The garden is overgrown now

My husband hurt his shoulder at work one year ago today. He heard a snap, felt the familiar pop, and assumed he’d pulled/strained it, again.

Six weeks later he could not bear the pain any longer, could not sleep, and so we went to the doctor and began an L & I claim.

It’s been a long and grueling year full of doctor appointments, running between bus pickups of the little one and physical and massage therapies, and many sleepless nights. He had partially torn his bicep tendon, and they hoped that it would heal itself.

He was put on “light duty” at work, doctor’s orders, and then proceeded to be humiliated by his employers. “Ha! It’s a dairy farm! We have no ‘light duty!!'” However once L & I got a hold of them, they changed their tune and decided to find some light duty, instead of having their rates increase for him to be paid to sit at home.

He has one-handedly cleaned baby cow feeders, entered into a computer poorly handwritten maintenance logs, driven tractors scraping cow shit, had to swallow a pay cut and switch from contract to hourly work, and dealt with the fallout of upset coworkers.

He has been working 10-12 hour days, six days a week. He’s not sleeping, and his other shoulder has taken the brunt of the load. He’s exhausted and lost his zest for life. It’s been sad to watch. I miss my husband.

The doctors finally agreed that he needed surgery a month or so ago, and he’s scheduled to have surgery in three weeks. I’m relieved and freaked out at the same time.

They say this shoulder surgery he’s awaiting has one of the longest recovery lengths. Eight to nine months until he could consider going back to work. We’ve heard scary stories now of people heading back to work and within days having the arm tear again. The doctors are saying that they will be repairing the torn bicep tendon and fixing and cleaning the rotator cuff all out. They will be giving him pain pills that he’s concerned with getting addicted to since everyone’s telling him how painful this surgery is.

There’s so much we don’t know.

I know that there is a cosmic purpose for this happening in our lives, a reason. He, and I, have been at the same jobs for 18 years, and we’re both tired, scared, and unwilling to leave the security they provide, but know that we need something new in our lives. This is pushing him to change. This is making us find something better and safer and easier for his body. He’s been milking cows for almost thirty years, since he was a boy in Mexico, and it is extremely hard work on the body. He deserves a break. He deserves a job that doesn’t require that he wake up at 3:40 a.m. six days a week, including holidays, and a job where he’s not outdoors in the cold and indoors in a barn with cold water seeping in through his boots and gloves. A job that doesn’t require he use his shoulders all day, every day. Somewhere where he could have benefits, overtime pay, days off, paid days off, holidays off. He deserves to have the energy and the ability to enjoy his hobbies, play in his beloved greenhouse, sleep well at night. This is good for us, great for him.

It’s just hard when you’re walking through the dark night, and don’t know where you’re headed.

I hope he has a safe procedure, that he is carried through this process by the love that we all hold him in. He is a kind, wonderful soul, and he deserves the best.


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