Flat Heads Belong Only on Screwdrivers

You know what sucks worse than that little shitlicker “running” North Korea? Having a flat head. Apparently, when I was a baby, my mother never turned my ass over, so practically my whole pre-ambulatory life I lay on my back in my crib or in this crank-up baby swing that had a seat made of turquoise canvas.

According to a news report I recently read, I’m not the only one whose caretakers just left them endlessly lying there while their heads flattened out. The article, entitled, “Nearly half of babies have flat spots, study finds,” does not make me feel any fucking better to know that I’m not alone. Fifty percent of the population don’t have flat heads, and those are the successful people.  You don’t see any runway models who spin around and make the crowd gasp because the backs of their heads align perfectly with their necks. Like mine.

And although Donald Trump has gasp-worthy hair and it SEEMS like part of his brains might be missing, when he turns to the side, he doesn’t look like somebody lopped off the back hemisphere of his skull. Like me.

The Donald

I can’t wear a hat because I look like a deck-post. I can’t rock a high ponytail like Jennifer-fucking-Aniston. And when I lie on my back with my head on any kind of pillow, it looks like somebody put a ramp up to our headboard.

Even though the study in the article I’ve mentioned was conducted on two-month-old Canadian babies—and who the hell knows what kind of babies they have in a place where there is no “ow” sound—there is at least one American company that manufactures orthotic helmets to reshape a baby’s head before it hardens permanently into the shape of the capital letter D. Like mine.

Unfortunately, the helmets cost thousands of bucks and make your family look like child abusers or hockey freaks, which are equally bad.

The cheaper option is just to turn the damn baby. I mean, what are you doing that you can’t rotate the baby every hour or so? Even the laziest sumbitches can get up off the couch at the end of every episode of This is Us or I Love Dick or Game of Thrones and turn. The. Baby.

The Canadian study showed that when their flat heads were not caught in time, the babies’ facial features were also affected. Great! You lazy assholes are creating children who are all chainsaw accident in the back and Quasimodo in the front. I hope you are proud. Your children will suffer a lifetime of mediocrity, a hand-to-mouth existence, the failure of all of their hopes and dreams, and no cute hats in their futures.

I now know exactly why I have had limited success and why I have a face that incited my grandmother to say things like, “You’re pretty to me.” Flat head. Thanks. When my grandmother was teaching her own daughter—my mother—all those parenting skills, she might have spent a little less time on left-handed compliments and more time on turning the flat-headed baby.

Update From the Heart of Hess 9

7/1/16
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Now, I’ve never cut anyone open from throat to tummy with a sharp instrument before – so I’m not saying it’s easy – but I grew up watching my grandparents clean fish out at my granddaddy’s pond, and in his 70’s, Papa could gut bream like they came with factory perforations. His handwriting looked like a drunk practicing penmanship with his non-dominant hand during a ride in a rusty pick-up with worn-out shocks on a dirt road after heavy rains. But, goddamned if he didn’t slit a straight line in a fish that might even still be squirming to get away. So, you can see why I’m baffled by the veering wound down Hess’s chest after his heart surgery.

Hess's chest wound

As if I needed another reason to hate on Dr. Toothy, a.k.a. Doodie Chowser, M.D. But, come on. Even the Jehovah’s Witness who stopped in earlier this week commented that she’d “never seen a heart surgery wound so crooked,” which leads me to believe A) she might really be a home healthcare worker after all, and B) Doodie had pot brownies for breakfast the day he operated on my husband, or Katharine Hepburn did NOT, in fact, die in 2003 and has been immersed in researching her role as an asshole cardiac surgeon for the upcoming re-imagining of Adam’s Rib. And come to think of it, Doodie DOES have a horsey face. I’m liking this theory.

Anyway: the jiggly hypotenuse of a scar on my husband’s chest. Was Hess trying to dodge Doodie in the OR? Was he placed by mistake on one of those vibrating beds instead of a proper operating table? Was there perhaps a loud cover band playing “Wipeout” on the floor below? Who can say? All I know is that Hess looks like he might’ve had a drug deal go sour with a kindergartner.

