Gracias Amigos

I am overwhelmed by the comments on Leslie’s last post. It feels a little strange being so forthright about this spine surgery thing because it’s really not that big a deal (he says, as he makes a big deal, as usual, about something that’s not); as I write I’m aware of several friends living with cancer, and one about to lose the battle. It’s hard not knowing what to say about that. So I just want to say thank you to everyone who sent good wishes. They were all appreciated, even the one subtly criticizing my beard (which was actually right on).

As Leslie said, I was pretty anxious about having surgery, but feel lucky to have had a great experience all the way around. The neurosurgeon, Dr. Hajjar, did a great job. He’s not known for his affability; I saw him for 30 seconds before he operated (most of which consisted of me asking if I could play my bagpipes soon, and his saying yes) and about a minute the next morning. But it was immediately clear to me when I was aware of my body that the pain was gone.

Pre-op nurse Amy. I think I finally found my color: expect to see me in a lot more lavender next season.

Dr. Hajjar is one of the surgeons who owns Treasure Valley Hospital in Boise. Having lived in Boise for 12 years, and having commuted past TVH on my bicycle for 9 years, and with a wife in health care, it’s weird to think I had no idea the hospital was even there. It’s only one floor, very small and tucked away in the back of a sort of semi-industrial park not far from the mall. What made it a good experience, in addition to the outcome, was the people working there. Angela and Carolyn in Registration; Kelsey the nurse aid who set me up in pre-op; the very, very affable nurse Amy who did all the computer charting and IV setup and had me do this “incentive” inhaling thing and seemed impressed with my lung capacity, and shared with us the fact that 20 years ago she’d flown through a windshield and has suffered for the last 17 years tiny shards of glass slowly and painfully erupting through the skin on her face and head; Jackie, the other nurse who IV’d my left arm which played vein hide-and-seek from the 20-gauge needle; Todd the anesthesiologist who looked like an ultramarathoner and was very calm and clear about what was about to happen; Georgette the pharmacist who charmingly cleared the path for post-op prescriptions; the OR nurse Christine who, even though she had her surgical scrub cap on reminded me of Tina Nicely, a really good friend from junior high even though she’d thrown the apple core at Kevin Hoagland which he thought I’d thrown and punched my lights out for it right there on the asphalt volleyball court (the only “fight” I’ve been in); the night shift RN LeeAnna who made me laugh at 3:50 a.m. with a story of her 3-year-old diving headfirst off of an 8-foot bookshelf onto their couch and bouncing across the living room; the night CNA Melanie who moved like a cat waking me several times without really waking me; the morning RN Matt who knew his job as well as anyone in any occupation I’ve ever met; the morning CNA Eliza who walked us to the car in the sleet and carried my stuff and greatly simplified Matt’s directions to the place we had to go to get a back brace. I mention this in case anyone in the area is looking for a good place to go for an operation. I think they even have several of those machines that go “ping!”

So, not your typical hunting account. Apologies if you were hoping for something more interesting. But I really feel compelled to say how moved I am by the graciousness of strangers, especially in a world that, if all you knew of it came from the news, would seem hopeless, cruel, and pointless.

Speaking of hopeless, cruel, and pointless: there is one thing I feel obliged to mention. Possibly the worst thing about this for me, even worse than the soreness from the surgery and the unknown recovery road ahead, is that I’m not allowed to sleep with my dogs, which also means my wife (no — she’s not a dog; she sleeps with them because they can’t not sleep with at least one of us. It’s in our bylaws). Leslie pointed out that it’s a bit ironic that the last post I wrote was about sleeping with dogs. I had no idea this was going to be a thing or I might not have had the surgery. It’s only temporary (about a week), but it does hurt. Peat told me he’s not very happy about it, especially the hurtful implication that he’s unclean; I felt it imprudent to mention the coprophagia. Anyway, I hope he’ll get over it, and I will try my best.

Finally, I’m extremely blessed that Leslie is here to take care of me. It puts a lot of things in perspective. I might learn something useful. And I hope the weather clears soon so she can take the dogs and herself hunting and get a well-deserved, hard-earned break from my sorry ass before the season ends.

Post-op meal: breakfast burrito, flourless chocolate cake, orange juice, and prune juice!
A Norco-influenced pose at Bi-Mart on the way home, waiting for prescriptions to be filled.
Back home with my peeps.

30 Replies to “Gracias Amigos”

  1. Feel better soon and remember that post operation care and following Dr’s orders for recovery are more than essential, they are mandatory if you want to do sorts that chukar hunters do.

    1. Thanks, Chris. I’m looking forward to taking better care of my body, beginning with rehab. I dropped about 10 pounds through this toward the end of the season, and noticed it’s much easier going uphill, even with the sciatica.

  2. Wow, you look ten years younger! Maybe it’s because you are able to stand up straight w/o pain? NO, it’s because that hideous beard is gone!

  3. What nice images after we feared the worst! And I fully understand the gratitude. It’s remarkable that such a large industry has so many excellent representatives–I am grateful myself, both for those I have encountered, and for those who have done such good work for/with you, Bob. May the best outcomes continue as we continue to hold you in prayer.


  4. Hey Bob
    You look damn good in lavender. Glad all went well. I did enjoy Leslie’s photos in the last pre-op post and I really miss her videography. But once one becomes an actual participant in the hunt, it would be difficult to go back to being a spectator,albeit with a camera. Best Regards.

    1. So far the only thing the doc’s told me is that I can play the bagpipes whenever I want. I’m hoping to get some more detailed instructions soon, or at least by my 3-week checkup.

  5. Bob and Leslie,
    Great news that you’re home. If it’s any consolation, my Brittanys eat chicken shit from the backyard coop. When they jump on our bed panting, their breath is, what shall I say?–unique. I figure they’ve eaten worse: rotting rats, ripening snails and last week’s cheese that they somehow missed on the kitchen floor.
    Heal well and dream of chuckling chukars just over the rise.

  6. Great to hear everything went well. I will echo the comments of others regarding Dr’s orders (particularly physical limits) and rehab. My Britt eats cat poop out of the litter box, btw. And yes, he sleeps on our bed with us anyway.

  7. HOPE YOU HEAL WELL. I had prostate surgery in 2017. We had lots of rain and coveys were big. At my age (77) you cant waste a year like that. Told doc, get it out and I don’t want any appointments during bird season. Hunted almost 4 days a week all season with son, grandson, my Britt and their 2 pups.

  8. Yaahooo!! Bob wins, chukars panic and run to the rocks.

    Leslie – I have a strong suspicion Bob is going to work extra hard on rehab and probably do more than he should. Keep him on a short leash for a while.

  9. Glad to hear you are doing well. Although we have never met I feel like I know you and your wife some through your writing. Sounds like you have been well taken care of and are on the mend. The chukars await you next year, new and improved. Idfor

  10. Glad it all went well. Try and enjoy the rehab, better days are ahead. I’m sure the Dogs will need more attention as well. This novice has learned and enjoyed your writings on all things Chukar and Brittany’s.

  11. Dang! with you stuck at home recuperating this would be a perfect time to hotspot your spots! Just kidding! Here’s hoping that you have a full recovery and are back on the slopes giving them devil chickens hell asap!

  12. Happy to hear all went well.Hope you are out with the dogs soon. Writing will help you stay sane during your recovery.Always enjoy the pictures,videos and hunting stories.

Chirp away

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