A week ago the Vespa was rolling through some thawing roads, wet and thick with mud, causing me to wish I had taken the time to mount the more aggressive winter tires this season. Pushing the scooter into less than ideal riding conditions seems to be a requisite part of my riding personality.
Or a serious character defect. Who’s to say.
Not long ago I was having a conversation about what drives some riders to clean and polish their machines continually. After every outing. Even on days with no rain, dust or dirt. I’m told that it provides relaxation. I suppose I understand. Washing dishes does it for me.
None of that seems to matter now though. Day six at the UPMC-Susquehanna hospital in Williamsport begins. A long week of watching and waiting.
“It’s the longest and deepest incision I’ve made in ten years.” Not exactly the award you want to receive or words you want to hear exit the mouth of a neurosurgeon. When I saw the sculpture on the wall of the hospital I marveled at how much it reminded me of the incision on my wife’s back with the multitude of stainless steel staples.
Only her body sculpture is straight.
Because of the nature of the surgery and an array of pre-existing, auto-immune conditions, her doctors anticipated a longer than normal recovery period in the hospital.
They were right.
The surgery went well though again the surgeon stressed how “impressive” her condition was when he accessed the spinal canal. “Impressive” I’ve come to learn is a surgical term for “that’s really, REALLY bad.”
The good news is the nerve compression has been released. The less good news is it will take some time for the nerves to recover.
If you’ve never spent days sitting in waiting rooms or hospital rooms you can’t fully appreciate the mental and physical demands it calls upon. While riding the Vespa has provided a personal education. Life in a hospital does as well.
Thinking in terms of a work schedule — this job runs from 7am to 1am. Thankfully every place I’ve had to wait or sit had comfortable chairs. Whoever designed the place had family in friends in mind.
With someone at home living with the dogs and taking care of the house I was able to stay at the Hospitality Inn at the hospital — living large the first two days in a luxury suite, then a deluxe room, and finally the last two nights in a dormitory. It’s almost exactly like the experience I had as a freshman at Penn State in 1972. Right down to the communal showering.
Being able to sleep in the hospital is a positive sign. Recovery has been slow but steady. Mobility, strength and a transition from IV medications to oral ones is complete. If the doctor is ready and Kim thinks she can handle the jostling of a two hour ride home, a discharge may be near.
Would be great to go today before the snow arrives tomorrow. Snow is not an environment for transporting post-surgical spine patients.
Snow is clearly intended for Vespa riding.