Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Please Be Seated

I had surgery four weeks ago tomorrow.  Time sure flies when you’re recuperating in a chair. It’s just been one big ol’. . . routine. Every morning it’s the same thing—my darlin’ helps me out of bed (my arms around his neck, his arms around my back—I’m pretty sure it’ll be months before I’ll want to, I mean, before I can get up on my own) and then I park in the living room for the rest of the day.

I know sitting sounds easy, but it took a week after my operation to learn to do it on my own. And did we ever celebrate!  High Fives and Cheers and, well, that was about it before I got tired. Still, I can’t sit in just any chair. It’s gotta be something that won’t mold me in a painful ninety degree angle.
A few days after my newfound independence, the phone rang. I had been standing for a little too long, but I answered anyway. Dead air time after my “hello” made me start to hang up when I realized it was a recording from our insurance company. They’d heard I was in the hospital and wanted me to answer a few questions.
Well, what could I do? I figured I’d better play nice or they might not pay the bill. I leaned against the kitchen counter, hoping for a short survey.
“For this series of questions,” the female voice began, “state your satisfaction level from one to five.”
I really needed to sit down, but how do you put a recording on hold? Even though I was now a card-carrying sitter, I needed both hands to lower myself into the recliner, and only one hand was free. Flopping into a chair was out of the question—if I popped a stitch and started screaming, they wouldn’t know how to rate my response. 
I started to panic.
“Rob!” I yelled, right after I answered a terse “five” into the phone for the sixth time. Then I parked part of my tush on a kitchen barstool for three seconds. On the fourth, I stood up. Now both hands were occupied—one with the phone and the other pressed against the new pain in my left side.
“Yes,” I said through clenched teeth to the mechanized voice in my ear.  “Roby?!” I yelled again, knowing he was in the shower, but hoping he’d hear me, come to my rescue and . . . do what?  I didn’t know.  I was trapped in fatigue—wandering through the house, bent over and unable to sit anywhere, convinced I’d fall down before the robot I was listening to finally shut up and paid for my surgery.
I began to fast and pray. And cry a little.
Maybe the android woman heard the desperation in my voice. Asking the final question, her monotone script ended with this helpful information.
“24/7 nursing assistance is only one of the services we offer. If there is ever anything we can do for you, just call us.”
“I need help getting into a chair,” I muttered, slumped over and unable to write while she gave the number.
“Remember, our nurses are here to help you with anything, night or day,” she repeated.
Now she’s just messing with me, I thought, knowing there was a blog somewhere in this irony. She was still talking, though— was that robot ever long winded.
 “I NEED TO SIT DOWN,” I interrupted loudly, using small words and praying she’d come to life, like Pinocchio or Sleeping Beauty or Number 5.
“Don’t hesitate to call any time day or night. Our nurses are . . .”
I need someone to help me SIT DOWN!!!”  I yelled as the benevolent call disconnected.
Suddenly Rob rounded the corner, his worried face lathered in shaving cream.
“Are you okay?” he asked me with concern. “What do you need, babe?”  I hung up the phone and eased myself into a chair.
“I need a chocolate martini,” I told him, surrounding myself with ice packs and pillows.
You know, if I thought 24/7 nursing assistance offered distillation therapy I’d have called them. But it was pointless. I knew what they’d say.
“You’re still recovering from surgery, Mrs. McLeod. The only alcohol you can have right now is isopropyl.”
Talk about adding insult to injury.

Photo courtesy of Nathan Wells' photostream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/72274813@N00/867698433


  1. Oh dear, I feel your pain! I wish you speedy recovery! =)

    1. Oh, thank you, DinoMama! Everyone says it just takes time. And a sense of humor doesn't hurt. ;)

  2. Och!!! What a good storyteller you are. I hope standing with ease is in your future. But without the phone calls.

    1. That's so nice of you to say, Rachel. Thanks! I guess telling stories is my favorite thing to do. Right next to standing comfortably. ;)

  3. Irony for sure Eula! You have more patience.. especially in your state.. than I would for those robotic telephone calls. It just seems so not right that if they truly cared why they would not have an actual person call.

    1. I have to agree with you, Lorie. It would have been nice if one of their automated questions was, "Do you mind automated surveys?" Still, there's a blog in almost everything, I think! Thank you for empathizing and taking the time to read this piece. Good luck in your writing, too!

  4. Okay, your story telling has me in stitches... thankfully, not literal ones. Glad you are on the mend and I hope you will have plenty of energy for standing whenever you want soon.

    1. Oooh, yeah, the last thing I want is for my readers to pop a stitch on my account! I'm better, thanks, MrsH!