The stent is fine but Buster is wounded

Maybe I’m just getting whiny in my old age, but any day you spend mmmm, I’ll say over four hours at Carle is just long and tiring. Despite how nice everyone is and how well organized the surgical waiting room notices are…it’s just long.

We were both dreading yesterday. Well, Ernie more than me, of course. It’s not that we were terribly worried about the procedure, we just didn’t want to head back to hospital world. The festival had us positively euphoric, then we dealt with losing Bob, then we went on a wander. It just seemed startling to have to enter hospital world again. Sometimes, even though on one level the cancer is always hovering in your mind, on another level you just push it away so it feels unwelcome when you have to acknowledge it again.

I didn’t sleep well Tuesday night and when I got up yesterday I was just bleary. I finally took a short nap before we had to get ready to go to Carle. At times like that I know it’s my brain making me sleepy more than my body. We begrudgingly took off. We left the car with valet parking and trudged off to hospital registration then trundled down lots of halls and up to the surgery waiting room.

I broke out my big girl walker. I have been resistant, which of course, is truly stupid. Using the big girl walker just seems like, I don’t know, giving in. However, I know that when Ernie’s in the OR I have to cart around his clothes and shoes and that would be hard with my decidedly unfancy walker. After my shopping-cart-like unfancy walker this one was unnervingly zippy with all its wheels. Halfway up to the surgery waiting room Ernie adjusted the height for me and that helped a bit. She did come in very handy for carrying things, I’ll give her that.

I had hoped, hoped, hoped that we would get an early slot for his procedure. Sadly we did not, so we checked in at 12:30 and his surgery was supposed to start at 2:20. I think it finally started around 4:00. It was super quick though…so quick that when they called me to the consultation room to see the surgeon that I thought something must have gone wrong! But no, all was good. He’s good for another six months with the new stent and this is what keeps one of his kidneys going so we’re glad to have it.

I went back and sat with him for awhile, eventually heading downstairs to get the car to wait for Ernie. Of course, the valet parking was closed at this point. I’d seen signs saying to go the front desk if that was the case. So I stopped at the desk but of course nobody was there. I called the phone number posted and told them I had left my car with valet services and needed to get it. The guy kept saying he couldn’t understand me. I called back. Same thing. I felt like I’d entered some strange hell. I finally tried again and he could hear me. Such relief. He said he’d contact security and they would get our car.

I went outside and waited. Ernie showed up in his wheelchair and we waited. Man, when we saw the security guy pull up with our car I could have cried with happiness. I still find it hard to fold up the big girl walker but I’ll get the hang of it.

We drove down our street and turned into the alley. We were so happy to see our house and we both smiled as Buster shone down at us, welcoming us home. We got out of the car and I walked towards Buster…and he was WOUNDED (see picture at top). The thing is, when we pulled in, he was proudly staring at us…which means it happened as we parked. WHAT? HOW? WHY? A bird? I feel so terrible for him even though I know there are other buds and more Busters will be blooming.

I told Leo this story and he just looked at me with virtually no expression and said, “Wait, you NAMED a sunflower?” I tried to explain that I just started calling him Buster because he was getting in the way, to no avail. Leo just shook his head.

Onward.