Friday, April 4, 2014

Quite the Pre-Op Distraction

Yesterday I had foot surgery -- my first real surgery other than getting my wisdom teeth out as a teen. And let's just say, I was a tad nervous. I mean, I'm no wuss. But when someone says there's a chance your foot could turn necrotic, it's had not to imagine yourself as a peg-leg pirate -- not a look I'd like to sport.

Well, as luck (bad luck?) would have it, Tuesday night I was awakened to quite a distraction.

More than a distraction, really.

A once in a lifetime (or maybe once in a thousand lifetimes) experience.

So, from the top.

I'm deep asleep, which is rare these days, when I hear a loud rumbling outside. Not an earthquake. That was in Chile. Of course, Josh goes to "check it out" because he's manly like that. I meanwhile, pull the covers up and snuggle in, hoping to fall back asleep. But that was not in the cards.

Instead, about ten minutes later Josh appears in the doorway and says that sherrif is here and we might need to leave, so I should probably get dressed. Really? I grumble. I mean I have two broken feet, I'm on pain meds that mostly, but not completely, do the trick, and it's the fricken middle of the night. What could possibly be such a big deal that we'd need to leave the house?

Well, I'll tell you what... An armed felon with a warrant for this arrest who for some unknown reason is holed up the trailer one of our family friends has been living in on my parents property, and oh, he's decided his girlfriend is a hostage. Not at all what I was expecting.

So I get dressed; strap on a dorky black orthotic sandal-shoe on my less broken foot and a non-matching, monstrous nearly-knee-high Velcro boot on my seriously broken other foot; pack my pain meds, my iPad and iPhone (of course!), my down jacket and a blanket; grab my walker and head to the front of house at snail speed, after a pit stop in the loo. (My momma raised me right -- never leave the house without going to the bathroom first or without a warm jacket.)

At the front of the house, I find my parents and my hubby all ready to go. My dad is on the phone with someone who I guess to be the sherrif, sighing and saying we're ready to be evacuated.

Normally, I exit the house via the front door, in a wheelchair pushed by my hubby, down a ramp. But tonight that's not possible. We must go out the garage door, which means navigating a staircase. Did I mention I have two broken feet? Thankfully, I married smart -- my hubby is tall and strong and very loving. So he whisks me off my feet and carries me down the stairs.

Mind you, this is after the SWAT team tells us to put our hands up. I'm guessing to show we have no guns, but which is awfully tricky when you are standing on one broken foot while grasping a walker. Thankfully, the SWAT guy laughs at my attempt to show my hands and lets us proceed without making me demonstrate my ability to stand on one leg (or lack thereof).

In the garage, I spy the vehicle we will be leaving the house in... An armored truck, complete with SWAT team in full body armor, helmets, and assault rifles, and with a rooftop hatch for shooting bad guys. Of course we are to load in the back of the truck and of course it is high off the ground, so Josh must lift me into the vehicle all the while not bashing his head into the top of the metal truck. Woohoo! He does it without hurting either of us. And yes, if you are wondering, this whole thing seemed to happen really slowly although it's clear the SWAT guys are a little freaked out and wanting us to go faster, but really how fast can we move in the middle of the night with my junky foot.

They drive us down the street, out towards the highway and make us unload in the middle of the road. Also a treacherous affair for me as I still have only one good foot and the truck is about 2 feet off the ground and of course my dumb orthotic shoe gets stuck on the grate step. Fortunately Josh is there to retrieve me. Manly man to the rescue again.

Then the waiting begins. First with me trying to find a flat spot in the crap pavement that is my parents road, full of potholes and layers of asphalt that look like a pile of nachos haphazardly balanced atop each other. Suffice to say, it is not an ideal surface to navigate with a walker. And my foot is throbbing and it's late and I'm tired and cold and probably whiny. (Well, what do you expect. I am a Jewish princess.)

Finally one of the SWAT guys suggests we sit in his truck. Hooray! I can put my foot up! And I can also start asking my 101 questions about what exactly is going on and where is our friend who lives in the trailer and did they evacuate him yet and how long will it be until we can go back home to our warm beds. All the while, the SWAT guys keep asking us our names and phone numbers and birth dates, and then the next guy has to write it down too, so we have to repeat this a half dozen times. But at least I'm warm in a car with my leg elevated and finally my dad's friend appears -- barefoot with just a pair of sweatpants and a tank top on freezing his butt off, but safe and sound. Josh of course has his down jacket, which he lends to our friend.

Eventually the SWAT team decides it's gonna be awhile and takes us to the local fire depot, where most of the boys I grew up volunteered in their youth and a couple still do. We cozy up in the lounge with the lights on full blast, a Sonoma Sherrifs Officer babysitting us, the radio blaring at full volume, and attempt to get some sleep. Every time I come to, I look at the clock: 1:30am, 2:45 am, 3:30am, 5am -- thinking to myself, they must have arrested the guy by now, right? But no.

Although it is the middle of the night and I'm hobbling around with a walker, I make Josh take a picture of me with the fire truck. I just couldn't help myself! (Check out that bed head!)


At 6am, they kick us out of the fire depot and take us to my grandma's house. I get to ride in the front of the cop car on account of my broken feet, but everyone else has to ride in the back, which apparently is an unpleasant way to travel. In one of the few humorous moments of this whole distraction, the sherrif instructs me to let the boys out of the back of the car as they cannot open the car door from the inside. To which I respond, I can't get out without my walker which is the backseat. So he opens the door, like a good civil servant and my hubby heroically carries me up the stairs to my grandmas house, amid praise from the cops.

Then we spend all of Wednesday at my grandma's house. Somewhere in there, I remember that I need to get a wheelchair with elevated leg rests for post-surgery and after multiple phone calls to the insurance company and the wheelchair people, I finally get word that my chair is ready for pickup. Whoopie! Across town we go in a borrowed vehicle (all of my parents' multitude of vehicles are off-limits as they are trapped at the house which we can't go back to nor get anything brought to us from -- meds and dog included.)

We fetch the wheelchair, hit up Kmart (ugh!) for new bandages for my foot -- must shower night before and morning of surgery) -- and some rice to round out dinner and return to grandmas. Still no word about when we go home. Thursday comes and it's time for my surgery. With everything that's been going on I haven't had time to freak out about my foot dying, which I am very thankful for.

The surgery goes well, we return to my grandmas house, have Chinese takeout (what else is a Jewish family to do?) and then prepare for another night there. Around 8pm we get word that we can return home and so we do.

And everyone lived happily ever after.

Well, almost.

The bad guy is dead.

The trailer is burnt up and taken by the cops as evidence, as are two of our cars which have bullet wounds.

All of our friend's belongings are gone (either burnt to a crisp or taken as evidence), including his glasses, meds, cell phone, shoes, jacket and cash savings.

And my dad's beloved HO and Lionel train layout which covers some 200 sqft (or so) is damaged beyond repair by the SWAT guys who used the second floor of the barn (my dad's workshop) as a sniper location. Apparently, even though no shots were fired for some 19 hours, they were in a huge rush to get into position, trampling his precisely placed train tracks, squashing vintage train cars and basically destroying hours of hard work and love in meer minutes.

But at least my foot is fixed, my family is alive and we have an unusual story to share.


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