Monthly Archives: December 2016

Working It

No one who knows me would consider me to be a workaholic.

A little background will help…

In 2005 I needed back surgery to correct a disc problem. Microsurgery, quick recovery, but still surgery with its requisite dangers and warnings. I took two days off to have the surgery on Thursday morning with the expectation of returning to work in some capacity on Monday.

After I regained consciousness post-surgery, Peggy walked into the recovery room to discover me on the telephone solving a problem for one of my employees.

I had been sedated for more than three hours. I have no memory of putting my phone under my pillow before the surgery, but when it rang I reached under my pillow and answered it. And answered Greg’s important question. Peggy was not amused.

So, when we scheduled this surgery she was very insistent that I schedule sufficient time off to be able to heal completely.

Today is two days post-surgery. I told everyone in my office to give me the rest of the week since I was going to be taking pain medication for three days — I take no responsibility for decisions made while under the influence of prescription narcotics.

So, today is December 22 and my entire family is coming to town for Christmas. Actually, my Dad came for the surgery so he is already here. Everyone else is arriving this weekend. Which means grocery shopping, or as many of the natives down here say, “making groceries.”

I was set up in my chair with everything I could possibly need for a couple of hours, so Peggy and Daddy went to the grocery store. Got all the stuff we need for the weekend. Got a few extra things just for fun. And came home to this…

The office…

Yes, it was a work call. Yes, I am under the influence of prescription narcotics. But I am also not very good at being still and I am just a little bit bored. Two days in. Out of two weeks.

The call came from the CEO, so not one of the people I had warned not to call until next week. I did give her my narcotics disclaimer, and then we talked for the next thirty minutes about a problem she needed help with.

Peggy is, again, not amused and is making noise about taking away my phone. It is currently under my pillow… 

Uh, oh…

I’ve never seen anything like that before…

I’m sure there are situations in which this proclamation is a positive thing, but I really can’t think of one. It certainly is not what you want to hear coming out of your surgeon’s mouth. Fortunately, I was still unconscious, but that meant it was Peggy that got the news.

The morning started well enough. We arrived at the surgical hospital at 5:30 for our scheduled 7:00 procedure. The doctor came in to see us — in her scrubs and wearing no makeup she looked about 17. Drew on my leg in Sharpie to show where the incision would be (and, I suppose, to make sure she didn’t operate on the wrong leg, though that didn’t occur to me until later). Told me what she was going to do. Sounded like something she had done before.

The anesthesiologist came in and told me what he was going to do and gave us instructions for what we were supposed to do when we got home. Again, great information delivered by a man who has clearly done this thousands of times. I nodded off to sleep with great confidence.

When I wake up Peggy is in the room with me. After nearly thirty-seven years together I’m pretty good at reading her. What I’m reading is not comedy.

“Remember how young she looked when she came in this morning? Well, she looked her age when she came back in,” was her opening. “She told me she had never seen anything like that before.”

While we were preparing for the surgery the doctor had explained the plan. Go inside, reconnect the severed ends of the tendons, even tighten them up a little bit so that the ankle would be better after surgery than it had been before the injury. Not bad for an ankle that has been broken three times and injured several other times. I’m pretty sure that while she described how great it would be that little blue birds flew into the room and lighted on her as she spoke.

The birds are dead.

When the surgeon got inside my ankle she discovered that all four ends of the two tendons were essentially ribbons; she was unable to reconnect them. Instead, she used all of the “usable” pieces she could find and attempted to make one good tendon out of them.

“If this is going to have any chance of working you have to follow the recovery and rehab directions to the letter,” she said.

What I thought:  It’s my damn ankle so of course I am going to do whatever it takes to make it work. And my wife is a personal trainer and an inveterate rule follower so she is not going to allow me to do anything other than what I am supposed to do.

What I said: “What do you mean IF?!”

I am at home in a lovely red recliner chair. The anesthesiologist was correct and I have felt no pain because we followed his post-op suggestions. Peggy picked up a very stylish scooter for me to use when I need to go to the bathroom or move from my chair to the bed. My foot will not touch the ground for a month. My family is coming to visit for Christmas because I cannot travel. We are going to follow the rules.



