Monday, April 24, 2006

Shoulder surgery and other light entertainment

Injuries are another theme in our marriage (for those keeping track that's 'music' and 'injuries' so far. There will be a test). Actually maybe it's more of a leitmotif. I was sorting through some old notes and things of Kirk's a while back and found a resolution he had made the January before we met: 'I will not injure myself in the coming year.' As I recall, he made it six weeks.

He had badly dislocated his shoulder in a car accident as a child, then reinjured the same shoulder doing various things - football, hiking, kick-boxing etc. We were never sure just what put it all over the top, but during out third year in Germany the shoulder became a major problem. All he had to do was lie down on his back and the shoulder would slip out of place. He got fairly good at popping it back in (sorry, for those of delicate sensibilities it is going to get worse, be warned) with a sort of combination lurch and a twitch (and a lot of grunting) but since it could go wrong at any time it was more than time to have it looked at.

He went to an army doctor first, just before the move from Wildflecken. The guy told him he would, and I quote, 'just have to live with it. Man up soldier.' Kirk being Kirk he figured that was it and did try to live with it for another few months. Once it started going out several times a day he agreed that just maybe it was time for a second opinion. We were lucky this time, he went to an Air Force doctor who took one look at him and scheduled surgery for the following week.

I think Kirk was strangly pleased with the whole thing. Maybe it's a guy thing? At any rate, he sounded pretty happy about the fact that the surgeon had never seen a shoulder so badly out of shape, that once he exposed the joint (I did warn you) the whole thing had basically fallen apart right there, and he had called in several other people just to admire the mess that was my husband's shoulder. Kirk added a lot about clamps and ties and various accessories that were used to make it all workable again. The surgeon did do a fantastic job because with all the extreme things Kirk did with his body over the next ten years or so, the shoulder never gave him a problem again. However, a plastic surgery expert he was not. Kirk came home with a six inch scar roughly bunched together with a series of brutal-looking staples.

He was on medical leave for a couple of weeks at least, and spent most of the first few days lying very still on our couch while the oldest child came in several times an hour to admire Daddy's really impressive owie. By the end of the week we were sight-seeing again, driving as far from the military base as the shoulder would allow.

At the end of two weeks, still in massive pain, Kirk turned to me one night. 'This is the best two weeks I've had for as long as I can remember.' Major reconstructive surgery and recuperation was better than the best day at work. It was definitely time to get out.

Kirk put in his paperwork and joined the hundreds of soldiers heading out of the army thanks to the post cold-war draw-down.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Music. Injuries. Got it.

But what about the bunnies?