NORTH ADAMS -- I’ve been struggling on what to write to you about my knee replacement surgery that I had a few weeks ago. Sure, my doctor is a talented surgeon, has a great bedside manner and is the absolute man and cooler than alligator skin cowboy boots. The nurses were all great. Heck, they were giving out opiates, why shouldn’t I fall in love with all of them, but is that really the story?

Yes friends, it’s the new and improved Johnnie Carrier. Still walking with the help of a cane and still wearing those funky white socks they make you wear to prevent blood clots in your legs. Me? I think they look like something Ben Franklin would wear, and let me say that I rock them -- cowgirls love fat calves, but that’s not the story either. The story begins when I came home ... to the wife, the nurse.

I always know that I have a serious medical condition; my wife is nice to me. Got a cold? Toughen up. Stub your toe; rub a little dirt on it. I came home from the hospital bandaged, bruised, and sedated (what a great name for a band) and wondering who was going to be my health care provider. Could it be Dawnzilla or a sweet, care giving individual trained as a skilled nurse who happens to be madly in love with me. (And who wouldn’t be.) And surprise to me it was the latter who picked me up at the hospital.

I know it would have been funnier to have her all mean with all her Germanic tendencies. Since she wasn’t that mean old night nurse, I was scared. I must be dying or my wife has been kidnapped. "Where is my wife and what have you done with her," I thought to myself. She iced me down, fed me, ran here and there for equipment that I need for my recovery. She has been fantastic, cleaning up after me, helping me walk and has been in general, a loving, caring wife.

Of course she promised in sickness and in health on our wedding day, but we all say things on the wedding day that we really don’t mean, (See the obey clause) but I guess my wife did. For all of the mean and nasty truths that I have said in the paper, she has taken it pretty well until she got reminded in the market by one of our friends of how funny that farm wedding article that I wrote months ago. The exact quote was, "The bride radiated, which meant three farm mechanics tried to fix her. When her father gave her away the groom cried. I didn’t even cry at my wedding as my father-in-law loaded up with bird shot and rock salt."

It was an off-handed statement, a joke in the newspaper. I forgot all about it. And so did that loving and caring woman who has been treating me as if I had Kennedy money since I came home from the hospital. But someone had to remind her that I picked on her family at her nephew’s wedding we went to long before my surgery.

So when she came home after talking to a tattletale, it was a new ball game. The loving, caring wife turned into Sgt. Luskin-Carrier (I hate when drill sergeants are hyphenated). She was tough, John Wayne-ish and she took over my PT routine forcing me to confess that I never more speak about her family as we did my stretches. Hopefully when she cools off I’ll be able dance with her again. Thanks Dawn for all of your help! (I know, I’m a suck up.)

Johnnie Carrier is a freelance writer who also says thanks to his doc and his staff. I couldn’t have been in better hands.