Monday, December 13, 2010


Orrrrrr, can you see???

This morning we had to be at the hospital at 5:15am for Ronny's surgery at 7:30. After we checked in, were ushered from the Surgery main waiting room to the surgery waiting room and then from there they took him on back to his own private little surgery waiting cubicle with a lovely curtain door, a gurney, a locker for his clothing, and a flatscreen TV with a fabulous corded remote/nurse button combo.

Now then. Let me say first of all that hospital gowns have drastically changed since I wore one. Ronny's gown had a vacuum sized hose connection port for a heater fan, of all things. A heated hospital gown. It still showed his cute lil fanny when he got up. But it was a warm fanny.

So there we were discussing the latest medical miracles such as the aforementioned heater gown connector hoses, when I became conscious of shuffling outside his curtain. Presently, a female who was presumably walking down the hall stopped at the spot where the shuffling was coming from and said "LENNY! WELCOME BACK! Feel ok? So.....can you see???"

WHHHHHHH-Huh??? I wasn't sure whether Ronny heard, so I made an attempt not to react visually. Not sure I was very successful, for as I scootched over closer to the curtain to eavesdrop on the conversation following the comment that had singlehandedly shredded any faith I had had in what was about to occur, the tips of his ears turned beet red and he stifled a chortle - or a scream, maybe. At the time I thought it was a chortle.

"Well that's not good," he mouthed to me. Then one corner of his mouth turned upwards in a grin that he saves for mischievously ironic situations. I know the look. It's accompanied by a stiffly raised eyebrow on the same side of his face - as if someone from above has pulled a string connected to that side of his face.

"HELLO, good morning, hi hi hi, I'm Lenny. Your operating room nurse."

WHHHHHHH-Huh??? Lenny appears to be in his late 50s, is tall, lanky, moves gracefully and with confidence and enviable stealth.

I'm starin' at his eyes. Just sayin'.

Lenny checks Ronny's vital signs, asks him his name and why he's there. "Can you tell me what you're having done this morning Mr. Culpepper?" and I am praying he's asking for verification purposes and not because of whatever event it was that caused Lenny to be welcomed back and asked repeatedly about the quality of his eyesight.

Lenny steps out for a moment. Ronny snaps his head toward me, sticks his index finger out in my direction and looks down the barrel of it, squinting. "Do NOT make an issue." I have to report that a man in a hospital gown puffed up with warm air does not exact authority. He wondered why I didn't take him seriously. (Really?) "I mean it Caren. That guy's gonna be the second most important person in my operating room. DON'T piss him off."

First of all, my poofy love, Lenny doesn't even rank in the top two. He's a close third. Secondly, I do have the insight or foresight or some kinda sight to keep our operating staff happy. Which may be more than I can say for Lenny. On the other hand, I'm in a pickle. By this time three passer-by nurses have welcomed Lenny back and inquired as to his eyes. When responding Lenny lowers his voice to a whisper. When medical folks whisper there's a reason. In this case it didn't take a medical degree to figure it out. He didn't want his patients to feel insecure about the fact that his eyesight was diminished. I say diminished because I know for a fact he wasn't totally blind. While he was tending to Ronny, I moved across the room twice and he followed me with his head. Stealthy, I tell ya. I never knew sneaky moves until I became a Mom. Since that time however, it's become a way of life. There is more than one way to skin a cat. While Ronny and Lenny were eyeballing each other, I strolled down the hallway and stopped beside one of the nurses.

"This is Lenny's first day back?"

"Yeaaaaaaah, he's been out a little while. We surely did miss him."

"I can tell. Everyone's so glad he's back. He must be a great nurse."

"Oh Lenny's the best OR nurse in the world. He's tops. He trained us all. So glad his retina healed. It was detached. The HR department said he could come back last week but he said he couldn't see well enough to be in the OR so he stayed out longer."

Stealthy, I tell ya. Got my intel, made a buddy. Headed back down to Ronny's Surgery Waiting Cubicle and flashed Lenny a smile. He smiled back. Life's good.

As Lenny wheeled Ronny out of his cubicle and down the hall, I walked alongside. As I walked, Lenny calmly, gently described to me what would happen when they got my husband in the operating room and at what points he would call to update me. We approached a crossroads in the hall and Lenny turned to me with a twinkle in his eye and said, "This is the kissing corner." So I kissed my sweet hubby bye and left him in the care of The Best OR Nurse In The World.

Lenny called me four times during surgery. All four times after he told me what was happening with Ronny, he asked me if I had gotten a chance to eat anything, get something to drink, and walk around a bit. Then he ended the conversation by saying, "Don't worry Mrs. Culpepper, your husband's fine."

Of course he was. He had The Best OR Nurse In The World. Welcome back Lenny indeed.