Life with a temporarily one-armed wife

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Husband-and-wife journalists Bob Miller and Callie Clark Miller share the same small house (still), work in the same office (again) and somehow manage to cling to their sanity (barely). Older and wiser (she's wiser, he's just older), the Southeast Missourian sweethearts offer their views on everyday issues, told from two different perspectives.

SHE SAID: The bone sticking out of my shoulder was quite a surprise.

Probably shouldn't have been; I've been having pain in my left arm since last November. But an MRI in December showed mild tendinitis, treated with a cortisone shot that seemed to take fairly good care of the problem for six months. Until I glanced down in the mirror a few weeks ago and noticed my collarbone peeking up about an inch above my normal shoulder line.

As is my custom any time I find bones sticking out at odd angles from my body, I poked and prodded a bit. The bone itself wasn't too painful; the ache inside my shoulder, however, was. More tests, and my doctor announced what seemed a somewhat harsh verdict: AC Joint separation. I'm scheduled for surgery later this month, but between now and then, Bob and I are having a very interesting time with domestic duties.

Do you have any idea just how many tasks actually require two hands? Next time you're in the restroom, just try tearing off a piece of TP with one hand. And take this scene from our home last week: It's 7 a.m. Sitting in front of a mirror, the theme song to "Jaws" playing in my mind, I watch as whirring, swirling blades advance toward my face.

"Six inches! Keep it six inches away! It'll suck my hair up!" (That's me, shrieking). Thus began Bob's career as a professional blow dryer (blow dryerist?). Even though I'm right-handed, and thankfully my injury affects my left shoulder, I taught myself at an early age to blow dry with my left hand. No idea why. But I'm incapable of styling with my right. Turns out, Bob's incapable of styling my hair with either hand, though it was a nice gesture.

Now you know why my hair looks the way it does in our photo. Don't hold it against us.

HE SAID: Swirling blades advancing toward her face? My gosh, you'd think I was wielding a chain saw.

In this column space, Callie and I shared publicly some snippets of our private lives. Usually we wrote about situations we found funny or the differences between a husband's and wife's point of view. She's the cute and talented one, if you recall. And I'm sure our regular readers will agree that I'm the one with all the common sense. But I took another job in St. Louis, and we quit writing for a while.

So here we are back in the same office again, writing the same column. And today, for a special reintroductory special, we're giving you a two-for-one. Painful and funny.

The Bump, as I've come to call it, has taken over our lives. For Callie, it's all about the pain. I feel sorry for her, I really do, although it's generally hard for me to show any sympathy before 10 a.m.

But, even armed with all of my common sense, I am a bit of an idiot sometimes, and I know that's hard for you to imagine. I look at The Bump and wonder, how bad is it really? I mean, is The Bump really preventing Callie from carrying a load of laundry, or does she get some girlie satisfaction out of watching me try to keep up with everything? Keep in mind, these moans are coming from the same person who described a hair dryer as a blade-wielding monstrosity. Am I not to think that my wife also has talent in the field of drama?

But this is what I've learned, because my common sense has told me so: The Bump not only has the power to get me to doubt the severity of my wife's pain. It also has the power to earn me lots and lots of brownie points. The blow-drying thing wasn't that bad. We laughed as I tried to find the proper wiggle technique. And she was frightened as I moved in closer. To me, it was funny. Then again, it wasn't my hair. And it wasn't me who was fending off peril from the deadly, blade-wielding, fiery appliance of death.

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