If you want to get down to it, the meandering river of an arm wound where Doodie harvested Hess’s radial artery looks ever worse:

Hess's arm wound

And now, NOW, we’ve got a serious problem. As we wash and swab with Betadine the gradually drying, hardening protective wound cover his body has produced, I see the desire sparking in Hess’s eyes because, Reader: My darling is a picker. Loose skin, errant mustache hairs, nostril dwellers, scabs – These beauties are a plate of pastries and pie wedges in front of a woozy diabetic.

Because I’m deaf, God has gifted me with the heightening of other senses in compensation; I’m not sure how this makes up for my inability to hear music, conversation, laughter, and evidence of achievement during sex, but I’m blessed with the olfactory skills of a bloodhound. I can detect urine at 2 parts per million and the remnant of a cigarette smoked by a pizza delivery guy fourteen years ago at 200 yards. Thank you, Jesus!

Also, I have a “picking” radar with the accuracy of Mormon sperm. Bulls eye, every time! If I’m driving, and Hess’s pointing finger gets within one-inch of his nose hole, I’m on it like Bill Cosby on a roofied blonde.

Early in our relationship, I’d say something like, “Can I get you a shovel?” and we’d both die laughing. Now, if I notice and mention any of Hess’s picking, he looks at me all slitty-eyed with his lips in a constricted little O not unlike the rectum of a drug mule who’s just spotted a road block.

I admit that when I’m filled with anxiety, I gnaw at my fingernails, which drives Hess mad. And, at least once a day, I put the household through the agony of Elane’s Clearing of the Bronchial Tubes, and I’m SORRY I have to hack up small chunks of lung with such wet auditory detail. But, you have to understand, Reader, that Hess can take a teeny scar from a scraped knee and pick at it until it looks like we’re cultivating a good-sized cauliflower crop on his leg. I can’t tell you how many times he’s created Niagaras of blood down a limb where a scratch was almost healed.

So, now do you grasp our dilemma, Reader, do you? Tonight, when we saw for the first time that the arm scab has just started to lift off at one end, we shared twin looks of horror that said, “Trump is the Republican nominee for fucking president!” But, we were really just aghast because we recognized the allure of all that luscious scabbing to a man helpless to resist its siren call. God! There’s going to be blood everywhere, just everywhere, and he’s going to pick that arm wound until it’s the width of the Mississippi. Do you all think a straight-jacket would help? Not for Hess. For me, people. For me.

Update From the Heart of Hess 8

6/29/16 & 6/30/16
Update from the Heart of Hess:

All righty. Let’s see. Covering two days here, so get comfy on that toilet, Reader.

The home healthcare people did not come by on Wednesday as the rep said they would, so we were kind of in limbo, waiting to ask questions and whatnot. Then, a woman came this morning (Thursday) when I was fast asleep, so I have no idea what went down. She could’ve been a Jehovah’s Witness for all I know or someone selling magazine subscriptions to fund her “senior trip,” and I guess the upside is all the money I’ll save by not having to buy Christmas gifts anymore, or we might have some rockin’ new periodicals on the way.

(My sincere apologies to any Jehovah’s Witnesses I’ve offended, but what are you doing on FaceBook, anyway, since it’s the Devil! Run! Oh, my Gahhhhhddddd, Runnnnnnn!) But, the problem here is that I was asleep. Dead to the world. Visiting the Land of La-squared.

If I didn’t need to sleep, I could get almost everything accomplished especially Hess’s and my grades, which are so, so behind. It looks like we’ve worked out with our dean to have someone else cover Hess’s SNHU courses starting next week. And, let me tell you, that will be a BLESSinnnnnnnng. And a half.

It’s not JUST because there are two assignments per week times over 60 students (in three classes) times the two weeks I’m behind for a grand total of over 240 assignments glaring at me from the gradebook. 240. Assignments. To. Grade. PLUS the current week’s additional 42 assignments in my class to grade by Sunday. FML.

It’s mainly because there is also an endless supply of discussion board posts to answer every day and student emails that need responses and student problems that need to be corrected. AND, when there is ONE student who sucks up your time like a hooker named Hoover, well. You can imagine. (Not the hooker. Focus here.)

So, there is a student in one of poor Hess’s courses whose life philosophy is this: (super whiny and nasally voice) “It REALLY hurts when I stab myself in the guts with this Ginsu-sharp knife, and even though everyone’s told me that the pain will stop if I just quit stabbing myself, I just feel like if someone would DO something to make this not hurt anymore, everything would be all right.” The student sends a flurry of increasingly agitated emails and matching posts to the General Questions forum at the least hint of distress, so we’re met with a wall of whine every time we go to class or check the email.

