I wanted to make sure I got this down before the pain medication wore off.
Being a member of the lesser sex, particularly when it comes to pain, going into surgery is an aberration. It strikes fear into the heart of men with the power of a tank and the frequency of a ball peen hammer. Men have nothing to fall back on that’s even close to this stuff. Women bear children. Women carry children. Women…let’s just put it this way. They’re tougher than we are. They swim in the superior side of the gene pool, and that’s OK. I get it. Men whine when they have the sniffles. We just don’t do well with things that are a little out of the routine of life, particularly when it involves pain. The whole surgery thing is odd. Men have no experience to help them prepare for it unless you got a piece of glass stuck in your hand and somebody has to pull it out. That’s about it. It’s not like going to the doctor. You’re not getting pills, you’re not pointing to “where it hurts.” You’re actually having your body being sliced through and/or stuck into.
I was having a meniscus repaired in my right knee. And people generally refer to this neither as an “operation” or “surgery”, but rather as a “procedure.” That’s so wrong. In some schools of medical thought, the is a procedure equivalent to getting a mole removed. But it’s on my knee, which is connected to my leg, so it’s a little more than a mole. I am having a skilled surgeon address this procedure, armed with an array with sharp things, after I was “prepped” and being placed under anesthetic, with THREE nurses in attendance, dammit. This sounds to me like a big deal. And I was getting nervous.
Given this state of anxiety, and suspecting that I may finally meet the Almighty in the “Great Hall of Procedures That Have Gone Wrong” in the sky, I texted my wife. As my hands were shaking, I was trying to text, “If I don’t make it, be sure you tell the dog what happened” and “Try to get the best price for my stuff. My underwear alone should command top dollar” before I went under. I didn’t compose the texts, but no matter. She would only text back something back like, “Oh, for christ’s sake…” Obviously, the spiritual nature of her potential texts would have indicated that she was either in prayer or she was too upset to text much more.
Thankfully, I made it through this “quasi-amputation” as I’ve now called it, but was not equipped for the follow up, particularly while under sedation. I was told that these attempts at autonomy while under heavy drugs were “stupid:” Trying to find my way to the car while sedated, constructing an email while sedated, not remembering what I wrote or who I sent the email to while sedated, stuff like that.
And so you know, the word “stupid” has never been spoken on “Sesame Street” in forty eight years. Maybe the person driving the car home from the surgery center would have used a different word had she known that fact, but no matter. I thought I was trying to heroically push through the haze of the post surgery angst and trauma, but that apparently doesn’t count for anything.
Nor does that fact that pain relievers make you constipated, I’m pretty much confined to the “elevated leg” position, I have a cane for TWO WHOLE DAYS to slow my path to the bathroom, and I can’t even call a friend of mine, who could actually help me. He is a renown pulmonary specialist and the Director of the Intensive Care Unit at our local hospital. He knows a lot.
The last time we were at lunch I told him about a random pain I was having Without even looking at me or putting his fork down, he said, “Don’t make me kill you.” Hippocratic oath, my butt.
I am left alone to suffer between threats of death and cries of “stupid” resonating in my heart. Feel free to send sympathy cards.
If you need me, I’ll be trying to gain my mobility to find my way to the bathroom. And given the nature of these pain killers, I could be in there for a while.
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