Originally published in the Miami News-Record on May 22, 2016.
Five years ago my husband had a kidney stone. And it was a testament of my enduring love for him.
After two ER visits to two different hospitals he was finally admitted and scheduled for surgery. Paul all but kissed the ER doc when he said he’d get his orders ready to admit him. The plan was to have surgery the next morning where they would go in and…..ahem….retrieve the dastardly stone. Yeah. I’ve had that done myself. It’s as unpleasant as you’re probably imagining.
Bright and early the next day the anesthesiologist came in, visited with us, and gave him some Versed to “relax” him prior to them taking him downstairs to surgery. Paul sat there on the bed and said, “This stuff doesn’t do anything to me. I’m …..fi—“ and then he started snoring. I patted his leg and went back to reading my book. In came two cute little gals from the surgery department, ready to take him away. They managed to wake him up long enough to confirm his identity and were unlocking the wheels on his bed when one said, “Oh no. Mr. Hoover? MR. HOOVER?? Hon, you left your shorts on and we’re going to need you to take those off. MR. HOOVER??” She poked her head around the curtain and said, “Are you Mrs. Hoover? Uhm…can you try to get his shorts off of him? He seems to be pretty out of it.” She held the curtain open so I could see my completely unconscious husband. And his flowered Bermuda shorts just shinin’ there in all their glory. Then they told me they’d give us some privacy and stepped around the curtain.
THEY LEFT ME. I sighed. I patted his cheek, said his name, patted his hand. Nothing. Just snoring. I shook his shoulder. He waved me away. “Honey, you have to wake up and help me get these shorts off of you! Can you help me?” He mumbled, “Well, sure. Why didn’t you just ask?” I heard a giggle on the other side of the curtain. I shot her a death glare she’s probably glad she couldn’t see.
What ensued was pretty much the hardest thing I’ve ever done next to birthing babies. I would give him a command, make a request, he would agree to comply…..then he’d pass out and start snoring again. He was 100% deadweight and absolutely NO HELP. At one point one of the little gals on the other side of the curtain said, “Ma’am? You doin’ okay back there?” to which I replied, “NO! I am NOT doing okay back here! Could I maybe get some help?” Then they giggled and said, “You’re doing great! Take your time. You’ll get it!” It was at that point I just busted out laughing. And they joined in. And we all had a good ol’ laugh. Which woke up my husband and he drunkenly said a bad word and passed back out again.
After much wrangling, wrestling, persuading, and borderline accosting my poor husband, the Bermuda shorts were finally removed. By me alone. With no help. I considered a cartwheel, but then decided if I broke a hip and ended up in a different hospital room who would be there to remove any other stubborn articles of clothing if necessary?
The surgery was unsuccessful and a second procedure was scheduled for the next day. When the anesthesiologist came in the second time he said, “I gave him about half of what I did yesterday. Apparently your husband is a lightweight. We’d never seen anyone quite so out of it as he was yesterday.” Then he laughed as he said, “And I heard you had quite a time with his shorts…”
I dug those dadblamed shorts out of his laundry bag and threw them in the biohazard trashcan as soon as they wheeled him off to surgery. He’s mentioned them a time or two and wonders where they went. I’ll never tell.