As most of you are aware, a couple of weeks ago, I had a left hip replacement. Of course, recovery and rehab have kept me out of touch with all of you and for that I am sorry. However, I would like to give you some idea of how everything went. Rather than a long, tedious recitation, sure to bore you, I thought maybe a chronological list of events would be shorter and more interesting.
Tuesday, July 17th:
4:45am: I grudgingly awaken to be at hospital by 6:00am.
4:50am: I get in the shower and groggily try to follow the special hospital instructions for the “morning of the surgery” shower. Regular soap for face and private parts, a medical soap for the rest of the body. Regular washcloth for first part, hospital issue washcloth for the second part. I’m totally confused but then so are the germs, I guess. Maybe that’s the idea.
5:45am: I reluctantly leave the house. I promise Patty that I will repair the finger nail scratch marks I left on the door jamb as she “eased” me out.
6:05am: I hobble reluctantly into hospital and I am immediately put in room with several other masochists who, in a sad moment of pain and weakness, agreed to lend out their bodies to be mutilated by an almost total stranger.
6:25am: My name is finally called and I am escorted into a pre-op ready room with a sign above it saying “Abandon ye now all hopes of modesty, all who enter within.”
6:30am – 7:00am: Vigorous efforts are made to return my body to its womb-like state, via scrubbing, washing and disinfecting. Now void of any evidence of earlier contact with the outside world, I am considered “prepped.” I’m given an IV solution to make me more relaxed. I counter by spouting my litany of corny doctor/surgery jokes to pre-op nurse, who diplomatically tells me that even after hearing them for the 20,000th time, they are still hilarious.
7:00am – 8:00am: A conga line of new strangers enters the room, giving me their title and what part they will play in the surgery. I ask the head surgical nurse if they are running a “two-fer Tuesday” special and can I get the second hip replaced at half price. She doesn’t even smile and mumbles something about her poor career choice. Next, the anesthesiologist runs down a list of rare, but possible, side effects from a epidural block plus sedation, including paralysis, headaches, infection and even death. I agree to the procedure, but remind her my family knows where her family lives and how “payback is hell.” I notice that each time another medical person comes in to greet me, they ask me why I am here. I respond “why, isn’t this the place where sick people come for operations?” I finally tumble that they are just trying to verify which hip I am supposed to get replaced.
8:00am: Having reached a consensus that it is, indeed, the left hip, they begin to wheel me out and down toward the operating rooms.
8:02am: I assure head nurse that as soon as I repair the finger nail marks on the door jambs at home, I will be back to fix the ones I left in pre-op.
8:05am: I arrive in a massive operating room where I look around for evidence of the saws and drills, but alas, they have been deviously hidden from my view.
8:07am: I am asked to sit up on the edge of my bed. A young intern walks up to me and hugs me. He tells me is steadying me while they work on the epidural block in the back. He’s really hugging me tight now and just as I begin to ask him if he thinks our age difference will be a deal-breaker down the road, my lights go out.