As coronavirus takes over our states and country, I am here at home not because of the virus but for another reason.
Over the past few years, Laurel has been suffering from knee pain issues. She finally got to the point where the knee pain had gotten so bad that it was time to face the reality of knee replacement. She had been talking to one doctor for the last several years, but the resolve was a single choice knee replacement and she wanted to talk about other options. Since this doctor had no other options, Laurel sought a second opinion and was left with a better feeling that she was getting the best knee replacement option for her situation.
In February she made her decision and she set a date to have her surgery done. She picked March 20 as her date to have a double knee replacement. Who knew at the same time coronavirus was beginning to build around the world. As her date came closer the disease also made its way to the United States and slowly marched across the states. The virus found its way into the Minneapolis-St. Paul area where Laurel works. She stayed vigilant and self-limited herself with clients at the place where she works. We live about an hour’s drive away in Wisconsin and her surgery center is another hour to the east of where we live. Being Laurel was having this done at a surgery center and not at a hospital she felt confident that the virus had not infected the surgery center. A few days before her surgery, the virus had shown up in our County, Eau Claire County in Chippewa County which makes up the Chippewa Valley region. She kept in contact with the surgery center keeping abreast of whether her surgery was on or not. Her surgery stayed scheduled right up until her surgery time.
Friday morning Laurel and I along with our daughter Beth drove Laurel over to the surgery center to have her surgery done. As we were checking in, the receptionist asked Beth to leave the facility because they did not want extra people in their surgery center. I was allowed to stay being I was the driver for Laurel. So Beth grabs my keys and took off while I was staying at the surgery center for Laurel‘s operation. A few minutes later the pre-op surgery nurse came to get Laurel and she looked at me and she told me this is the last you will see of your wife. You are not welcome to come beyond this point for her procedure. So I questioned if whether or not I had to stay at the surgery center for the surgery. They told me it was not necessary and that I could leave the facility. In hindsight, this was probably a good decision. It limited my contact in the surgery center and thus limiting the center’s exposure to the virus. I called Beth and had her come back to the surgery center and pick me up and we drove home and I knew I had some projects that I could do at home while Laurel was having her surgery. They said that her surgery would be done at about 3 o’clock and the doctor would contact me with the news after her surgery. We stopped and got a few groceries and then we made our way home and on the way home I stopped to pick up a drywall lift so that we could put drywall on the walls of our new shop. The new shop is a different story for another day.
A few minutes before 3 o’clock, the surgeon gave me a call and said the surgery was complete and successful. He said Laurel would be in recovery until 4 and then in her room about 4:30. I said I would arrive back at the surgery center about 5 and rejoin Laurel. The surgeon also said she would be walking on her new knees that evening.
I cleaned up and headed back to the surgery center and Beth stayed home because if she road along, she would just have to stay in the car while I visited with Laurel. I arrived at the surgery center and there was two receptionist working at the front desk in the afternoon. They were helping another woman get into her appointment with the doctor and seemed a little distracted to help me. The one receptionist made a call upstairs to the recovery area to check on Laurel and then she hung up the phone and came over to talk to me. She said with the way things are going with this coronavirus, things have changed since this morning. She told me that I would not be able to visit Laurel in her room because of the coronavirus in our area. So I had just driven for an hour to visit with her just to find out that I would have to drive back an hour to get home. You could tell the receptionist was nervous in telling me but I was understanding because even in my job I have been receiving emails on a regular basis talking about how our procedures were changing at our business. I was understanding what was going on in the medical field.
I made a call to Laurel from the parking lot on my phone and talk to her about how I was unable to visit her and asked how she was feeling. I told her that the nursing staff told me I wouldn’t be able to visit her and I would be headed home. We kept in contact over the next couple of days with phone calls and text messages. She did say to another of our daughters, she was the last surgery until the coronavirus is over. As I say this is a new day and a new time and we have to improvise to keep everybody healthy.
Laurel stayed in the surgical center for two nights and on Sunday I was able to pick her up and bring her home. We headed over about 10 o’clock so that we could arrive at 11 o’clock and the nursing staff would bring her down to the vehicle. We were not allowed to enter the building. I got a message saying get the car as close to the door as possible. So I jimmied the car in such a way that I backed it up to the building and Laurel was able to basically take one step out of the door of the surgical center and one into the vehicle. The nurses arrived with Laurel and lots of laughter. They said I should get closest to the door award for how close I got the vehicle to the front door.
We made our way home and got Laurel settled into her comfy chair for the next several weeks. That doesn’t mean she is going to be lax in doing her rehab. A potluck of pills throughout the day and ice therapy on her knees is helping with the pain and swelling. With Beth home, she has brought an arsenal of new food recipes and they are leaning on the vegan side. Help us, we are hobby farmers! It not all that bad, she can continue to work from home just like every other day and help with the care of Laurel. For me, I can continue to work on projects in the new shop and offset the vegan dishes with smoked brisket and my rendition of the Wisconsin Friday fish fry. Being at home waiting out the coronavirus isn’t all bad, my days have purposes in these troubled times.