Archive for November, 2012

What does a bent hotdog skewer, a folding step ladder, a husky and laundry room have in common?  Read on, read on.

Once a month on a specific Wednesday I have to be at work a little earlier than usual and this was one of those Wednesdays. As I stepped out of the shower I hear a clap of thunder.  No surprise every time I have to do some traveling for work it manages to rain.  But it wasn’t thunder my wife who just had knee surgery calls out that something must have fallen in the kitchen.  ‘Okay I’ll get dry and have a look”  My wife  thinks it may be that her mother has fallen so she hobbles out of bed and out of the room in search of the disaster that awaits outside our door.   As I’m exiting the bathroom my wife hobbles back in the room and informs me that there is nothing going on out there but the dog is whining in the laundry room, but she was just in too much pain to check on her properly not to mention that the dog always whines at this time in the morning.

I get dressed and head out to check on the dog.  I can’t open the laundry/dog room door.  Sometimes the dog sleeps in front of the door so a little extra shove is needed but this was not to be the case because I hear her prancing around.  I turn the knob and give a harder shove.  The door remains closed.  I drop to the floor and by ‘drop’ I mean slowly lower my achy 47 yr old body to the floor and get my eye on the ground and peer underneath.  At first I see nothing but some dog paws the ground is clear from the door to the washing machine.  Then I notice a metal bar along the edge of the bottom of the washing machine.  We have a folding stepstool behind the door, that metal bar is the base of the frame of the stepstool.  The G*d  D****d  M****r F***ing  step stool is wedged between the bottom of the washer and about a foot up from the bottom of the door!

I let Denyce know the situation and I head to the garage to find something to slide under the door so I can move the step stool.  I found a piece of wood and a hotdog skewer, the kind used to roast a hotdog over a fire.   Sliding the piece of wood under the door did no good, the bottom end of the stool was jammed under the washer, I was pushing so hard on my end of the wood that I was sliding along the linoleum floor, but that stool was not moving.   The hotdog skewer proved to be of less help.   My last option was the window.

As I was heading out the door to get the ladder my wife reminded me to bring my knife to cut the screen. I maneuvered the ladder up the embankment and against the window frame.  I was very excited to see that the storm window was part way up.  I cut the screen and pushed the storm window all the way up.  The inside window was firmly locked in place.  But it was one of those locks that have been around since the dawn of time, surly I could think my way around this lock.  I pressed against the window and there was plenty of wiggle room, I could slide something between the upper and lower frames and wiggle the mechanism out of the catch.  And I had the perfect tool!  A carpet knife is a really thin blade with a hook on the end.  I figure I can hook the edge of the lock and work it backwards. No problem and I still had time to get to work ahead of time.  I slide my knife between the frames and guess what?  No go.  It seems somebody had thought of this before me.  It appears the way this stupid window was built was to keep people out once it is locked!  Can you imagine that?  The frame is offset where they meet so you can’t slide an object between the two!  My last option is to break the window.   Standing on the ladder I look carefully at exactly what I have to do because now it is about to get serious.  I take inventory.  I need a hammer, gloves, eye protection.  I’m going to break the window slide my hand inside open the lock and open the window.  From there I’ll crawl on top of the dryer and voila!  I go over it in my head once again before heading down the ladder.  Is there another way?  I don’t want to break the window.  I’m missing something, I take another look at the window and with a humbling view I do a self assessment of myself.  I’m no longer the scrawny 12 yr old that could wiggle through this window.  I could get my head and shoulders through the window and then I would reach a sudden unpleasant and humiliating stop.  Now What?

I could still break the window and try to entice my 12 year old 60 pound husky to jump on the dryer and wiggle out the window and then we would be both be balanced atop a precarious ladder, nope, not going to happen.

Entering the house my wife informs me that even if I break the window, she doesn’t think I would fit through, yeah already thought that one through, thanks.

I sit on the floor listening to my husky loudly complaining on the other side of the door.  My wife asks if I knew the non emergency 911 number.  She calls and talks to the dispatcher who is going to call the fire chief and have him call us back.   Did I mention that my wife and I belong to a C.A.R.T (County Animal Response Team) team?  Yeah and we can’t even get our dog out of the laundry room.  And not only am I going to have to call my boss and tell him I’m going to be a little late, I’ve got to call and tell him I’m not going to be in at all.  And then I’ll have to tell him why.  But I still have time…

While waiting for the call from the fire chief I go back to playing with my hotdog skewer under the door.   My wife suggests that I bend the hotdog skewer at a 90 degree angle.  I bite my tongue at the first thought, and the second.  Not sure what good it will do I go ahead and make the bend, I have no better idea and my wife is usually right about such things.  I slide the skewer back under the door and wiggle it around.  Perhaps it will give me more leverage.  Perhaps I can grip the edge of the step stool between the forks and wiggle it out of the way.  Nothing, then a light clicks on in my head.  With the skewer bent I can use it like a lever, from there with a little swearing and patience I manage to maneuver the skewer into position and push down on my end.  The step ladder moved just a fraction but it moved.  I pressed against the door and it opened just enough for me to see the dogs nose.  Still pressing down on my side of the skewer my wife shoved the door a little bit more.  Together we freed the dog! Reaching around I pull out the offending step stool.  With a sigh of relief my wife calls back the 911 dispatcher who cancels the call

In seconds my wife and I are in action.  I clean the dog pee off the laundry room floor.  Five minutes later we are in the car heading for work.  While I’m not going to be early, I’m going to be okay I can still do what I need to do providing there are no more delays.  Everything is moving nicely.  I’m calculating my time.  While I am going to be late it will only be by a few minutes.  I can call the guys and ask them to wait another 15 minutes for me it won’t delay their day that much, life just got a lot better.

