Thursday, October 11, 2012

Caretaking 101

TBG had a tooth pulled this afternoon.  He is officially "the patient" and I am officially "in charge."  These roles did not come about easily.

After thirty-seven years of marriage, he has finally begun to recognize that caring for two children through their formative years has endowed me with some skills. I read prescription labels before I allow the medication to pass the lips of the patient.  I keep track of what-was-taken-when.  I've learned to cut "one every 8 hours" pills in half so that there's a steady stream of analgesic flowing through the bloodstream; eight hours per pill leads to big highs and even bigger lows.  That is not a prescription for healing... it's a sure way to make everyone nutty as the middle of the sixth hour approaches. 

Fifteen minutes on, fifteen minutes off works very well for the soft-as-butter ice pack his cheek rests upon as he tries to nap away the aches. Big Cuter liked it when I tied the contraption to his head, like bunny rabbit ears, years ago when he had his wisdom teeth removed.  His father was not impressed with my scarf and a big bow atop his head.  He prefers a more restrained approach to the operation.

Reluctant as he was to ask the dentist for a prescription for hydrocodone, he was very happy to see me return from the pharmacy with the vial in hand. We had only one left from my shooting; it took quite a bit of convincing for him to make the request of the dentist. I had to pull out the heavy duty argument: I am the one who has to listen to you moan and groan when you aren't properly medicated.

There's no buzz attached to the medication when there's real pain involved; the medication goes straight to blocking the pain from connecting to the brain. Addiction is an issue when the meds have no pain to relieve.  Then, they go to the pleasure centers of the brain.  Fortunately, neither of us has been tempted to take them when we weren't in pain; a dulling buzz is an oxymoron for us.  Still, he didn't want to be labeled a "narcotic user."  He didn't want it "on his record."   

It took some convincing but the 'script was waiting at Walgreens when I drove through the pick-up window.  The pharmacist recognized me and compliment me on not needing more narcotics.  It's weird to have the absence of Schedule C treatments noted as progress.

The house is full of soft and comforting foods.  I have skinny noodles and chicken broth (with sodium and fat... what's chicken noodle soup without grease, I ask you?).  I have mashed potatoes and one crock-pot-chicken-breast should he want "real dinner."  I have chocolate mousse cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory if all he can manage is sweets.  Right now, though, the novocaine is precluding chewing or opening his mouth beyond that space which is required for groans to escape. 

There are lots of hugs coming my way; drug induced or not, I'm enjoying each and every one.  It's easy to put credits in the love bank when the patient is immobilized with exhaustion and pain.  He's too pooped to pop, to ask for help, to complain.  He's lying on the bed in the sunshine watching Erin Burnett investigate an unnecessary Congressional hearing, his cheek propped on an ice pack, his eyes cloudy with aches and drugs.

I think I might just have control of the tv remote tonight.

Worse things have happenend.


  1. Poor patient. Good nurse.

    Your chicken grease question made me laugh out loud, truly. Ample fat glistens in the chicken soup I made yesterday.


  2. TBG is in good hands. The comfort food makes me want to snuggle up in a blanket with PJs on. I've had hydrocodone for my broken nose my toddler gave me recently. Took it very sparingly, but it does help. And my dr. does not prescribe refills. I'm constantly picking-up "narcotics" from the pharmacy. Apparently my daughter's ADD drug is a narcotic and I have to show my license and sign up the wazoo to even pick it up.

    Have fun controlling the remote.

    Megan xxx

  3. Give him a (gentle) hug for us.

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