theory...)  Mini-man took one look at him and asked, "What the heck did they do to him?!!"  Cherub left to enjoy the sanctum of her room... forever.......

*** Update:  

I think the swelling around his eyes only
went down because the fluid drained into 
his face!  Those cheeks were taut. 
We spent a tense week at home monitoring his progress.  Not only were the lids severely swollen, but the actual eyeball’s were as well.  When I say 'swollen'... I mean for a time they looked like strawberry jelly, with bits literally sticking out as he attempted to close his lids.  (The left eye continues to struggle from the after effects of the stroke...) A week of steroids, along with eye drops, helped to bring the swelling down... slowly his vision seems to be improving.   

The day after the hospital the first ear gauze fell off... and the day after that, the other followed.  His ears were jutting out at the area now missing the cartilage, which  hopefully is swelling and not the new 'norm.'  The piece of cartilage taken is longer and fatter than expected.  He wore a knit hat to sleep for a few nights to help gently guide the ears into position... They are looking better...

A week later we were back at Dr. W’s office to have the rest of the stitches removed.  Monique greeted us with a giant hug.  (and yes, I wrote a very pointed letter regarding the first 'nurse' - there were apologies, restructuring and the office now has a wheelchair...)

Our house is a bit back to ‘normal.’ (That! is how the word is supposed to be used!) Frank went to work on Wednesday... by train... with sunglasses.  

The following week - I guess he got bored - while bending over to get to a wall outlet, he herc’d a chair out of the way... hitting his eye and opening up the sutures... thankfully he didn't damage the internal stitching, though the hit did re-start the swelling.  Argh!  Ice packs and prayers - again!   (Seriously?!?  He is not supposed to be bending or lifting!  I wanted to bop him in his other eye.)

The day after the snow storm, he was the lone ‘grown-up’ running full speed and superman belly flopping on the kids' sled... face first all the way down the hill... I was the wife screeching reprimands at him from the hilltop... 

A week and a half ago he fell, hitting his cheek on the pointy corner of the dresser.  He managed to avoid sharing this bit of info with me for two days... that is until the bruise darkened and outed him.   Imagine my delight to hear how he survived the neck snapping, whiplash that jarred his head... a mere inch from his eye!?  Good Grief...  As if this type of 'survival' is some macho right of passage...


I think the worst is behind us.  Everyone here is hanging in there... trying our best to keep it together...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

No More Yoda

(Act 1 / Scene Seen 2 - 1/17/13)

Before this story begins... I wish to outline a quick ‘disclaimer.’  In case anyone is wondering, Frank gave his full rubber-stamp of approval.  That being said, this is my slanted side of the story... slanted because, of course, I am going to tell it from my perspective... should Frank desire, he can sit and write his own version...  

Ha!?!  As if his version would consist of anything more than a repeat of these two words... “I’m fine.”  

Little, if anything, affects him!  Seriously, this is the man that - sorry we’re going to get really personal for a moment  - went to sleep while getting a vasectomy.  No... he was not given, nor did he take, any medications to relax him.  If he was any more ‘relaxed’ as he says, he’d be dead.  The doctor could not be convinced.  He wanted to know ‘What he took?’, “Most people are not this ‘relaxed’?!”  All Frank wanted to know is, “Do I need to be awake for any reason?”  No sooner did the doctor say "Well, No?" and Frank drifted off into La-La-Land. 

This relaxed demeanor ‘malady’ - as I refer to it - is unnerving for the rest of the human race who try to exist alongside him.  There is no gauge for fear, danger, or concerns.  That being said, one might view him as the couldn’t-care-less calm within many a storm.  It’s what allows him to actually sit, as a needle is being stuck into his eyeball... Lord knows I would have to be sedated!

His vision is barely improving - thanks a lot stroke! - though the verdict is not in yet.  (He is still going for treatments, a.k.a. Injections in the Eyeball! ...squealed loudly from behind the hands covering my own...)

Next on the medical ‘To Do’ list, was the structural aspects surrounding his eyes.  Two years ago the doctor wanted him to have surgery to correct the excess tissue encroaching on his vision, as well as the drooping lids below.  Day by day he was looking more and more like wise ol’ Yoda from Star Wars. 

But Frank would have nothing to do with surgery, especially an eye lift!  That’s vanity, and he will have no part of that. (said with a snarky cockeyed wink... ;)  

I can’t say I blamed him.  There was so much already on our life’s plate... Grandpa was having serious issues thanks to aging/dementia, Cherub had to be home schooled thanks to situations at school, I was falling apart thanks to all this - as well as needing to get my own surgical needs addressed... Our home was on pure overload. 

With those issues now either addressed, or somewhat controlled, Frank’s eyes moved front and center.  He agreed to reconsider the notion of surgery.  Of course, the fact that he no longer had a decent blind eye to turn, and was going from wise-ol’-Yoda level to Basset-Hound-in-the-making... it was time.

We sat in the eye surgeons office and - after taking a few of his pointed chides about 2 years later, bla, bla, bla - revisited the possibilities.

What an amazingly involved procedure?!  First, the excess upper lids needed to be removed, which was pretty straightforward - whatever was hanging into his line of vision had to go.  

Second, and more importantly/nerve racking, was the lower lids.  They were no longer ‘seated’ on his eyeballs, which caused his eyes to water incessantly, as they desperately tried to get tears to actually make it to each of those dried out orbs.  They didn’t...  pooled up in the space created below, they dripped out.  This is why he always looked like he was crying... and stoned... those red, gritty eyes were parched and screaming out.  “Water Please....”  

