Old Man Shove, Castaway Style

Yeahduh I signed that cast!

It’s been a crazy, crazy day for the Shoves, starting bright and early with Ryan’s first post-op appointment this morning. Ryan, always the optimist, had hopes that the doctor would miraculously declare him healed, put him into a boot, and give him permission to bear weight on his foot starting this afternoon. THIS afternoon. Ten days post surgery. Oh, how I love the blissful positivity that Ryan can muster up in even the darkest of hours!

I suppose I should back up a bit to catch everyone up on the past ten days. Ryan had his surgery, which went well but revealed that Ryan has old man tendons (no exaggeration). The next two days consisted mostly of him resting. He had a nerve block from his calf to his toes that should’ve worn out in 12 to 24 hours, but in a surprisingly wonderful occurrence, it lasted about 36 hours. So, once the nausea and grogginess wore off, he and his numb foot were happy as larks to laze around, playing video games and talking guns with his brother. When he began to feel some tingling, he took a little pain medication, which worked well but made him a little loopy, and he only needed it for a day or two. For the past week or so he’s been just taking ibuprofen occasionally when he’s been on his “feet” all day (i.e. crutching around) to relieve any aches and pains.

He’s been managing quite well, albeit a little frustrated that he can’t be independent. We’ve set up a makeshift L-shaped sectional composed of our couch and an armless upholstered chair where he can elevate his leg while watching television, playing “Call of Duty,” working on his computer and taking phone calls. His Command Central is conveniently located halfway between the guest bath and the kitchen, although somehow the distance to the bathroom seems more manageable to him than the equidistant length to the kitchen. (Hmmm. I MIGHT have been bamboozled into getting his food for him more often than necessary.) The stairs have been the biggest challenge for him, and so we’ve tried to minimize his ups and downs each day. I’ve begged him to simply sit down backwards and scoot himself up one step at a time because I get terrified he’s going to fall each time he heads upstairs, but he’s a “man,” and men don’t scoot apparently.

The biggest challenge for me has been balancing having to care for two babies. His intense traveling schedule means that I’m fully equipped and capable of caring for Emma Vance by myself without much hassle, but with the addition of another human being unable to fully care for themselves (especially one that can talk and thus one that can comment on the way things are done), I’ve been struggling a bit. Ryan hates not being able to help around the house, and it’s odd to say, but it’s almost worse to have him here and unable to pitch in than it is to do it all myself when he’s gone. It’s totally just a psychological thing, but it’s taxing. I’ve tried to figure out ways that Ryan can help for both our benefits, and the best I’ve come up with is to put a wakeful baby in bed with him, surrounded by a Boppy, diapers, wipes, a bottle, a bib and lots and lots of toys. I can run about an hour’s worth of errands before one of them has a total melt down and needs me. :)

Anyway, back to Ryan. On Thursday night, I was helping Ryan get ready for a quick night’s trip to Athens (Go Dawgs!) for an early morning shoot on Friday. He was packed and ready to go, but complaining that his Ace bandage, which was holding his splint to his foot, was too loose. I rewrapped the bandage, all the while Ryan urging me to make it tighter and tighter. I was skeptical and told him so, but who am I that my husband should listen to me, right? Well, that night he had a bit of nerve pain that awoke him. He adjusted his bandage and it eventually went away…until Friday night. Uh-oh. Friday around 4 p.m. he started complaining that his heel was burning and that occasionally and randomly it felt like a hot poker was being jammed into the tip of his heel. I called the PA, who basically said to just deal with it, that pain meds would take 30 minutes to take effect and might not be worth it. As the evening progressed so did his pain, and by 7 p.m. he was literally yelling out from the nerve pain.  He took a pain pill, but even an hour later it didn’t seem to help. Finally I called the on-call doctor, who recommended loosening the bandage. Voila! Turns out my intuition that a too-tight bandage would be a bad idea was correct, and it had been the culprit the whole time. At least it’s over with!

So, about today…Ryan’s appointment was disappointing in that his wildest dreams did NOT come true. In fact, a bit of the opposite happened. Instead of moving toward a boot and no crutches, he got a real cast and two more weeks on crutches. Not what he was hoping for, and because the word “cast” has NEVER been mentioned to us, it was both disappointing and surprising, which is often a bad combination. The cast is cool, though. He chose black, but I would’ve paid the nurse $100 to not give him an option and automatically make it hot pink. :) I’ve never had a cast (neither has he), so it’s a new experience for the Shove household. He has to wear it for exactly 11 days before having it removed and reevaluating, so now we’re counting down to January 18th. Patience, Ryan, patience.

The up side to being crutch-y for another few weeks? Handicap parking pass! (Yesssss!) Plus, there’s the whole filling-of-the-unfulfilled-childhood-desire-to-have-all-your-classmates-sign-your-cast thing. It’s never too late, folks. Remember that!

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