I spent nearly two of my very precious hours trying to sort out her issues today. I finally, finally got her to contact Tech Support, and guess what??! Guesssssss! Tech Support lobbed it right back in my court probably because the IT guy couldn’t get her to stop stabbing herself either. I hate him and wish a painful pox on his loins.

But, the damned DAY before the heart cath, this crap started, and Hess was honestly beside himself with stress over the student’s bombardment. It felt almost good to send her a reply that might have possibly kind of suggested that I really appreciate how much STRESS she caused my husband, who was now being scheduled for an emergency quadruple bypass, which may or may not have been exacerbated by recent STRESS.

Yes, some of you may be thinking, “Well, Elane, you could be grading right now instead of writing long, long updates.” If you’re one of those folks, please kiss the fattest part of my ass on your way out. Not only is this the only way I maintain a shred of sanity, but I vomit these things out like whatever that was that Teddy puked allllll over the kitchen floor today.

In fact, it takes me less time to write an update than it took me to clean up allllllll that Teddy vomit, partly because I’ve run out of paper towels cleaning up various fluids over the last couple of days and can’t go to the store because “The patient must be attended 24/7 for the first 2 weeks.”

Speaking of fluids, besides the copious amounts of pee I’ve swabbed this week, today, as I mentioned on FB, the skies opened up and rained on us like a cow peeing on a flat rock, and I totally forgot that there is a leak in our bedroom ceiling, which I didn’t recall until I picked up from the dresser top some slipper socks to shove on my freezing feet, and water poured out of them and onto the floor the same way a showerhead does when it’s on full blast and someone neglects to close the shower curtain all the way. Hess.

But that’s okay because I had one clean towel left that absorbed an astonishing amount of water from the bathroom floor, and I had to wash linens anyway since Teddy woke me up this morning by dragging his freshly diarrhea-y butt across my arm and the bed sheets. Really. It’s okay. Racing stripes are cool.
And, see? We’re back to where I started: Teddy had to wake me up because I was asleep.

I stayed up into the wee hours trying to finish grades – hahaha! And, at around 5 AM, Hess jolted me awake because he was distraught over the CPAP machine doing something or not doing something, and because I was going on about 2 hours of sleep, I handled the situation much like a crack whore on a bender. I fell back asleep, and at 10 AM, Hess jolted me awake because he needed his blood pressure assessed before morning meds. And although nearly five plus nearly two seems like it would add up to nearly seven hours of quality sleep, no. When that shit ain’t consecutive, forget it. I feel like I’m in a secret sleep deprivation study.

Meanwhile, Hess took the wrong damned meds, sent a few email responses to students that were either gibberish or maybe Farsi, and then let some woman in who probably thought I was a total bitch for sleeping while my frail, recovering husband was toddling around unattended. Man, I can’t wait until the reinforcements get here. Those are coming, aren’t they?

Update from the Heart of Hess 7

6/28/16
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Oh, my gosh. If everything could just slow down for a minute. A second, even.

Help.

Oh, wait. Warning: This post will contain fear, frustration, freaking out, fretting and at least one other “f” word multiple times. If you cannot handle the truth, stop reading right now. Go rent A FEW GOOD MEN or something. Seriously. I’m not going to make up shit just to sound positive. Go on, now. Go watch some kitten videos on YouTube. Go onnnnnnn. Gone? Okay.

Hess has been home less than two days (yay!), and he’s already had one episode of atrial fibrillation that required a call to the doctor’s emergency service in the middle of the night (not yay). The rehab fellow who came by today – Art, who is an angel – said that Hess’s heart is healing very slowly and that Hess has to slow himself down immediately so that he doesn’t damage his heart muscle, which would be irreversible. He showed us all kinds of things about the devices we’ve been given, which would’ve been good to know BEFORE we came home two days ago.

The doctors sent us home with a mound of instructions – some of which are contradictory – and a baker’s dozen of new meds, and I’ve yet even to find time to make sense of it all. There are specific things that must happen on a 24-hour schedule, and there is no rotation of nurses – good or bad – to share the responsibilities.

All of you who’ve been through anything like this will understand: A caregiver has a mountain of sand to move with a pair of tweezers.

