First off, I just can’t stop thanking everyone for their support during Surgery Week. Your calls, texts, Facebook messages, posts, notes, and visits have made such a difference, and it truly feels like yesterday, Tim was completely surrounded in a blanket of love and support. That feeling continues as Tim is in recovery. Thank you.
Now, let’s have some laughs.
If you’ve not had the pleasure of abdominal surgery, one of the big goals after you are out and in recovery is that you need to pass gas.
I should probably stop here. If you are squeamish about gas, please stop reading this. I get it. I’m squeamish about body liquids, which means the next few weeks are going to be a hoot as I deal with Tim’s post-op journey. But as we’ve noted before, the man has lots of good karma and given that he took care of me after a C-section, it’s payback time.
So, back to gas. It appears that you can’t leave the hospital until you pass some, so everybody is very interested in that happening, and what I’ve learned during this experience is that everyone talks about it in a different way. The proper old school nurse referred to it as “passing gas.” (That’s my phrase of choice, but I’m weirdly old fashioned about these things.) The way cooler and hipper night nurse used the word “fart” like a 7th grade boy and I quite liked her for that. We also shared a good laugh together after Tim stood up for the first time late last night and launched into a very odd burping sequence like nothing I’ve ever heard. It was six weird burps in a row and while it was happening, the nurse and I exchanged looks of combined concern and confusion because it was so unusual. When it ended and Tim didn’t explode, the nurse and I enjoyed laughing together at his expense. Tim hoped that his burp show would count for something, but in the hospital world, the gas has to escape from the other end, so no dice, but thanks for the good laugh, Arndt!
Since then we’ve been playing a strange hospital game of Waiting for Godot. Through the night, Tim slept pretty soundly in between sessions where nurses came in to poke and prod or take vitals. During the night, I had quite a time wrestling with the hospital barcalounger next to Tim’s bed. I’m not sure if they’re all made that way, but I spent half of the night holding on to the wall to the right of me with a death grip for fear I’d topple over backwards, and the other half of the night hanging on to Tim’s bed on the opposite side for fear of ejecting myself out the front by way of the foot “rest.” I was basically a human Weeble Wobble, half-sleeping next to a man hooked up to 14 tubes who could burp six times in a row but somehow not produce a single solitary toot.
Yep, I said “toot.” If you don’t believe me, look at Tim’s whiteboard! The nurse wrote it as the last item on Tim’s Plan!
The whole whiteboard questionaire is the stuff of a bad hospital sitcom where I imagine Charlie Sheen plays Tim Arndt. Like when the nurse had to go through the required questions and asked what she needed to do to provide excellent care, Tim shrugged and said, “Get the hell out of here.” The nurse looked at me and rolled her eyes and wrote, “Do what you have to do.” Or when she asked, “What is the most important thing we can do for you today?” Tim scowled and said, “Nothing.” Or when the beautiful whip-smart nurse practitioner from the urologist’s office came in and said, “I’m going to pull this down but I’m not trying to see your naughty parts,” and Tim said, “Oh man, I really wanted you to!” Lucky for us, she didn’t make a fast move for the emergency call button.
So, the waiting game continues. The beautiful whip-smart nurse practitioner told Tim that his reward for passing gas is food (he’s been on clear liquids thus far), so now Tim might be a bit more motivated. When she left, Tim raised up his arm and pumped it up and down and said, “I’ll just do this! Do arm farts count?” And he laughed his big Tim laugh, which means today, everything is going to be alright.