My Plan To Use Downtime Constructively Had Some Bumps In The Road


Back in March, when my husband Mark and I first suspected that this COVID-19 thing was going to be with us for the long haul, we came up with a brilliant scheme. The scheme was this — like most of Hollywood, we would use this time to “have some work done.”

Now, with the Hollywood starlets and their leading men, the “work” usually entails new noses, rounder bottoms or hysterically large breasts. Wrinkles are erased, chins are re-engineered and everybody comes up hairless.

That is not the type of work Mark and I were talking about. No, we decided to use our valuable alone time to get real work done — in my case, a cataract-free eyeball and one new tooth; in his, two new eyeballs and a knee. We would endure our various recoveries together and present ourselves back to society next spring with covetable new abilities to see, chew and walk. It was brilliant!

No, it wasn’t.

You know what will make a quarantine situation really miserable? Two people in pain.

The eyes weren’t so bad. Mark recovered quickly, and I recovered, um, eventually. I could never see much of anything in the first place, so a patch over one eye didn’t make that much of a difference — until I had to wear my old glasses to aid the other eye and a mask to steam everything up. I wasn’t in pain; I was just stumbling around the house and grocery shopping like a blind person.

The tooth was another story. According to the dentist — on two separate visits — there was nothing wrong with it. Yet I couldn’t chew so much as a leaf of lettuce. Because the tooth was going to need it soon, he went ahead and put on a crown, and that was great. Looks wonderful. But I still can’t chew lettuce.

Due to my own poor scheduling, on the same morning I got my crown, I had to load my numb old self into the car and, head pounding, drive to the hospital to fetch Mark. He had gotten his knee replaced the previous day and (because he had already walked the length of the hall and up three stairs!), was ready to be picked up. I would take a Tylenol as soon as I got a chance.

Springing someone from the hospital is a big deal. There are release papers and prescriptions and medical notes and all kinds of gear that have to be juggled to the car, all while smiling and congratulating the patient on his awesome progress (which was, in fact, pretty awesome). From then on, the responsibility is on the caregiver.

Let me say right now that I am a horrible caregiver. Anyone looking for “a nurse with a purse” best stay away. Yet, Tylenol a distant hope and still smiling, I managed to get Mark from the car to the house, up the stairs and into bed with nary a fall — amazing, since I could barely see. I got the ice for his knee, wrapped him up, brought him a glass of water, then ran to the drugstore to pick up his pain medication.

They had sent the prescription to the wrong place, so I drove my throbbing head with the steamed-up glasses, the one wanky eye and the wrong glasses two miles to the next pharmacy. I should have been arrested. I don’t know which lane I was in or if my blinker was on or whether I was going the speed limit or anything.

Somehow, I made it home, where Mark met me with, “Drugs!”

“Tylenol!” I replied.

However, when you see us next spring, we will be all fixed up and happy-go-lucky and bragging about how well we survived the pandemic. If we haven’t killed each other by then.

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