And not the good kind that really grab either. The cheap ones that after fifteen minutes of trying to get a grip on that chin hair you can’t see unless the hand-mirror is angled just right finally snag the hair enough to make it hurt like a bitch but then only break it off at .0000000000001 mm above skin level.

And it doesn’t diminish the importance of focusing on Hess’s recovery for me to say that as the primary caregiver, I’m drowning. In fact, the most critical thing in my universe is Hess’s recovery, but, but, but. I’m the most ill-equipped candidate for this job.

First, my darling is a tad resistant to all these “silly” requirements, which forces me to turn up my shrewmometer even higher than normal. Who else is going to make him shower and clean each wound and then swab it with Betadine every single day?

(“Oh, yeahhh. Betadine? No. You’ll have to go buy that separately,” said the CVS pharmacist at midnight on our first day home.

“The patient must be attended 24/7 for the first 3 weeks,” said the yellow instruction sheet.

“He has to ride in the backseat,” said everyone involved in cardiac healthcare.

“Fuck you getting him in the backseat!” said our Mini-Cooper.

“He’s better off if you leave him at home unattended than if he gets in a car,” said the first home-health care person. “You’re not going to be gone an HOUR just to get Betadine.”

“You have to get a pill-splitter, a pill organizer, medical supplies, special food, a home blood-pressure monitor, a freaking 3V lithium battery for the bathroom scale because it decided to die TODAY, and so, so many other things, and the lines at Walmart are like registration on the first day of Zombie school,” said my spinning head.)

Who else is going to make him weigh and take his blood pressure every morning before he takes his first round of meds? Who else is going to make the phone calls with her motherfucking deaf, betraying ears for all these mandatory doctors’ appointments (and that, alone, sends me into a tailspin)? Who else is going to fold him into the backseat gently, GENT-ly, Oh, my God, watch your head! so that we can go to the appointments? Who else is going to wash him and the sheets and the sheets and the sheets and the clothes and the clothes and the clothes when the meds make him incontinent, and it is totally NOT his fault, and he’s humiliated and doesn’t want to wear freaking adult diapers? The measure of true love is directly proportional to how willingly we wipe our partner’s ass. I. Fucking. Love. My. Husband.

And before anyone out there blasts me for making this negative or “about me” in ANY way, consider this: The bottom line is that I’m Hess’s ONLY advocate and caregiver. There is no one else to do the million things that must be done to help him heal properly, and I kind of suck at it. We have a combined total of five classes of students depending upon us, and I can’t keep up with it. And our house is in chaos because I was right smack in the middle of renovating EVERYTHING – and I do mean EVERYTHING – when this unexpected health crisis waylaid my co-pilot.

So, there is shit lying around all over, and the stream of home-health people who’ve come by since Monday (to tell us what to do, not to help us do it) have had to navigate the place like a minefield. Plus, we have a new puppy, so you can see how that might impact things, yes?

It isn’t like I thought on a whim, “Hey! I’ve got a great idea! Why don’t we get a house, and I’ll tear it all up and replace everything and run into all kinds of problems and delays so that the renovation bleeds into the time that all of our new classes start, but right BEFORE we get the house, let’s get a puppy who will just shit and piss EVERYWHERE because we are SURE that we’ll have plenty of time to train him now that we have a HOUSE with a yard, and then—I know, I know—this is the BEST part: Let’s do ALL of this, Honey, knowing full-well that you’re about to need to have your chest split open and your heart fixed and then require months of recovery and rehab! What do you think???” And then Hess just blithely went along with the plan.

It didn’t happen like that. But, now, here we are.

There are naturally good moments and not-so-good moments. Good: After Art gave Hess the directive to rest, slow down, take it easy, heallllll, a calm settled over the land of excrement.

Not-so-good: The CPAP lady who thinks she is being really efficient but who is really just a shell of humanity with no actual feelings came at 10 this morning and fitted Hess for his CPAP machine because sleep apnea – which was diagnosed shortly before the heart issues – has been robbing him of enough oxygen for years. He had to call her a few minutes after she left for clarification on how to fill the stinking reservoir, and we put the two head strap contraptions on all kinds of ways wrong before we figured it all out.

For just a moment, I was married to Hannibal Lecter, and it was so, so scary.

