Not finding the romance of a sponge bath


By Don Rush

Yup. You’ve probably heard by now (and if you haven’t hang on a moment, you will) I sorta’ kinda’ broke my right knee right good in the middle of May. One wrong twist and smooth as silk I went down, rupturing my pettalar tendon. Sports fans may know that’s the tendon that goes from your knee cap to the front of the leg bone; it’s the tendon that lets you lift your leg below the knee up – basically walk.

I waited a little over a week to go see a doctor . . . then two doctors. Lo and behold brothers and sisters, within seven days I went under the knife . . . and that’s where we begin.

* * *

It was a gray, overcast May day in Clarkston. One of my three sisters (Nancy) had driven me to my date with orthopedic surgeon Shivajee Nallamothu. When it was my turn to go back and get prepped, the nurse said, “I’m gonna’ close this curtain. Get undressed, put this gown on and don’t tie it up. Put these socks on and lay down.”

Said, I your intrepid neophyte in the wide, wide, world of surgery, “Even my under-roos?”

“Every thing.”


I did as she said, she put an IV in and started pumping my veins full of some clear liquid potion. Doc Shivajee showed up, wrote on my right leg, smiled said, “I’ll see you soon.” Some other dude came in did some sort of hoodoo pain-block wham-a-jamma up on the inside of my right thigh and then I was rolled off to what I reckon was the surgery room. A mask was put over my nose and mouth and I thought I heard, “this is oxygen.”

The next thing I knew I was up. My clothes were on. Did I do that? Did someone else? I don’t remember. What else happened that I don’t remember. So, I got that going for me.

* * *

I was given instructions on paper. Keep my black, foamy with two-steel barred immobilizer on my leg for four to six weeks. DON’T TAKE IT OFF! Lay on your back, “toes above your nose” for the first three or so days. A rule of thumb is as a first born of four siblings, I don’t like being told what to do. I figured I could use some true grit and John Wayne myself back to work in one or two days. Told my boss, Wes Smith, my plans. On the second day of laying on my back – “immobilized” – I started to get anxious, wanting to work. I started turning on my side, turning on my computer which was on the coffee table, next to the couch where I lay. I started to move around and type stories and my column on my side laying down with one hand. Didn’t work. I fidgeted and fiddled around some more put the laptop computer on my my chest to type. Nope. I tried, then I put my hand under my immobilizer to rub my sore leg and felt something wet and sticky. Pulled said hand up to my face and . . . blach! Fresh blood. I swooned for a nano second, regained my composure (just in case somebody from the outside world walked in my house at that very moment and see me in a state of weakness), tore off a wad of paper towel, shoved it where the wetness was, closed my eyes and escaped via sleep.

I texted my boss and told him not to bother picking me up for work. I guessed I had to take the instructions and injury seriously.


* * *

Hey, this handy-dandy plastic urine jug can be yours. I ain’t used it! FREE

Back after the surgery they (whomever “they” were, I don’t remember) gave me not a nut, but a peecan to use for relief whilst laying down. I opted out of using that plastic, hand-held jug. If anyone wants it, it’s brand new. Let me know, it’s yours. They also gave me an extender thingamabob for the toilet. A plastic seat that elevates the user about four inches as to make it easier on the immobilized leg. On the box it told three lies. 1. Comfortable. Hell no. 2. No Assembly Required. Nope, it took my sons the better part of 20 minute to assemble and attach, with a few choice cuss words. And, 3. Tool Free. They needed tools. (Oh, and 4. Comfortable – it’s worth two mentions. Just as the best part of the morning is Folgers in your cup, the worst part of my day is using that damn thing.)

This box is full of marketing FAKE NEWs!

* * *

As I have to keep the immobilizer on for another month and I have to keep it “clean and dry” there has been no regular bathing for me, your now ripe smelling hero. The allure and romance of sponge baths have alluded me. Maybe if I used a sponge versus a wash cloth it might work better. Don’t know.

* * *

Sons, Shamus and Sean have been over a lot. And, they were none-too-impressed to help me change my blood-soaked gauze and ace bandages. The “Frankenknee” was a little much for their sensitive demeanors.

* * *

During this immobilized state, I have found humanity to be a wonderful thing. Many have called and texted to see if I needed anything. I have declined. Taj and Stuart Perry owners of The 411 Pub have brought me over meals (and won’t let me pay). Jeff Valley of Valley Tent Rental, drove by one day saw my yard needed weed whacking and just did it. One couple, John and Vita, baked me a meatloaf. My co-workers have carted me to and from work. Local friends and my sisters have taken me to the doctors and to and from local businesses. I am grateful, but still not a fan of asking for help – asking for help makes me feel weird, vulnerable. It makes me feel ookie.

* * *

That’s all. Summer for me starts in July (fingers crossed) when I can be free from the shackles of my immobilizer. If anyone wants to see a picture of the Frankenknee, drop me a line. I will send you a beaut of a picture. Comments to

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