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We are three adults living in a polyamorous triad family. The content here is intended for an adult audience. If you are not an adult, please leave now.



My post from late last night, reporting the ups, downs, and struggles of our first five days with Tom's left knee replacement, drew this comment from an anonymous who comes to us from Cave Creek, Arizona:

I'm confused. I thought you WANTED to be "His" slave. This post sounds like you are complaining. Please clarify.

OK, then.

It would be pretty easy to assume, based on the use of the CAPS LOCK feature, and the quotation marks around the word "His," that our anonymous Cave Creek denizen is intending to be judgmental, arrogant, and nasty.  However, I am going to work from the kinder assumption that this is a person who is ACTUALLY confused, and simply is not well enough educated in English grammar to realize how their written language comes across.  Here, then, is the clarification requested by "Cave Creek:"

You are correct, Cave Creek.  That post does sound like I was complaining.  There is a very simple reason for that; I was complaining.  I don't know how many total knee replacement patients you have personally cared for in the days immediately following their surgery, but I have been on hand, acting as the support and primary care giver for three of these now:  Tom's first one in 2005, T's in 2010, and this latest one of Tom's which was performed last Friday morning.  

A total knee replacement is a brutal surgery.  Essentially, the orthopedic surgeon amputates the leg, removes the original knee joint, and then hammers a prosthetic into place by driving long spikes into the bones of the leg.  Our orthopedic surgeon is one of the best anywhere, and he uses a minimally-invasive, quad-sparing technique that results in less damage to the surrounding muscles, ligaments, and tissues.  Even with that, the surgical incision is probably a foot long, running from 5-6 inches above the knee cap to about 5-6 inches below it, and closed with staples for that entire length.  There is significant bruising, significant swelling, and stunning pain in the first few weeks.  Although the prosthesis will support weight, the muscles around it are damaged and need time to heal.  A patient in the first weeks of surgical recovery requires assistance for just about everything -- they cannot use the toilet, or roll over, or move their leg even an inch without assistance.  Pain medication helps manage the discomfort but creates a whole host of issues of its own -- sleepiness and lack of balance make it dangerous for these patients to be left alone for even a few minutes.  Their judgement is often impaired significantly.  They suffer from constipation.  There is a very real risk of post-surgical infection.  Anemia is not uncommon.  Pneumonia and blood clots are threats that have to be monitored closely.

Anyone who has had occasion to have a friend or family member spend time in the hospital in recent years knows that even the best hospitals are chronically understaffed.  Nurses and personal care assistants on almost any hospital floor are overworked, caring for more patients than they really reasonably can handle well.  Knowing this, we tend to "augment" hospital care with our own efforts whenever one of us is hospitalized..  T and I stayed at the hospital with Tom throughout His entire time there.  We "slept" in reclining chairs in His hospital room, providing much of His personal care.  Exhausting.

We brought Him home on Sunday afternoon.  Since that time, I have managed about three hours of sleep a night, augmented by brief naps here and there.  I am beyond tired.  

Caring for someone after this kind of surgery is hard, physically demanding work.  He must be assisted to stand up (read almost lifted to His feet) -- from the couch, from the table, from the toilet...  He needs me to pull Him up to a sitting position if He's been lying down -- while simultaneously supporting and moving His affected leg.  He is only today beginning to be able to move it by Himself, and that just a bit.  He needs me to put on His socks and His shoes and His pants.  To do that, I need to sit on the floor -- and I am not as young as I once was.  I am 57 years old.  My old lady bones and joints can make that happen, but it is not graceful or easy -- and getting up is not a cake walk either.  It may surprise you to know that gravity works.  I am stunned at how many items end up on the floor each and every single day... things that inevitably roll under the couch or under the bed or behind the toilet...  And down I go again, on hands and knees, to retrieve whatever it might be that needs to be fetched.  

There are two prescriptions for pain medication.  One is to be given every 4 hours as needed.  The other is dosed on a six hour schedule.  I set the alarm on my phone to make sure I hit those times all day long and all night.  There are visits from the physical therapist, the occupational therapist, and the home health nurse.  I keep that schedule, too; making sure that He is up and dressed and fed and ready to do whatever it is that they need Him to be doing.

He needs good, nutritious meals.  He needs to be reminded and encouraged to eat those meals once they are in front of Him.  He needs clean laundry and clean towels and clean sheets.  

I don't know if I am "His" slave.  I was, but life has brought us through a lot of twists and turns in the last few years.  Maybe that label fits and maybe it doesn't.  If it is, in fact, the descriptor we would choose to identify the role I play in His life, then I do not  believe that it precludes "complaining."  I know lots of self-identified BDSM slaves who serve their partners in various capacities, and I don't know one who never feels overwhelmed, exhausted, burdened, sad, scared, worried, or just plain frustrated.  To choose the path of slavery does not, in my not at all humble opinion, eliminate the normal human reactions.  Slaves feel.  They laugh and they cry. They rejoice when things feel "good" and they complain when things are "hard."  This is not a game.  This is real life.  We are real people.  

Maybe, Cave Creek, you are one of those fabled uber-slaves we sometimes read about.  Maybe you know how to do it "right."  If that is the case, I know there are lots of us out here, working to live this to the best of our abilities.  We might benefit from your expertise and your know-how.  Please.  Do share the URL for your website, so that we can all bask in your superior wisdom.



  1. Stands up and cheers! Your totally right about the "work" involved. Add to it a cranky diabetic and you see what mouse went through too.

    Being a slave, or just simply caring and loving another human sometimes requires extra sacrifes that we need to make. And honestly swan you are awesome...and handling it probably much better than mouse did.

    That Anonymous comment swan is like telling a mom, "well you've always wanted a baby, so why are you complaining about not getting sleep," and you replied with so much more dignity than mouse would have shown.

    Hugs and love to you all!

  2. Completely agree with your analogy mouse. What a horrible and totally unnecessarily stupid comment.

    You sound as if you are doing a great job swan, I am sure Tom agrees and that is what matters!

  3. don't poke the nurse!

  4. I personally can't wait to read this "Cave Creek" commenter's blog - and hear how a "real" slave handles LIFE.

    atta girl swan - you laid out it all out beautifully

  5. Anonymous7:19 PM

    I just went through the TKR patient part in November and it's quite a recovery process. My caregivers worked their bums off and were also tired/cranky/overworked. And rightfully so!

    Kudos to you for being there for him (again). :)

    Caregivers = angels


  6. I have been reading for a while but never commented here before. Good for you for standing up to such a ridiculous comment. This real person was smiling as the post came to end end.

  7. We've been caregivers, we feel your pain. Anybody who's ever cared for loved ones (with or without a D/s or M/s dynamic) knows what you are going through.

    I suggest you take the comment for what it probably was, a random "drive by" from an individual who's neither experienced life nor love, and therefore cannot have any appreciation for what submission and or slavery mean in real life.

    hang in there!

  8. Just every day stuff can cause feelings of being tired, overwhelmed and stressed as a slave. So add in something as intensive as being a care person for someone who had surgery and I think it is completely NORMAL for any person slave or not to be very tired and upset after such an experience. It is life and we do what we have to but doesn't mean we don't struggle and need to vent. We are human and I think people tend to forget that at times.


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