How Breakfast Becomes Lunch

John Parks-Coleman

How Breakfast Becomes Lunch

John Parks-Coleman
cereal-556786_640So, last night, after everyone left, I wrote a post, then settled down on the sofa next to Yvonne.  We began planning our day for today:

  1. Get up early (kinda happens anyway)

  2. Eat a good breakfast (it DID get cooked)

  3. Head to the VA to get a follow-up chest x-ray for Yvonne (recovering from pneumonia)

  4. Get blood work done for Yvonne (a mention of Huntington's was made by her PCM)

  5. Go to prosthetics to get my replacement cane (long story there)

  6. On the return trip, go to the grocery store.


So, here's what actually happened:

  1. Got up early

  2. Prepared a good breakfast

  3. Let Yvonne know that breakfast was ready, found out she dozed off

  4. Washed dishes

  5. Folded laundry

  6. Went on Caregiving and Twitter

  7. Remembered that I forgot to put the garbage out (after I heard the truck pass the house)

  8. Became "that guy" waiting outside in the cold for the garbage truck to make the return trip

  9. Check on Yvonne (still asleep)

  10. Reschedule visit to the VA

  11. Wonder what to cook for lunch, then remember that breakfast never got eaten

  12. Try to convince Bonz that I am not, in fact, losing my mind (but who's talking to the dog?)


So, that's how breakfast becomes lunch, or possibly dinner.  I've learned long ago that the clock no longer dictates the appetite.  Fresh fruit, boiled eggs, french toast, and coffee taste good at any time of the day.  So what if I have to reschedule appointments, that's why they have a scheduling department, right?

So, about that cane...




I was getting Yvonne ready for bed (this would be about three weeks ago) and I had run a nice warm bath for her.  She was super-exhausted from having been out with me all that day and, her feet had swollen, her shoes were very hard to remove.  I tend to put easy-on easy-off shoes on Yvonne; however, she likes to dress up now and then, and wear her boots or some of her other shoes.  I try to make this happen when I know that I'm not going to have to take her shoes off for a doctor's visit.

So, Yvonne has a pair of boots that she wore (against regulation) while she was in the Army.  She wasn't airborne but I was and, she was jealous of the style of boots that I wore (this is back when the Army wore Battle Dress Uniforms or BDUs).  She had a pair, kind of like mine; however, they zip up on the side (a no-no in the Army).  No one really gave her any trouble for it and I was sure that I'd never say anything about it.  We may have been the same rank however she's still my Command-Wife-Major, and outranks me at all times.

She was wearing those boots.  Her feet and ankles had swollen during the day, and I was having trouble getting her boots off.  I had her lay back against the pillows on our bed, told her to relax, and I pulled.  I almost had it.  I pulled again and that's when Yvonne decided to relax her ankle.  With the sudden release of the boot, I fell backward, hitting my head against the dresser.  Stars -- blurry vision.  "Don't pass out, Self," I told myself.  Myself didn't want to listen.  I was wondering who was turning the lights on and off.  I propped myself up on my elbows, and started giving myself a quick once-over.

Head -- bump on the back, no blood

Ears -- ringing

Eyes -- hard to focus

All the signs of concussion.  I recognize those signs.  Having felt them before through numerous blasts and vehicle roll-overs, I knew the feeling and that I needed to get to the hospital right away.  I moved to roll over onto my side, and get back to my feet...then I felt another familiar pain.  My right leg was folded under me, and the patella had slid off to the side (ruh-roh Shaggy!).  This was going to hurt but there was only one thing I could do.

I keep elastic bands on the end of our bed posts.  These are work-out bands that I use for strength and conditioning exercises for Yvonne.  Using the bands for resistance, I'm able to get her to work her arms and legs and prevent atrophy.  I reached over and grabbed on of the bands.  I pulled the knife from my pocket (I always have a knife with me), cut the elastic, fashioned a slip-knot, put it around my ankle, looped it around the bed post, took a deep breath, and as I let it out...pulled.

As my knee popped back into it's correct position, it sounded like a loud crack.

"What'cha doing?"  Yvonne asked, still laying back on the pillows

"Just taking a break, sweety," I tried to hide the pain in my voice.

Bonz was busy licking the tears from my face.

I reached over for the bath-chair that I had ready to put in the tub for Yvonne and used it to lift myself up.  Feeling everything settling back into place, I felt a little better.  Telling Yvonne that the bath was going to have to wait until the morning, I very gently removed her other boot.  Dressing her in pajamas, I got her settled into bed.  Making my way down stairs, I grabbed my phone.

Saving all the details of the rest of the night for fear of boring you, I'll skip ahead to the following morning.

Arriving at my PCM's office at the VA, I explained to her everything that happened.  After a quick exam, she sent me for an MRI of the knee and a CT of my brain-bucket.

Later, she was going over the results with me and thankfully there was no (more) damage to my brain than what the Army had left me with as a departing gift.  Then she looked at me and said:

"If your Wife were in this room, right now, she would ask you this same question, so don't argue with me 'Do you want a cane now or a walker later?' "

I thought about it, and realized she was right.  Yvonne would ask me that question.

So, the meniscus is re-torn in my right knee and although it's settled back into place, I have to be extra careful.  Add to that the nice coating of arthritis and scarring from too many times of leaving a perfectly good airplane via 'chute, and my knees will never be as good as they once were.  If I take better care of myself, they will last a bit longer though.  Prosthetics will give me a replacement cane that better suits my needs and that's going to have to wait until tomorrow...when we have dinner...for breakfast.

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