CPAP                                  CPAPs

But, once we got him looking more like a high school wrestler than a serial killer, he was able to drift into a peaceful, healing sleep in which he dreamed he was teaching in the coolest school where all the teachers walked together to have dinner in what turned out to be a library. As a token to get a tray, each teacher had to choose a book to discuss over the meal. He said, “Ohhhh, I’d love to teach in a place like that.” And, of course. Because my husband craves community more than anyone I’ve ever known. But, now, here we are.

We moved into a retirement community – for the community, get it?? – but because we are dumbasses, we got here right when everyone else left for six months. It is Florida. It is summer. Our neighborhood looks like the Apocalypse unless it IS the goddamned Apocalypse, which it probably is and we’ve been left behind because I use the Lord’s name in vain. Jesus Christ! Can I do nothing right?!

Well, okay. I did one thing that helped. I allowed myself a few moments of bleating and snotting this afternoon–I’m an ugly crier–until I felt better. Hess had a quiet, serene evening; good dinner; a little school work; warm shower; fresh Betadine; nighttime meds; CPAP on correctly; and he’s sleeping so well and beautifully as I type. The puppy is off somewhere humping his stuffed bear, which I know because I can feel a slight thumping in the floor. I’m filled with hope that Hess’s heart is healing, oxygen is rejuvenating his cells, slumber is restoring his precious body and soul. Thank you all for being there. For listening. Or reading. Good night, Darling Friends! More tomorrow.

Update from the Heart of Hess 6

6/27/16
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Thank you to all my sweet, loving and faithful FB friends for all the well-wishes, prayers, incantations, and just plain kind thoughts that not only gave me strength and comfort over the past two weeks but also eased Hess’s recovery. He got to come home yesterday afternoon — after I forgot to bring CLOTHES for him to wear out of the hospital and had to go back home to get some…duh. Yay! He’s adjusting to living in our chaos, and he’s already back to work because he’s amazing like that.

Update from the Heart of Hess 5

6/24/16
Update from the Heart of Hess:

And NOW, there is a fever. You know what? Just NO. Not having it. A doctor came this morning and said, “We might get you out of here this weekend!” He just didn’t say aloud that part about the extra-special parting gift of an infection. But that’s okay because Hess didn’t feel bad enough already, and sharing is so important.

***And them some crap happened when this person posted some negative shit and hurt my tender feelings, and then my brother launched an attack of rival-prison-gang-in-the-shower proportions, and a handful of my crew jumped in to assist. It took me a few days to recover.

Update from the Heart of Hess 4

6/23/16
Update from the Heart of Hess:
You all KNOW that I hate to admit failure or even a hint of defeat, right??? Hate it. Right up there with how much I despise Doodie Chowser, M.D., who will never, ever, ever get off my shit list for all of eternity. Ever. What a first-class (insert favorite euphemism for male baby maker)!

I stayed overnight on the cardiac unit, waiting up for the ungodly early hour of the surgeon’s rounds because – in a normal situation – I’m hard to wake up since I am deaf, and no amount of noise can rouse me from a slumber; but, going on a handful of hours of sleep over the past three days, I knew if I went home and dared the sleep gods, they’d be rolling around in the ether, laughing their asses off until I snapped out of bed around SEPTEMBER unless someone broke in the house and threw some coffee and light on me.

Sooo. I wrapped up in some 13-thread-count hospital sheets in the walk-in freezer of the cardiac waiting room all night long and worked on grading graduate-level creative writing assignments, some of which baffled me with passages like, “…the author’s syntax flowed freely because it was in the pattern of normal speech (iambic pentameter).” It COULD’VE been just the lack of sleep, the bone-numbing cold, the dearth of coffee, the anxiety over how best to inflict my ninja-like attack on Doodie Chowser, M.D. near sun-up. But you tell me. Does that passage say, “I’m a graduate-level writing student about to earn an ‘A’ for my astute grasp of the English language” to you? I don’t know.

Anyway, Doodie.

The shithead breezed in close to 6 AM and breezed out close to 6:01 AM.

He glanced at me with a contempt-sneer I haven’t seen since Leona Helmsley, and answered Hess’s question, “How much danger am I in that I didn’t have the other two bypasses?” with what can best be approximated by the image of a squatting dog and something steamy and pile-y. His RETREATING reply: “You’ll have to ask the other doctor who diagnosed all the blockages.” Next! Ca-ching!

