Opinion > Star Staff
All he wanted for Christmas was a brand-new knee
By Patti Pfeiffer, Life's a Trip
He got it too. Shortly before Christmas, hubby had knee replacement surgery. While surgery and recovery went well, his convalescence caused serious issues.
A three-night hospital stay was followed by visitors at our home. His boss brought Mexican food. While it was much appreciated, I thought his delivery system was kinda cruel. When I opened the door, my eyes immediately focused not on our guest but the cardboard carton in his arms. "Oh what a dear man. He musta sensed my stress level and realized that only one person under our roof was on drugs. And both of us were in need of being altered," I thought to myself.
It appeared he was bearing gifts, and it appeared to be a case! Never mind that it wasn't my brand. Yeah, I prefer Coors, and the box indicated Bud. Didn't matter. I didn't care what kind, just that it "was." Merely seeing the case of beer, my stress and tension began dissipating.
Then ugly happened. Boss man broke my heart. Apologizing for the container, he explained it was the only box big enough for the carry-out order.
"What? No beer? No alcohol? No escape? Just more of the same? Responsible behavior? Beck-and-call? Round-the-clock nurturing? Grrr!" I mumbled quietly attempting to disguise my disappointment.
Minutes later the doorbell rang again. Filled with cheese, crackers, chocolate and other goodies, the care package put together by two of my friends was kind and thoughtful. The ladies were aware I was a little anxious over the impending nursing duties. With family pulling at me, my aging mom continuously jerking my chain, pushing my buttons and crossing boundaries, my naturally low level of patience had long since been depleted.
Forget caregiver. I was better suited as a dare-giver ¨ daring one and all to tempt me, try me, give me reason to unleash. The poor patient deserved Nightingale. Yet, a copy of the movie "Misery," along with the bedside sledgehammer and wooden board, left no doubt that Nurse Ratchet reported for duty.
My friends were aware a relief of some sort would be necessary. And they provided the means. Nestled among their gift basket were guns, high-powered pistols complete with bullets.
In 15 years I've seldom seen my husband smile; even more rare is a laugh. Upon the unveiling of these revolvers, an ear-to-ear smile, turned grin, turned naughty laugh, was demonstrated as he held out his hand in a childlike fashion while demanding, commanding, pleading, "Gimme! Grimme!"
NO WAY! I am not stupid. He was on drugs and I was without wine¨ even beer.
A few days later, as hubby convalesced in the hospital wing on the other side of our home, I loaded my revolver, aimed and fired. Shot-by-shot I stood in the doorway, watching bullets sail across the room, hitting and bouncing off his belly. I giggled like crazy. Then tucked him into bed and kissed him goodnight.
Retreating to bed, I snuggled in for sleep ... until the sound of a walker startled me. Thinking my "invalid" husband was in need, I quickly bolted from bed, sprinting across the house. Turning the hallways, a light beaming from my spouse's office became apparent.
NaÔve and unsuspecting, I popped my head into the room only to be greeted by the barrel of a Nerf revolver aimed directly at me. The scoundrel had gotten out of bed four days post-op, located the still-packaged toy gun, managed to make it to his office, removed the wrapper, loaded it and waited for his nurse's attentiveness to lure and set her up as a target.
Seeing the end of a barrel aimed at my head, I panicked and backed out of his office fast ¨ and fell. Hard too. On the wood floor. Pain moved from my butt, back, head and elbow. Bruised, tattered and torn, moments later I picked myself up and crept back to my side of the house, in need of healing myself.
But lessons were not learned. The gift guns continued giving.
I have admitted many times that my family is dysfunctional. Christmas night proved it yet again. A season signaled by peace, joy and happiness ushered in a battle. "O Holy Night" brought a holy war as our Christmas ended with a family shootout, pitting my brother against my other half.
An innocent bystander, Mom got caught in the crossfire and was hit in the forehead. Hubby was shot in the crotch. Gun-less, I was an ammo runner. My spouse ran out of bullets and, fearing I'd supply my sibling, he hit me on the head with his empty firearm.
"Things happen in war," he countered my spewing objection.
If it hadn't been for a setback requiring more recovery time, I'd've kicked his new knee. Maybe mean, but Nurse Ratchet ain't stupid.
Patti Pfeiffer is a Star Local News columnist, freelance writer and author. She may be contacted at email@example.com
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