No, not the "richer or poorer" part. We've already been both rich and poor. And while rich might be easier, I'm not afraid of poor.
Here, Gentle Reader, I am talking about "in sickness and in health".
Specifically, as it relates to TW. And his marked propensity for winding up in operating rooms, with surgeons saying things like "Wow, never seen *that* before"...
This time, thankfully, it wasn't life-threatening. But that hasn't made it any less stressful; and the fact that TW isn't the best patient in the world isn't helping.
This time, TW had to have surgery to replace a tendon in his hand. This might not seem like a big deal on the surface - after all, modern-day microsurgical techniques mean that healing times are much faster than they used to be, and they allow the surgeon to complete repairs that once-upon-a-time were nigh on impossible.
Several years ago, TW's left hand got caught in a piece of equipment. The doctor at the ER that day took an x-ray, and said "Nothing broken!", sent him home with an ice pack, some extra-strength Tylenol, and a note for work that said he could resume regular duties as soon as the swelling was gone.
No one in our household gave that incident another thought. Until about two and-a-half weeks ago.
My cell phone rang a bit more than an hour after TW started his shift at work. I glanced at the caller ID, and I knew instantly that something was wrong, because the call was coming from his supervisor's phone. I answered, and heard TW say "Honey, I've got to go to Medical, I'll call again..." I never got a word in before the line went dead.
I had about 5 minutes of near insanity. What had happened? Was he bleeding? Would I be allowed to talk to him again, or did I need to start driving towards the hospital I knew they would take him to in The Greater Metro? I did a quick mental inventory; I had no cash, the van was low on gas, and I had no one who could come and stay with Mom and Twinks if I needed to be at the hospital for very long. I had to change clothes; I was wearing raggedy old paint-stained sweats, and my hair had been pulled back into a rather untidy mess while I had been cleaning the house. I was just trying to figure out if I should call his supervisor's desk to see what was going on when my cell lit up again. This time, TW was calling from his own phone. He was out of breath - I had to ask him to slow down and repeat his words again. "I'm fine!" he shouted into the phone, "But they are sending me to the Doctor, so I'm coming straight home." In what was becoming a rather unsettling trend, the line clicked over to silence again.
I started to dial his cell, when he called back. "Tell the doc," he shouted "Tell him that my hand is all messed up." I tried to ask what happened, but he cut me off. "Medical said I have to be seen tonight." He was still breathing hard, huffing and puffing like he was running a marathon. "Call our doc, and tell him I'm coming in. I'm stopping by to get you." he said. I asked what happened. "That's just it!" he exclaimed, "I don't *know* what happened! I was just *working* and my hand is *messed up*! I have to go - I can't hold this phone and drive, so I gotta go. I will see you in a few minutes." TW hung up (again) and I was left to call the doctor's office.
It was 4:00 pm on a Friday afternoon.
I wasn't hopeful that we could get him in to see our primary care physician; H1N1 has kept all the local medical facilities busy. Sure enough, the nurse said: Don't come here. You will get the swine flu, and then you will be miserable *and* have a "messed up" hand. Go to the ER at the hospital next door. They have an orthopod on staff, and can call in a "hand guy" if TW's hand is really mangled.
At 4:10, TW was in the driveway. I headed out the door, more than a little afraid of what I was going to see. I can deal with a lot of stuff, but seeing people I love injured just about knocks me out, every time.
TW waved his "injured" hand at me. I gasped involuntarily...