We’ve been doing a couple of remodeling projects in our house, and one of the more strenuous jobs my husband tackled was to pull up a rather long hallway of old tile. He was like a whirling dervish, pulling up the base flooring right along with the heavy tile while my youngest son and I carried the debris out to a waiting dumpster. Lots of work, but boy oh boy was I happy to see that tile go!
However, while my husband was working, one of his knee pads slipped and somewhere during the process he hurt his knee. Well “hurt” is an understatement. He burst the bursa, which is a sack between the joints that can fill with liquid to protect the body. He felt it immediately, but then like the hard working man he is just kept going.
This happened the week before Easter, and since then his knee went from an irritation to an infection that refused treatment—leading to surgery to drain the fluid so the antibiotics could work. My husband was pretty insistent on going home the same day of the surgery, assuring the doctor we could handle the dressing changes. For instruction, the doctor made an iPhone movie of how to clean and dress the incision.
I suppose you’re wondering where those sweet words come in . . .
Many of you know I’m a caregiver to my handicapped adult son. I’m familiar with cleaning more cavities of the human body than anyone would want to hear about. So what’s a little dressing change, right? Little did I realize my husband’s incision was going to be left open for healing.
Oh, my. It’s one thing to change a band-aid on a stitched incision, but this was something else entirely. I watched that iPhone movie three times with a sick stomach, thinking multiple exposure would help me get used to the idea of using Q-tips to stick gauze underneath the skin.
When I was finally able to show my husband the movie of how to change the dressing, you might guess what those sweet words were.
I’m doing this myself.
Four magical words, freeing me of the agony that I’d be hurting him—if I could manage to do it at all.
So the following morning we get everything ready. I’m standing by in case it’s harder than he thinks. We take off the old dressing. Despite the blood, I’m okay for about fifteen seconds. Have you ever seen an open incision? On your husband? I can only imagine what it felt like for him, seeing the insides of his own knee that’s just not meant to be looked at.
I tried to be of some help but shortly after those first fifteen seconds I knew only one thing: if I didn’t sit down I was either going to vomit or faint. How’s that for a helper? I sat, not even watching. Although he did pale a bit from the pain, my husband was able to dress the wound himself the way the doctor instructed.
Perhaps some day we’ll laugh about all of this, but honestly even just writing this makes my stomach churn. I always knew God didn’t wire me to be a nurse, and this confirmed it.
May I salute every single nurse and doctor out there, those steel-stomached gifts from heaven? My husband has said to me more than once he should have gone into a medical profession, and if I ever needed convincing this did it.
Who would have thought “I’m doing this myself” would be words I’d be forever thankful for?