I’m scheduled to get a new hip joint today around noon, which in hospital patient time means “whenever we get you in”. 1010 (AM) is an ideal check-in time for a not-so-very-minor operation, early in the long day but still plenty of time to drink tea or coffee (black), water or, if I’d remembered, clear apple juice.
Time enough to move those items I’ll need for the next six weeks of convalescence, first with a walker-new to me, and then more walkin’ wid a limp, something I’m quite used to. Then maybe, just maybe, not walkin’ wid a limp and walking with no pain. In the words of…”we’ll see”.
Because just like I’ve learned that a paleo diet does not cure disease, I know a new hip joint won’t fix my other musculoskeletal disorders. But it’s a good start, and like giving chicken soup to the dead, “it can’t hoit”.
Ten more minutes and I drink the pre-surgical high-carb drink in my fridge. Good, because although I’m used to morning fasting, I just smoked a water pipe of Gorilla Glue strain cannabis and now I’m really hungry for some reason.
The drink is my last pre-op instruction other than brush my teeth and show up at Kaiser Eureka Road, closest to me, with Kaiser card and photo ID. The whole procedure will cost me $10 for my patient copay as part of my union HMO insurance.
I want to thank the voters of the USA for allowing strong unions for working people back in the pre-Reagan GOP era. What the hell happened to you? I guess the rich people happened to us all. And took it all.
0745, Clearfast Nutrition Drink time. Not bad, tastes like Gatorade (you thought I was going to say chicken?). Now I’ve got to finish it in 15 minutes. Excuse me while I drink this concoction of calories, fat, sodium, potassium, carbohydrates, sugars, protein, l-citruline, vitamin A, selenium and zink. Mud in your eye.
To get ready I quit drinking a week and a half ago and bought a vaporizer to cut cannabis use, and its coughing. Of course I fell off the vapor wagon this morning because vaporizers are the methadone of pot use. But as alcoholics say, “at least I’m not drinking”.
Luckily I’m a seasoned minor surgery patient, minor surgery being jocularly defined as surgery done on someone else. Last time was ‘hammer toe’, previously I had procedures for ‘trigger finger’, cyst, carpal tunnel, skin cancer and the dreaded mogo-on-the-a-go-go. Well, not the last one.
Here’s how it goes. Wearing comfy PJs you wander around the hospital bureaucracy checking in and answering 500 times “Tod Germanica, right hip”, “Tod Germanica, right hip”, “Tod Germanica, right hip”…, with Kaiser card and photo ID. Then you dress in that embarrassing backless hospital gown, convict slippers and food service hairnet.
But you won’t care after that little needle stick in elbow or back of hand, with the saline drip and the secret sauce that will make you not care and not remember a damn thing about the violence being done on you. Which is a good thing.
You wake like the man who fell to earth but you won’t feel too bad, that comes a day or so later. And that’s what the Percocet is for. OTOH my right hip joint has been sliding like a strike-slip fault trending toward subduction for years, and that bone-deep ache will be gone forever in that hip joint.
So I can deduct 2 lbs for the new joint, which looks just like one from a Terminator. And never no airport metal detectors for me henceforth. So I’m hopeful these are my last hours walking like Doyle Lonnegan and Richard III.
And as Patrick Swasey said, “pain don’t hurt.” Yours in hopeful distraction. The Patient
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