Not exactly a reference for a still life painting--more of a reference for a life on hold till further notice. My couch has become home. It's where I sit, I eat, I exercise, I conduct business, I sleep. My daily walks have been reduced to the eighteen steps I take through the living room, the foyer, down the hall to the powder room and back. I pass the piano. I pass the kitchen. I pass the giant floor mirror where sometimes I pause to wave to the lame woman who waves back. Once I stopped at the piano, lowered myself to the bench, swiveled slowly, carefully, into a comfortable position at the keyboard and played Beethoven's Pathetique, the piece I've been working on since last December. The anesthetics and the narcotic pain killers hadn't reduced my brain to mush. Pleased, I went home, back to the couch, back to my life. And Ellis'.
His couch is across the room from mine, closer to the kitchen where he prepares all our meals. Last night, Saturday night, break-the-fast Yom Kippur night, he prepared baked rainbow trout with Port wine mushrooms and petit pois au beurre, a superb meal. My man is such a treasure!
Reprogramming my knee to bend to an angle of a hundred and ten degrees takes up a major portion of the day either thinking about doing it, getting ready to do it, or actually doing it. Being that brutal to a wounded limb would never have occurred to me, so that's why the doc had the automatic knee bending machine dropped off. I simply have to get it up on the couch, plug it in, get my leg into the apparatus, strap my leg in, flip a switch and let the device take it from there. Three two hour sessions was prescribed, but the doc didn't give the script to a sadistic Captain of hisTorture Chamber; he gave it to me, the warm body to whom the knee is attached. Being a much kinder soul, two one hour sessions seems to be enough stretching and flexing a day-- each session to be followed with three hours of soothing, icy relief from the electrical icing device.
I'm not a masochist or an Olympian, just a woman who wants to stroll around Tiananmen Square--or the new mall on the corner--and stand in front of an easel for longer than an hour.
To ice, you remove the fifty pound knee bending machine from the couch and simply fasten the icing knee brace,which is hooked up to a compressor on the floor next to the couch. The switch to turn it on is cleverly placed in the back of the compressor, while the switch to activate it is on the front. The designer me thinks there was no design put into this machine at all. No engineer considered that the patient's hand couldn't reach the power switch from the head of the bed. Another person is needed to do the heavy lifting and initiate the icing session.
At day's tiring end, a last stroll to the powder room, then bed full of anticipation of taking my first shower first thing next morning. Sounds doable, but there's those fourteen steps on the stairway to deal with. Exhausted, I figured Ellis and I would figure it out.
No one professional involved tells you outright all the help you will really need to get back on your feet. They leave out or play down quite a lot--like having quite a few prepared meals on hand. (My survival instincts made me think of that myself). They leave out the assistance you need really learning how to operate the walker properly to protect your other joints, defrosting, preparing and serving pre-made foods, taking the medications, getting the medications, the clothing to have on hand, bathing, grooming, handling the horrible constipation from the narcotics used in and after surgery--the multitude of tasks able bodied folks can perform for themselves--the concerns we have over medications, their side effects and that scary trail of little blood droplets across the ecru carpeting that sent EMR running around the house looking for gauze pads and surgical tape at five in the morning while i wondered if we had any in the house. They don't talk about life after surgery beyond sending over the machines, recommending an in-home care agency who sends over a nurse whose main concern is having you sign her visiting sheet so she'll get paid by the insurance company.
When I said Ellis is a treasure, I meant it. My couches comfortably sleeping two are to be treasured also. Like Joe's luggage in JOE AND THE VOLCANO, I never want to be without my Honey or my sofas.
TWO THUMBS UP FOR ELLIS AND MY SOFAS. TWO THUMBS DOWN FOR PRE KNEE SURGERY PERSONAL PREPARATION.