Chronic dry eyes... Itching, grainy, scratched up to the point of creating issues with vision, his eyes were bloodshot and looking more like a redlined roadmap... The health of his eyes was, and is, at stake, which is why he agreed to the second - way more invasive - part of the surgery.  Not only is excess tissue to be removed, but cartilage will be taken from his ears and used as virtual struts to support the lower lids.  (Yes... that is how low they were going....) 

The third recommendation - which Frank would not even consider - was reconstructing the tear duct that the doctor claims is 90% blocked.  Typically this procedure involves a somewhat Roto Rooter approach, as a fine tubular devise is inserted to rid the blockage.  However, the doctor was suggesting a way more involved procedure that bypasses the existing tear duct with a completely reconstructed new path.  This was much too invasive for Frank, especially since there is a glimmer of hope that once his lids are properly seated, the duct will begin functioning again. (I agree... We are crossing our fingers and anything else that can be crossed... eyeballs included.)

We left the office with an appointment for surgery... two days later!  As Lopez luck would have it, there was a cancelation on Thursday and Frank took it.  Not only did this date land just before the three day weekend, giving him an extra day to heal, but all the pre-surgical testing requirements were in order ‘thanks’ to the ongoing doctor visits.  It is surreal how it all lined up. 

I spent the next two days readying our house for another medical intrusion.  Frank, was Frank... unfazed.  Not nervous, not thinking about it, not anything... Even as we sat in the waiting room, he played phone Solitare, followed by one of his infamous naps.   I was by no means as calm.   He had told me numerous times to go home, “I’m fine.  Really Hon.  Come back later.  You don’t have to just sit here....”  Can you picture the moment?  The one where the Wife outright ignores the Hubby? There was no way I was leaving...  

(Actually, I brought my laptop and was prepared for the long haul.   I sat in a quiet waiting room and wrote.  It keeps my mind off of all the stress and allows you all a worthy update.  Win-win.)

I typed through the office hours ending.  I typed through the doors being locked.  However, when the security personnel began doing rounds, I could no longer mask my nerves behind my keyboard.  

Somebody better tell me something.... 

Frank was still in surgery.  I spent the last bits of waiting outside the surgical doors.  

Finally, I was called in.  Propped up, to give gravity a chance to ease some of the swelling, his eyes were covered with cotton bandages and ice packs.  The anesthesiologist was waiting nearby, as was a gaggle of nurses.   

“Fine.” was his response when I asked how he was doing.  His only compliant was, “They're trying to freeze me to death.”  He didn’t want the ice packs on.  Pain was not an issue, “my eyeballs are freezing” was.  The nurse and I began going over release paperwork, while he figuratively, and literally, chilled out.

One of the ice packs fell to the ground, revealing loosely fitted bandages.  The droplets of blood staining the gauze, was a tell tale indicator that this was really happening.  The nurse took the opportunity to check the incisions, and refresh the gauze and ice packs.

The first thing I noticed - that I didn’t like! - was the stitch that went from the bottom lid, up over and across his eyes, attaching to his forehead.   It looked uncomfortable to say the least, and if not for the swelling of his lids, the strings would have rubbed directly on his pupils.  Geesh!  Imagine my delight to hear that they expected me to remove this the next day... (Yea... I’m good. {self-pep-talk} I could take the stitch out... I suppose...{watch Frank try to blink, pep-talk-over})

Frank interrupted the nurses’ reassuring hoopla and surgical release protocol,Is there any reason why my balls are cold?”  She stopped briefing, concerned that he didn’t understand that he had ice packs on his eyes.  Actually, several nurses quickly leaned in to check on his mental faculties.  They were baffled and concerned.  I couldn’t help but laugh as I watched them fall prey to Dennis-the-Menace.  I was relieved that he was interacting.  Until now he was too quiet and ‘still’ for my liking.  (Yes... I know the man just had surgery... I didn’t like it!)

Leaning over, I grabbed the ice pack the nurse had left on his lap... Remember?  The one that had fallen off his face a few moments ago?  I signaled with my functional, rolling eyeballs, “His... Balls.”

It took a moment, and then with a somewhat non-medical, relieved revelation, they ‘got it’, “Ohhh... I thought he meant his EYE BALLS...”  I shook my head as they cackled over their ‘misunderstanding.’   Frank mustered a little smirk, albeit weak, “They're trying to freeze me to death.”     

Once in the van, even before the assistant left with the wheelchair, he started to shiver.  This from the man that might as well rent himself out as a personal warming device... Cherub can be found snuggling in his armpit on any cold day.  His hands have defrosted many a mitten-less fingers, but here he was complaining.  The heater would not get hot quick enough for his liking... and even when it was... he still shivered!

I couldn’t wait to get this painstakingly slow ride home, safely over!  Of course, once there he would not wait for anyone to help get him into the house... “I’m fine.”   He was basically blind because his eyes were so swollen.  Not only the lids, but the eyeballs too.  He managed to navigate into the house and took up residency on the couch.  (Cherub promptly hid in her room... can’t say I blame her.  He was a sight... bloody gauze that kept having to be replaced, swelling that was getting worse not better, temperament that was understandably waning, that funky stitch crossing his eyeball, not being able to see... Mini-man was ‘fine.’ {Yes... he takes after his father... somebody help me...})

‘To Do’ checklist:

Find every available pillow and prop, prop, prop him up.  (To help keep the swelling down...) 
Gather warm blankets - pile and tuck him toddler tight.  (He was still shivering!!)  
Spoon feed him a meal.  (He needed to eat so he could take pain pills...)  
Tape plastic eye shields bug-eyes in place. (I had to request and insist for these?!  Seriously, sometimes I don’t get the medical world... I would think after a surgery such as this, they would be mandatory?!)