Monday, April 17, 2006


Our flight from Rome to Philly was uneventful, and amazingly we somehow arrived an hour earlier than expected! We talked with other passengers about this, and no one seemed quite sure how this happened. Normally flying from Europe to the states takes an hour longer because of the headwinds, so maybe for some strange reason we had a tailwind this time. Anyway, it’s always better to arrive earlier rather than later, especially when you’re flying! Luckily all our luggage made it, and once we had everything rechecked we had a chance to sit for a few minutes, grab a quick bite (Oriental food!), then we boarded the flight to Tampa.

There was a really cool thunderstorm off the coast of Florida on the way down, and because the sun was still setting in the west, the light reflecting off the clouds was pink! Too cool. In Tampa we headed straight for the shuttle. Checked into our cheapie room at Days Inn and crashed for the night. Our flight to Louisville would require us to get up very early the next morning. Once again I was disappointed that there wasn’t a plug for the bath tub…..what is it with these people??? I’d really enjoy a nice hot bubble bath to relax, but instead have to take a shower which requires standing up! The king-sized bed was a special treat! Welcome to the land of super-sized everything!

After a good night’s sleep…on the KING SIZED bed!!!!....we were off bright and early…no wait, it was still dark…anyway, we headed for Louisville and arrived just after 11 a.m. My sister picked us up and we drove her back to work so that we could use her car. We unloaded our stuff at her house and then drove out to my daughter’s house….most of our stuff was out there since that’s where we’d been right before we left in December.

Thursday required us to be downtown at the hospital at 6:30 a.m. for Art’s pre-op tests. Unfortunately our family doctor doesn’t have privileges at Norton’s so we had to wait until after 11:00 to see the hospital GP….and you know it was just a cursory check at best, so to say that we were irritated would be an understatement. Apparently everyone knows that these “house” doctors don’t arrive until after 11:00, so we’ll be having some words with the person who scheduled us there at the crack of dawn.

After we (finally) left the hospital we drove to Churchill Downs to get Art’s picture taken for his annual racing license. We had to come back later because they’d just left for lunch, but the process was simple and quick…one more thing to cross off the list.

A quick stop by our family doctor’s office gave Art the prescription for Nexium he needed…in Italy we can only get a six months supply….period. I think the consensus is that if you’re having constant heartburn, you should adjust your eating habits, not cover up the problem with a pill….and they’re probably right.

We saw a few movies, but somehow all the good movies seem to be coming out just as we’re leaving. We did watch “Cinderella Man” on the plane, and I really enjoyed the story…and Russell Crowe…right up ‘til the last, brutal fight scene. What was I expecting??? It’s a movie about a boxer….about a boxer who overcomes incredible odds…about a boxer who fights Max Baer for God’s sake…..!!!! Anyway, other than that, the movie was great. I also started to watch the movie with Reese Witherspoon where she dies and some guy moves into her apartment, but because the plane landed early, I missed the ending.

The day of Art’s surgery came quickly, and on Wednesday morning we were once again up before the crack of dawn. The surgery was scheduled for 7:30 a.m., and he went in right on schedule.

I had some sort of stomach flu and felt like death warmed over. At first I thought it was due to the salad I’d had the day before, but eventually after five days of misery I decided it must have been some sort of virus. Anyway, I tried to close my eyes and rest in the waiting area, but you can probably imagine how impossible that was.

After what seems like a very long time the doctors finally called from the OR to say that the surgery was over and that everything had gone well. The rods from Art’s previous fusion were removed, and that fusion looked good. The area that had been causing the most recent problems, the area above the previous fusion, was cleaned out and that area was fused as well. The doctor said that the area was pretty unstable, and that if Art hadn’t been scheduled for this surgery he probably would have been forced to have an operation within six months. Since we would have been in Italy, an emergency back surgery would not have been a fun situation for either of us.

Eventually I got to see Art once he was in his room, but of course he was pretty groggy. I didn’t stay long, knowing that he was in and out, and that he was in good hands, I headed for home. I had to go out to my daughter’s house to spend the night be cause I’d be driving them to the airport the next morning. I’d already called Angela and warned her that I felt bad and that my plans for the night were to come home, take a hot bath and got to bed. True to my word I was in bed at five til seven and asleep by seven. I didn’t wake up until my alarm went off at 6:25 a.m…..almost twelve hours later! I don’t know what it was, but this stomach bug would continue to drain me, both literally and figuratively for the next five days.

Art seemed to be in more pain after this surgery than he was the last time. Because this fusion was done with an artificial material rather than a bone graft, we were both sure that this recovery would be relatively painless, knowing that the bone graft site had been the source of most of his pain the last time. For whatever reasons that wasn’t true and he clicked away on his pain drip regularly.

He didn’t come home from the hospital until Monday morning, and by that time he was MORE than ready. I dropped him at the house and went to fill his prescriptions for a pain reliever and a muscle relaxer. Those pills would prove invaluable over the next few days, making sure that Art got plenty of sleep.

Angela had moved a small television into our room and I could switch the cable from the computer to the television, meaning that Art could lie propped up in bed (no more than a 30º angle!) and watch baseball until he fell asleep…pretty much his idea of true relaxation.

Twelve days after surgery Art go into the car for the first time….we were going to our family doctor’s office to have the twenty two staples removed from his back! He wasn’t’ too sure about the procedure, but I assured him that it wouldn’t be more than the occasional sting….I had staples when I had my face lift.

to be continued............


At 4/18/2006 10:18:00 AM , Blogger bakerquest said...

maybe the hour early thing was daylight savings time. I don't know, I always have trouble with the abstract idea of time.

At 4/18/2006 02:01:00 PM , Blogger Barbara said...

no, it wasn't daylight saving time....we arrived on the Tuesday before we sprang forward.

Altho the time difference can be confusing for me it's fairly easy to know that when we're in Italy we're 6 hours ahead of our family here in Louisville, and when we're in the states we're 6 hours behind our friends back in Italy.

Next year when the US increases the number of weeks they stay on dalight saving time I may have to be more careful, at least in the fall and the spring.


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