Party Like It’s 1999

We have stayed busy this week.

We had a fun ornament exchange party at a friend’s house on Tuesday. A great time and a lot of fun singing since Doug is an incredible pianist.

Then we went to New Orleans to spend Friday night. I would never want to live in New Orleans, but visiting for a couple of days is always fun. We have season tickets to the musicals at the historic Saenger Theater — less historic now than it was prior to Hurricane Katrina, but much nicer now than it was then! — and we usually try to spend the night nearby when we come to town. We have a particular favorite hotel on Canal Street that is close to all the things we are here to do.

Several of the hotels do a tremendous job of decorating for Christmas, so this is always a fun time of year to visit. We ate at the Palace CafĂ© on Friday night and visited the Ritz, then we ended up at the Bourbon House for lunch on Saturday. Our tickets for “Jersey Boys” were at 2:00 pm, so we hung out in NOLA until showtime and then drove back to Baton Rouge after the play to get ready for the Christmas celebration at our church on Sunday morning.

Sunday was an absolute blast. I was a guest singer with the church quartet because one of the guys was sick. The Christmas at Istrouma was a great morning of worship and celebration. I even wore a suit to church (let’s just say it’s been a while).

We came home and had a fantastic dinner that was the perfect ending to a wonderful weekend.

Now the countdown begins.

The bloodletting begins in thirty-six hours. I’ll let you know how it goes…

Fun times at the ornament swap party
Great time at the Bourbon House before the play
Photo op with not the real Senator John Kennedy. You can tell it’s not him because I am taller than he is…

Next to last weekend

Not ever. Before ankle surgery.

Christmas Party 2016 is in the books. Our company always does a good job with the Christmas Party and has so far resisted the urge to begin calling it a Holiday Celebration.

I always host a pre-party with the leaders of my team, and that is, without question, my favorite event of the year. Virtually all of the leaders attend and bring their spouses — for a person to whom family is very important this is always a heartwarming sight. And I try each year to let each spouse know how important his/her mate is to me.

I try to host the pre-party close enough to the real event so that no one has to drive. This year many of us stayed at the same downtown hotel, so I hosted the get-together there. Then we all walked over to the actual party.

The only downer of the evening was that I was not able to dance as much as usual. Peggy, however, made up for it and led the group out on the floor for most of the evening. I love to watch her dance, and from what I saw so did many of the others at the party.

We left at a reasonable time and walked back to the hotel. We had breakfast in the hotel restaurant on Saturday morning then headed out to begin our weekend. We have only this and the next weekend to get everything in that we want to do before I am unavailable for a month. So, we’re making the most of it.

It makes me wonder — what if we lived each weekend like this? Always trying to find a new experience. Always trying to see people we love and admire.

Judging from this weekend it might just mean we end up broke. But it is still a nudge to get everything we can out of life while we are well enough to do it.

Next weekend is lining up to be just like this one. I’m really looking forward to it!

At the pre-party with my team. A great night.
Saturday morning breakfast at the hotel

Day of Reckoning

Who knew how hard it would be to pick a date for surgery?

As soon as the doctor said “two weeks with the ankle elevated above the level of the heart and four weeks totally non-weight-bearing” the calendar watch began. Who has four weeks to spare?!

So, the office Christmas Party is Friday, December 9 and I have to sing at “Christmas at Istrouma 2016” on Sunday, December 18. I am not willing to miss either of those events. Besides, Christmas and New Years kind of provides a natural two-week lull for the “elevated” portion of the adventure. So…

December 20 is the day that will live in infamy.

The good news is I have plenty of vacation/sick time at work. The bad news is, the reason I have plenty of vacation/sick time because I am not very good at being still. Two weeks with my leg elevated does not sound like a good time. I believe we can at least get that done in a reclining chair, so hopefully I do not have to be in bed for two weeks.

December 20. There’s a lot going on between now and then, and I will probably add some more stuff just to make sure we don’t miss out on anything.

I’m sure Peggy is really looking forward to it, too.