Mother fuh…

Anyway, all that staying up and not even finishing the stupid grading (<–There’s that defeat I hate admitting. Sigh.) FOR NOTHING.

Poor Hess is groggy and listless and just plain wiped out. We were too dazzled by the reports from so many people that this surgery is such a positive thing (not that it won’t turn out to be as I’m sure it will, and, honestly, what alternative was there?? Duh.). But, the laparoscopic bladder-snatching last year really was an easy recovery, and we just thought this would go the same way. Not prepared at ALL. This procedure? NOT minimally invasive. His chest has been gutted like a fish; his ribs and shoulder-blades were separated; his left arm has been sliced open from wrist to elbow to harvest the radial artery; there is some other vein-harvest wound I haven’t even found; and he has really low oxygen, which (along with the chest wounds) makes it hard for him to get a good breath. Plus, the nurse yesterday mentioned that Hess would experience a kind of “male menopause” with this surgery: hot flashes, cold flashes, up-and-down mood swings. All of the things that make for a splendid day. That nurse wasn’t kidding either. You’d think I’d married a middle-aged woman who hasn’t seen estrogen since the first Clinton administration. There are moments when regular Hess pops up, so I know he’s going to be all better. I miss my curmudgeon.

Update from the Heart of Hess 3

6/22/16
Update from the Heart of Hess:

(Warning: Contains adult language, adult situations, and full-frontal nudity. And gluten.) 1) Don’t take this wrong: It’s NOT that things are BAD; it’s just that a couple of things are not good. 2) When Dr. Toothy told me that Hess did really well and only had two bypasses, the doctor’s shit-eating grin temporarily scrambled my processing ability, leading to the following misunderstandings: A) Hess only NEEDED two bypasses instead of four; B) Hess was “doing really well;” and C) The doctor was not REALLY a tiny turd, which makes him a cannibal because of that grin.

So, 3) Hess STILL NEEDS THE TWO OTHER @#$! veins fixed, but Doodie Chowser, M.D. failed to mention that tasty tidbit. “Oh, yeah, we got you all opened up there in the chestal area, but we couldn’t find enough suitable veins, so we just fixed the two worst ones, and let’s keep our fingers crossed that those other two hold out until we can get to it. ‘Kay? <<sucks something out of huge teeth>> (probably shit) Freaking kidding me??

And, then, THEN, 4) the night nurse in the cardiac ICU, whose FB profile I’m pretty sure lists “clubbing baby seals, especially the gimpy ones” under “hobbies,” didn’t have enough time to get my husband some food to take with his pain medication even though it clearly says right there on the label TAKE WITH FOOD TO AVOID AGONIZING NAUSEA, YOU HEARTLESS BITCH because she was way too busy being a heartless bitch. Oh, and she was annoyed when he pushed the nurse button after he got agonizing nausea, which makes perfect sense because that thing was only invented to alert nurses when a patient needs something, and how dare they have pain after open heart surgery and agonizing nausea after taking pain meds without food, the whiny, little fuckers. Man UP. Yeah. She should be careful I don’t track her down and pull that swingy ponytail of hers so tight she’ll be able to look both ways at the red light without moving her head. Because I so will.

5) After Hess was moved into a regular room late this afternoon – and BTW, I thought it was TUESDAY, but it’s freaking WEDNESDAY, which means I’ve lost an entire day!! Gaaaaaaaaaah!!! – I noticed that there were no little puff-up thingies on his legs; you know, those medical devices designed to prevent blood clots in patients who’ve had major surgery, especially when there’s a high risk of blood clots? Those things? Yeah, none of those on the potentially clotty legs. WTH? The admittedly nicer nurse said, “Oh, sure. He can have those if you want him to.” What? Was I finger-spelling too fast for you? Did you miss class the day y’all went over post-surgical procedures to prevent deadly blood clots and horrible, horrible lawsuits if anything happens to my husband??

Anyway, after an eternity, two nurses installed the anti-clot things, which look like thigh-high gladiator boots and would be all sexy and on trend if they weren’t Kelly green with Velcro closures. Half an eternity later after Hess noticed that only the right one was on, Nice Nurse plugged in the left one too (!) so both legs can be, you know, protected; and now Hess is hugging his big, red heart-shaped pillow to ease the pain of his incisions and injured ribs while he hacks and coughs to prevent pneumonia, another post-surgical concern. I’m honestly thankful for modern medicine and that Hess is alert and healing. Really, I am. One day, we’re going to look back on this and laugh. I just know it.

