Wednesday, July 21, 2010


It starts with a subtle realization that you can’t walk or run as far as you used to. You make excuses, “I’m not a kid anymore,” or “I’m not in such a big hurry.” And then, one day, your wife asks you to take a long walk on the beach.

OK, I’ve always hated long walks on the beach for two reasons:
  1. The beach is the same a mile from where I am now.

  2. Long walks on the beach only sound romantic; real romance is inside you, a very short walk if you know where you’re going.
But when my wife asked me for a long walk on the beach about 3 years ago, I had to discard all of my curmudgeon arguments. I turned her down because I realized my knees couldn’t take it. The knees have gotten progressively worse, a steady decline that most recently found me following my wife around Costco in one of those electric shopping carts. It wasn’t very romantic.

So last Thursday, I found myself lying on a hospital gurney in the surgical prep area of major local hospital. Tubes and wires stuck into me everywhere, and a petite young woman was busily shaving my legs in preparation for knee replacement surgery. I have lots of stories about this experience. Not all of them will be funny. Some are icky.

This one starts just a little icky.

After my legs had been completely shaved, I asked the nurse if it was too late for me to attempt a bowel movement. I hadn’t had my normal morning cup of coffee, because I had been forbidden to eat or drink anything for the last 7 hours. This had thrown me off schedule, and despite my best efforts, I was unsuccessful. I would remain unsuccessful for six days, because anesthesia and pain medication can result in miserable constipation.

Returning in defeat to the gurney, I was visited by my surgeon. About 12 years ago, when my daughter was in first grade, we met a lot of parents, some of whom were outside of our social strata. But we socialized with them anyway, because our kids liked each other, resulting in lots of birthday parties and other get-togethers. My surgeon was one of those parents. I don’t like him, personally – but he’s the best, so I hired him.

He walked away making some notes, and another man about the same age approached, dressed in surgical scrubs. He stepped forward and introduced himself as my anesthesiologist. I suddenly realized that he was the father of yet another of my daughter’s first-grade friends. I’ve been to his house and enjoyed his beer. It was a strange moment as we sheepishly caught up. Later, as my wife entered the building to join me, she ran into an oncologist who was the father of still another of my daughter’s first-grade friends.

Anyway, that’s all I remember until I woke up in recovery 3 hours later, with throbbing knees, a sore throat and a tube coming out of my penis.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Im getting woozy just reading this
You know who!