What, you think it’s easy coming back from shoulder surgery? Like the operation was on a Monday and I should be writing on Tuesday? Give me a break. I hadn’t had greater readership on Wednesday since the first time I said “fuck” in an article…geez, what a bunch of sickos!
It should be noted that since I’m having some problems with a couple of the kids right now, I decided that I would spend a bit of their inheritance by treating myself to and from the hospital. I hired a livery service to escort me in style…and style it was; bottles of water; snacks, and drivers in little black-visored caps. Oh, man, I pulled up at the entrance to the surgical center and all eyes were staring at the tinted glass? You know the drill: “Ooh, is that someone famous? A movie star perhaps? Certainly, a celebrity of some kind.” Then I climb out in my ratty shorts and a big old PMC shirt, and I could feel the disappointment in the crowd. Perhaps if I had worn dark glasses and a baseball cap pulled down just above my eyes, but, you know, 20/20 hindsight and all that nonsense; I just wanted to get in and get it over with.
Anyway, I guess from the surgeon’s point of view, all went well; from my point of view, I’ve known several days that were quite a bit better. Don’t get me wrong; everyone was very solicitous and smiling. One nurse – not attending me – came by and said, “I know you,” and we recalled another time I was in pre-op and she had been my nurse. She remembered that my name was Dick because that had been her late husband’s name. They called him “Big Dick.” At that point there had already been some “relaxation juice” administered and, I really didn’t want to go there. You never know what’s going to come out of my mouth at the best of times and I just wasn’t going down that road for love or money. My nurse, Kat, was laughing so hard she was shaking, and Suzanne, the widow, was on a rant trying to get me to make a fool of myself. It’s easy enough to do that when I’m fully alert; never mind tempting me when I’m groggy!
While I cannot remember the ride to the operating room – rather like on television when the ceiling tiles and the fluorescent lights are whizzing by – I do remember being asked to roll on to a table in the “OR.” The way my little brain was working, I figured if I got rolling, it was going to take a hell of a lot more than a few nurses and doctors from stopping that train from going right off the track. The analogy I’d use would be, “See that 44-pound curling stone hurtling down the ice. Why don’t you just go out there in your leather-soled shoes and grab the handle.” See ya! After they’d schlepped me onto the table, it was lights out until I woke up an hour or so later feeling better than I had in a long time. One of the drugs used in anesthesia today is Versed. Its principal benefit is one of amnesia; you wake in the recovery room asking, “How did I get here?” Terrific drug!
Going home was even better. The driver was standing by his Cadillac Escalade with a sign that had my name on it, and I was being wheeled to the chair by a perky young volunteer. If that isn’t an ego boost for a 78-year old, old fart, I don’t know what is. And a Cadillac Escalade…you take a freaking elevator just to get into the front seat; hell, you look down on the drivers of those cross-country 18-wheelers! I think we drove over a few Porches’ and never scraped their roofs!
The first day home was great. I had completely forgotten that it takes anesthesia some time to wear off, particularly if you’ve had general anesthesia plus what they lovingly call a “block” in the area on which they are going to operate. I ate drank Pepsi, had some ice cream, and even chowed down some chocolate covered raisins…mmm, good.
Tuesday and Wednesday were spent putting everything I had eaten on Monday evening back…onto the sheets; into the toilet; almost into the toilet; into a waste basket by my bed, and; at one point, all over my shirt. Oy vey, such a mess! I didn’t believe I had eaten quite that much on Monday evening; it felt like a family vomit. Okay, enough of that. Let’s just say that by Sunday, I was back to soda crackers and room-temperature water.
That was a few weeks ago. The memories of the first few days are still very fresh in my mind. I’d like to think that if I need more surgery, I would just ask to be given a bullet on which to bite, but who’s kidding whom? The biggest surprise of all came a week after the surgery. It was during a “follow-up” with the surgeon’s physician assistant. Jokingly, I asked when I could resume my gym workouts…”Today, if you feel like it,” she said. Suffice it to say that it was the following Monday that I went back to doing some cardio, but think about it; one week you’re getting cut, and two weeks later you’re back to a routine; today’s surgical procedures are truly remarkable. It makes one wonder just how far can we go in terms of a) repairing the human body; b) doing it with a minimum of disruption, and; c) doing it without the entire process costing damn near as much as a year’s salary. I can hear it now…two workers discussing lunch and the first one says, “Sorry, can’t make lunch today; having the knees replaced on my lunch hour.” Somehow, I just don’t think I’m gonna be around for that one.