Update from the Heart of Hess 2

6/21/16, 8:55 AM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Okay, FB peeps: Hess is going to be wheeled into the OR area shortly. Cardiologist just popped in all preppy in his pink buttondown, saying he’s “hoping for a good result,” and I think that dude might want to bone up on his pre-surgery pep-talk skills.

6/21/16, 11:19 AM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Hmmm. The hospital in FL is VERY different than in Indy where there was a big screen on every wall with surgery patient updates like airport flight boards. Here, there is, like, a 100-year-old town crier who gave me this update on Hess after the first hour in surgery: “She’s doing great.” So. Yeah.

6/21/16, 11:20 AM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

I haven’t chewed off my finger nails in decades, and now. Now, I have ten little bloody stumps.

6/21/16, 11:22 AM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Ohhh. There is a super chatty woman here in the cardiac unit waiting room who just found out that I’m deaf, and she somehow got the idea that I communicate by finger spelling. Which she is now doing. Verrrrrrry slowly. Annnnnnnnd, that’s NOT a “g.” Dear God.

6/21/16, 11:29 AM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

So, since I can only imagine what’s happening in the OR, I’m pretty sure that the vein-harvesting part is over. Hess is going to be so MAULED. Poor baby.

6/21/16, 12:43 PM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Here in the Waiting Room. #lazyplacenames

6/21/16, 8:57 PM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Okay, so at about 1:00 this afternoon when the big-toothed doctor explained that Hess did really well in surgery and that I could go see him soon in recovery, I think, first, that the doctor doesn’t have a clear handle on what “soon” means (which is NOT two hours, Toothy), and that he might have been comparing how much agony Hess would be in if he were thrown into a wood chipper v. the reality that is “after one’s chest has been split open.” He is in the Cardiac ICU where they strongly encourage family/friends “not to feel obligated” to take advantage of the visiting hours (although screw that; I went twice anyway.) And I’m glad that I did because large amounts of morphine are not—not—helping my sweetie. He kept trying to tell me something, but A) he has a tube shoved down his throat; B) I’m deaf and really, really need to be able to read his lips; and C) he has a lisp anyway, so combine that with A & B, and you can see the problem, can’t you?? I couldn’t figure out what the heck word started with “th,” and I thought he might be thirsty.

Finally, FINALLY, I semi-hollered, “Gah, I think he’s saying he’s ‘sick!’ Is that right, Darling? Are you nauseated??” Vigorous-ish head nodding ensued, followed by immediate IV anti-nausea medicine, followed by a much-too smug pat on my own back for my wicked lip-reading skills. But, the baby is SICK, dadgummit, and what if I hadn’t gone back down there?? That nurse with her “Now, we don’t want you to talk with the tube in your throat, Mr….Mr. Yulritch.” would never in a million years have noticed that he was feeling vomity!!! Is he supposed to do charades or something? Pictionary? They don’t even HAVE markers. I’m not allowed back in until 11:00 AM, but you can bet your sweet ass that I’ll have mine jiggling at the door at 10. Maybe 9.

6/21/16, 9:31 PM
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Lord, really? Really? It has been a DAY, and I do not think that now is the time for the puppy to hump his much, much larger stuffed animal with such…house-shaking passion. #myeyesmyeyes

Update from the Heart of Hess 1

6/17/16
Update from the Heart of Hess:

I have been remiss in my Updates from the Heart of Hess over the last day or so while waiting for some news — ANY news — from the surgeon. (I apologize Morar Murray-Hayes, Liz Phythian Dorfman, Barbara Lynn Ulrich, Dara Nikolic, Shari Ulrich, Ned Province, James Province, Sean Johnson, and Lisa Kerhin for not being on top of the messages.) At last, today, the doc popped in to confirm surgery is on for Monday morning. Let the full-body shave commence!!! (Ouch.)

6/18/16
Update from the Heart of Hess:

Never, ever announce with conviction the date of surgery because until the patient is in the OR, anesthetized into physical insensibility, and the first scalpel line is drawn, the plan is about as certain as Khloe Kardashian’s paternity.