I am a terrible patient. The lovely wife tells me this so it must be so. She says I would try and micro-manage from my death bed. I find this unfair. I just want things the way I want them when I want them. Especially when it comes to my own physical well being which is pretty much all the time.
I bring this up because, yes, I survived knee surgery. Amazing! One moment I was in the operating theatre, the next I was in a comfy bed with an ankle to thigh ace bandage and a Darth Veder-like contraction of black straps and metal brace surrounding my belabored joint.
Dr. Stu had come to visit and because I wasn’t awake to interrupt, had had a nice conversation with the lovely wife. The procedure had gone well and Dr. Stu had taken a “really good tendon” from my hamstring.
I’m known for my tendons.
I vaguely remember getting to the car. I don’t remember the ride home. I vaguely remember the whole family spotting me, gathered in a weaving circle, as I wended my way up the front walk towards the door. I remember telling them I was a whizz on crutches having broken my leg when I was 9 and 12 respectively.
And then teasing them, I tripped and fell.
I was carried to the couch. Give me a few minutes, I said and I’ll go downstairs. I have work to do, people to call, art to create! There’s also tennis to watch. Somewhere in the middle of this, I decided to fall asleep for five hours.
When I awoke, the lovely wife insisted I drink water. The lovely wife is a big proponents of water. She says it flushes the system. I would rather flush my system with beer.
I drank some water. The lovely wife suggested a pain pill. Hah! I said. I am tough, I am already on the mend. I fear no pain. Pain fears me. Unlike water, on this I stand fast.
An hour later, half of it spent whimpering and quivering like a dog trying to pass a tennis ball, I begged her for a pain pill. How about two, I suggested. No, I would have to wait three hours for the second. As with water, the lovely wife is a big proponent of labels.
Gah! What to do? I am not tough. I hate pain. Pain makes me a wimp. Outraged, I called Dr. Stu and got his answering service. Tell him this wasn’t supposed to hurt, I said and I indignantly hung up. In short order, I called my friends, George, Adam and Lucia. They had all gone through knee surgery. They would tell me what to do.
You’re confusing me with George, said Adam.
It didn’t hurt a bit, said George.
They gave me a nerve block that lasted a week, said Lucia.
Where was a nerve block when I needed one?
I quickly called my friend and neighbor and internist, Dr. Colin. Dr. Colin, who is an oenophile and gourmet of note, would know what to do. What wine accompanies percocet, I asked him, certain he would have the properly expensive bottle in his vast cellar and would bring it over post haste because that’s the kind of healer he is.
Percocet is a narcotic, said Dr. Colin sternly, you should be drinking nothing but water.
Gah! Determined now, to wipe out the pain with even a greater pain, I read an Entertainment Tonight that the sweet daughter had quietly put on the reading table for me. George Clooney was breaking up with someone while in Italy. Amazing! Jennifer Aniston had a chin implant! Who knew! Transformers was an A+.
Knee temporarily forgotten, I buried my head in my hands and wept. It was working.
It’s Dr. Stu, said the lovely wife, handing me the phone along with a large glass of water.
How’s it going, Steve, said Dr. Stu, sounding as enthusiastic as usual. Boy, do you have great tendons!
I’m... just a bit uncomfortable.
Loosen the straps and bandage, said Dr. Stu.
I can do that, I said?
Of course. We want you to feel good. Oh - and make sure you drink lots of water.
The lovely wife seemingly having an unending supply, I drank some water. Still hurting, I decided to take refuge, yet again, in sweet slumber.
I loosened the straps and bandage. I took a pain pill, caged a second as back-up and waited for a narcotic euphoria that never came but if it did, came in the form of bad dreams. I slept, fitfully at best
Three hours later, writhing dramatically in pain, I woke with a bladder-busting need to take a leak.
Next: The lovely wife gets her whimpering, naked blob of a husband out of bed, onto his crutches and to the bathroom as he curses water.