Turning off the exit to drop my wife off at her work we run smack dab into rush hour traffic.  Bottleneck, dead stop!  I call my boss.  I have a wonderful boss and he tells me not to worry, just do what I can.  Of course he doesn’t know the whole story just that I’m held up in traffic.  Later in the day I would fill him in.

Finally I’m at work about half an hour late, I hop in the work van and make the 40 minute trek to Lewistown where they guys are waiting for me. Of course I owed it to them to tell the whole story, in four part harmony.  They laughed and one wondered why I just didn’t take the opportunity to cut out a doggy door?

Read Full Post »

On November 8th my wife had arthroscopic surgery on her right knee. She tore her meniscus and the surgeon had to remove a third of it, there was some damage done to the ligament so he tweaked that and cleaned up some bone spurs.
The morning of the 8th we set our alarm clock to wake us at the unruly hour of 4:30am as we had to be at the surgical centre by 6:30. Yes it takes that long to get ready. The dog needs to go out, the cats need fed and each one needs watched so they don’t steal the food from another.
We got to the surgical centre on time we checked in sat down and just as we were seated our name was called and we were ushered through the doors where only authorized personnel are allowed to enter. After negotiating a maze of hallways we were brought to Denyce’s prep room. She was settled into the bed as they handed me her purse, her walker and showed me a little wooden chair in a corner where I was too sit.
At one point I counted 7 people in the room not including Denyce and myself. And by room I mean cubicle. There was the surgeon who autographed  Denyce’s knee to make sure he got the correct one, there was the anesthesiologist and his assistant, three nurses and some guy just standing at the ‘doorway’ and by doorway I mean curtain. They asked all sorts of questions to Denyce and to each other. Nobody waited for an answer, a nurse asked Denyce a question and at the same time the anesthesiologist told her to open her mouth, so he could take a look inside. It was a whirlwind of chaos. Then I heard the magic words, “Denyce I ‘m going to give you a shot that will allow you to relax.”
Oh how I remember those words from my own surgeries. Immediately I was off my little chair and beside the bed, I took my wife’s hand and told her, “Now comes the easy part, all you have to do is sleep and I’ll see you in about 10 minutes your time.” And with that they wheeled her down the corridor. A nurse showed me the way to the waiting room and told me somebody would be out to keep me up to date in about 40 minutes to an hour, I figured it would be more like two hours.
I took note of the time and sat down on the group W bench. The group W bench is the bench where you wait, and you wait. And. You. Wait…
At the ripe old age of 47 I was the youngest person in that waiting room. I found out it was really cataract surgery day. Really old people would scooch their way in bumping and grinding into things as they pushed the walkers along with the entire weight of their frail bodies bearing down on the handles. Walking behind them, trying to reach around to open doors and clear the isles an elderly child (mid 50’s minimum) would try to be of some assistance but usually only making matters worse. After watching several such episodes I realized the waiting room was designed to torture these poor people. They would be forced to amble up to one of the check in desks and have a seat. The old people would drop their bags move the walker out of the way, grab the chair and slowly, painfully take a seat. They would be asked their name, date of birth and then asked to sign a waiver they could not possibly see. Three minutes later they would be asked to move to the waiting area. The walker would have to be set up just so. They would gather their belongings and with the aid of a walker, ‘child’and chair combo they would stand. An exercise that took longer than the check in process itself. They would shuffle over to the waiting area, find a free group W bench and drop their bags, coats and other items of necessity, slowly and painfully they would lower themselves onto the bench.  They would let out a sigh lean back and in a minute a nurse would appear at the door that only authorized people are allowed to pass and call their name. The looks on some of the faces were priceless, others were just plain scary. They would start the process of gathering all their worldly possessions and haul themselves back into a standing position while the ‘child’ would do what they could to help. They would step towards the door and the nurse would say to the child, “oh for now we are just putting drops in the eyes we will send your mom/dad right back out you can wait here with all the stuff”. They did this each time! A few minutes later out from behind the door that only authorized personnel are allowed to pass would come an old and now blind(er) person who would have to maneuver back to their group W bench where their loved one could only hopelessly watch. We would all watch in horror as the process played itself out over and over again. Eventually the name would be called again, and once again we would watch as they made their way through the doors only this time we would not see them again. In time a nurse would come back and find the waiting ‘child’ and let them know the surgery went well and the nurse would bring the ‘child’ back behind the doors that only authorized personnel were allowed to pass and I knew they were done. I would not be seeing them again. I must have watched a thousand years of experience hobble through that door. I watched as the waiting room kept changing, I alone waited and waited as others came and went. At the hour and a half point I started to watch the door waiting for the nurse to call my name and tell me all was well and I could go see my wife.
Two hours later the surgeon come through a different set of doors. Through these doors not only are only authorize people allowed to pass. But phones are not allowed nor recording devices. He beckons me over I gather the walker and my wife’s purse. He tells me to leave them he just needs me for a moment. I admit to a little panic. Nobody else had the surgeon come out. Nobody else was told to leave their stuff. Nobody else went through THAT door! He told me everything went well and Denyce was fine. She was in recovery. He started talking very fast, telling me what he did, what he expected, and all the aftercare instructions. He did this all in a very static rapid fire style. No way could I hope to retain any of it, I didn’t even try. I knew my wife was fine and that was all that mattered. I was sent back to my group W bench and I waited another 40 minutes before a nurse came through the normal doors that only authorized personnel are allowed to pass. She told me to bring my stuff, so I gathered my purse and walker and was brought to my groggy and slightly cranky wife. We sat, we talked, we listened to the nurse as she told us what to do and how to do it and what to expect. Eventually Denyce asked me the time. I told her it was noon. We had been there almost five hours. Denyce looked at me like I was insane and told me the last thing she remembered was a nurse telling her she was being given a shot so she could relax.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: