Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

Most of us have had stitches over the years; no big deal, right? I have had my share, both internal and external, although thankfully, none have been due to broken bones jutting out through the soft tissue or the thick muscles of my arms and legs. Makes me squeamish even thinking of such a disaster. Nor have my stitches had anything to do with falls from trees, jumping out of barn lofts, or swimming in a pond next to an old tomato canning factory so murky one could not see the rusty tin and broken bottles lurking on the muddy bottom. Nope, my Guardian Angel was certainly looking after me during each of those childhood escapades and the many bike and roller skating accidents from which I also escaped virtually unharmed. I usually just ended up with only great scabs doctored with mercurochrome. That red stuff burns like holy heck! Never even saw the inside of a hospital till I was 20. Well when I was seven, I had my tonsils removed. Don’t remember much of that except when I smell ether I get violently ill.
Nope. My stitches were usually inside my mouth following the tonsillectomy or harrowing dental work or along my shoulder or neck when some little bitty ole mole was removed and the incision took a trillion painful stitches to sew tightly shut. The other “inside work” is just too personal to describe or had to do with a heart attack that I don’t want to talk about at the moment.
What I do want to talk about and to warn anyone whose partner might be thinking of a facelift, nose reconstruction, or chinny chin tuck is to be prepared! Not that I personally would not just love to have someone with a magic wand remove the wrinkles from around my eyes, the lines from around my mouth, or to take off the three chins that have formed around my neck. No. I would love that. But after what I have experienced this week with my sweet husband’s eye surgery, I think I will pass. Oh, now understand that he has been a wonderful patient and has hardly suffered at all. Not a whimper as far as pain was concerned. He swears there was none. Really? The poor man looks like he lost a 12 round boxing match to Rocky Balboa! Yet, he took nothing more than one Tylenol, and that was because he thought he was getting a headache.
Not one complaint. Even when I applied the salve with a Qtip to the twenty odd stitches, all he said was, “That tickles a little.” Tickles? Tickles? Some very fine surgeon just opened the lids of your eyes up, took out the extra flesh sagging down over your pretty baby blues, then sewed them back up, and the stitches Tickle?
You all have heard when the doctor says, “Now this is going to hurt me more than it does you,” right? Well, he should have looked at me in the recovery room and said, “Mrs. Horton, this is going to cause you more discomfort than it will your very brave husband.” Between following the doctor’s orders to apply ice packs every 30 minutes (to remain on the eyelids for 10 minutes during each cycle) repeat for 48 hours, then add refreshing eye drops, salve every morning and before bedtime (that tickles), and then hot moist cloths four times daily for two weeks, feed, bathe and monitor this man I promised to care for in sickness and in health, making sure he lifted nothing heavier than a fork for six weeks, wellll, between all that, I am suffering from exhaustion and need a nurse myself !!!
I know you are thinking that it seems very petty to whine when all I want, of course, is for Bill to be all better and for that hideous purple, green, and yellow bruising and the scary puffy swelling to go away and for him (us) to get an A+ at his doctor’s visit later this week. But who would have guessed that something that had sounded so simple would require such sophisticated aftercare? I don’t think I was trained for this kind of nursing (actually, I only took a Girl Scout Leader First Aid course and am a whiz bang at snake bites and sucking wounds).
Thank goodness friends and family have been so kind bringing main dish meals which we could both enjoy. My daughter Leslie came over Saturday evening with bags of food like a traveling chef, prepared a fabulous meal and did all the cleanup. I thanked her for the delicious food, left the table, collapsed on the couch, and covered myself with a cozy throw. I immediately fell into a dead sleep, having worked myself into a stupor from the frenzy of thirty minute cycles of ice pack duty.
Now, most of you are thinking, “How sad that she should complain about having to nurse her poor husband who has suffered being cut on and stitched up. (Really nice looking stitches until he hit himself in the face with his own hand—ouch!) I mean, gee, he has told everyone how much he enjoyed the Twilight Sleep and the ministrations of what he says was “the sweetest, most caring nursing staff ever,” (what am I, chopped liver?). To be fair, Bill has been exceptionally vociferous in his praise for me. Even telling everyone who has visited or called how good to him I have been. But, of course, why shouldn’t I? Having been rewarded greatly with 57 years of the dearest life partner in the world. (And he shared the ice cream treats Sheridan brought over.) To be equally fair, this surgery will allow him the peripheral vision denied him by the excess “baggage” over his baby blues. Nice job, Doc.
“Coming Dear.” It’s time for the hot moist towel to be applied to the eyelids and timed for 10 minutes, then I will administer the soothing drops, then . . . .