The lovely Mrs. Disco is not above toilet humor; after all, she married a guy perhaps best known to many for his toilet exploits.
However, for this story we will pick things up with Mrs. Disco exactly there, above a toilet … or more correctly, standing on a toilet.
The quick back-story:
Immediately after surgery, functionally, I was down an arm and a leg. Why a leg, you ask? In Tommy John surgeries, the graft for the new UCL typically comes from the Palmaris Longus which, for you latin fans, means it is located somewhere below your Palmus and runs Longus-ly into your forearm.
The reasons are many why this tendon is used for typical TJ surgeries, but perhaps the most important is the fact that it is essentially biomechanically irrelevant. As a result, something like 1 in 6 people don’t have it. Going into surgery, it was noted I was Palmaris Longus-deficient in my left wrist, but my right wrist showed promising signs. The story changed in surgery and it was determined my right PL would not suffice, so the doctors got a monster, hog-of-a-graft from my left hamstring.
Surgery went perfectly, but my Palmaris Wimpus resulted in my walking–er, waddling–out of the outpatient procedure with my right robot arm and my left leg able to (reluctantly) bear some weight, but with little to no ability to flex. My left knee was badly swollen and any activity of the hamstring sent a nice electric-cattle-prod-shock down my hamstring, across my knee, and down my shin.
After a few days, I was proficient in contact lens removal/application left-handed, amongst many other tasks. Most things were more daunting, but with the help of my amazing wife and some extra effort and patience, my daily life was mostly carrying on like normal-ish. Except that, typically, I shower daily.
My sense of smell was un-effected by the surgery and after some time I decided I was past due for a shower (reports vary on how many days had actually gone by). Maybe it was because she is insanely helpful and a godsend, or maybe it was because she didn’t want me to change my mind and go another day, Mrs. Disco immediately offered to help. With that, I asked her to meet me in the upstairs bathroom in fifteen minutes or at the base of the stairs when she heard a thump-roll-roll-bang-thud; whichever came first.
In the bathroom, we started up the tub for a bath, figuring keeping my leg and elbow wounds dry would be easier if the water was more or less at rest. As the tub filled, it was time for the undressing ritual. This is just the back story, so maybe I’ll leave this for another post, but undressing involved me holding my right arm (sans brace) with my left arm and balancing on my one free limb, my right let. Yeah, we won’t get into more details, lets just zoom forward to just before entering the bath, after applying water-proof bandages to my arm, wrist, and leg, Mrs. Disco passed a roll of Saran Wrap around my right arm to protect it from any errant water. The tub was surrounded by walls on three sides and the water spout was on the right when facing the tub from the bathroom. Left foot in, right foot in would be the ideal method of entry for this type of tub, but since my left foot could barely bear any weight, let alone all my weight while standing on a slippery tub floor, this was obviously not an option. (Side note, and you cannot make this stuff up, as I’m writing this, Mrs. Disco’s iTunes account just fired up some Right Said Fred I’m Too Sexy. Guess it’s time to just jump right in to how to enter a bathtub with a wrapped, braced, numb, swollen, and useless right arm and left leg. If you have the song, I’d recommend finding your iPod and playing it now to get the full visual, if not, just by me saying I’m too Sexy enough times, the song is probably playing in your head right now. I think the scene is set…)
So it was right foot in, spin around, slowly lower body so left arm can push bottles of shampoo and body wash off the ledge against the wall and brace my weight while Mrs. Disco carefully holds my right arm since I am sans-brace for the bathing. Once slowly lowered down, use the left arm to hold up the dangling right arm and keep it out of the water. Then, with no free hands, make sure the left leg stays elevated and ends up on the left edge of the tub and out of the water.
And I do my little turn on the catwalk
Yeah on the catwalk, on the catwalk, yeah
I shake my little tush on the catwalk*
*I’m not at all kidding, this is actually happening. That’s what’s playing in the background right now as I type. I hope you’re in the moment as much as I am. To acquit Mrs. Disco from any scrutiny for her music selection (and indict me for much worse offenses), I downloaded the song a long time ago to turn it into a ring tone I could use as an alarm clock.
Let’s digress. You’re caught up; the stage is set for the Toilet Revenge. I’ve Patrick Swayze-d my way into the tub and have my leg awkwardly hovering up the wall. Not quite a model, if you know what I mean. I’m Too Sexy aside, when poor Mrs. Disco signed up for this baseball wifery, needless to say, I don’t think what she had in mind was the scene taking place.
So how do we end up with Mrs. Disco on the toilet? The tub method just wasn’t working. I think it was a combination of my incessant nervous laughter as Mrs. Disco tried to make some progress with a loofah and the fact I just couldn’t hold myself in a position with my arm and leg out of the water long enough without getting electrocuted by that missing tendon in the back of my leg. So we decided to go with a shower. The plan, as it was suggested to me, was we’d drain the water from the tub and Mrs. Disco would start the shower while aiming the shower head down to not get me wet. Once the shower was running, she’d help me up.
The plan was flawless, yet at this point I still had the nervous giggles and Mrs. Disco was now cracking herself up with comments (however inaccurate they might have been) about how it was probably cold to have a tub drain out from around you. My laughter made her laugh harder. Her laughing meant we were still sitting in the cold bathroom, which only perpetuated more laughter. We were an absolute giggling mess. A brief thought-collecting sigh only preceded more laughter, but gave Mrs. Disco enough wherewithal to mount the toilet and from her tip-toes, she could reach the shower head to begin to execute the plan. The shower head was one of those hand-held heads that “docks” onto a base high up in the shower so you can pull it down if you chose to, or leave it up like a normal shower. She carefully kept it balanced in its dock, but aimed it down so when the shower started to spray, it wouldn’t hit me. While holding on to the shower head and leaning against the wall, she then balanced on one tippy-toe and reached with her free foot to turn the water back on and then to shift the flow of the water from the spout to the shower head.
You know that brief moment of silence after you flip the switch in a shower to start the shower flow? The time where there’s no water flow coming out of either outlet? The time where you can quickly pull your head out of the shower and escape the shower’s downpour? The calm before the storm, of sorts? Yeah, at that moment, that exact moment, just as the water was gaining momentum vertically up to the shower head and about to unleash a spray of water across the entire shower that the lid to the toilet Mrs. Disco was standing on slipped a few inches away from the shower and she lost her balance. Her foot was still dangling into the shower to keep pressure on the switch, and her only course of action to try to regain her balance was to quickly grab the shower curtain rod. The plastic, spring-loaded, “tested to approx. 0.6 Newtons of force” curtain rod.
As I sat watching all this take place in the empty (potentially cold) tub, still with leg up in the air and left arm cradling my dangling right arm over the tub wall, waiting for my wife’s help to lift me up to a standing position, the shower curtain and rod came crashing down onto the tub millimeters before Mrs. Disco who crashed down milliseconds before the toilet seat broke and flew off the toilet and the flow of shower spray rained down.
Thankfully, Mrs. Disco suffered no injury in the fall and somehow she was athletic enough to fall clear of my limbs which were probably draped everywhere she would have ideally been able to land. There was a split second of silence to assess the damage level, which upon realizing was nil, gave way to an eruption of hysterical, wet laughter.
If you were to walk in to the bathroom at that moment, you would have found a toilet seat and lid on the ground by the door, a fully-clothed, soaking-wet wife in the push-up position heaving with laughter while straddling a bathtub covered with a shower curtain and rod twisted up diagonally against the wall. The hand-held shower head had been knocked off the dock by the shower curtain on the way down and now, powered by impressive water pressure, was swinging wildly across the shower like a live electrical wire. Rugs, towels, walls, toilet paper, mirrors were wet. After the dust had settled, we noticed standing water in the trash bin. Back in the tub, the naked, wet, perhaps cold, baseball player with one leg elevated up the shower’s side wall and a heavily-bandaged right arm covered in a disheveled mess of Saran Wrap held by his left arm dangling out the side of the tub would have only been noticeable by the belly laughing going on under the shower curtain. Thankfully for us, no one did walk in the bathroom at the moment.
But they came close. The story ends here with an ironic twist. Remember the amazing host family from Arkansas who we desperately did not want to saddle with a clogged toilet as we were getting moved to another city? Yeah, them. Well, since we’ve blogged, they happened to move to Cincinnati and were again hosting us while we were in Cincy having surgery and rehabbing. The mom, who was at the store while we started the shower-scapade, had come home and undoubtedly heard a loud crash from the shower and ran up the stairs. “Everything OK in there?”
It was all I could do through my laughter to hold back from eking out, “Yeah, we’re fine. But we finally broke your toilet.”