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December 27, 2014

The surgery went as well as getting one’s ass cut open can go.  Jude and I showed up at 10 a.m. to find out that I would be the last operation of the day before the doctors and staff started their Christmas.  I looked around nervously for signs of early celebration, like empty booze bottles near a punch bowl.

The waiting room had a TV with a decent cable menu.  We found a marathon of Community Christmas episodes.  This witty NBC comedy was recently cancelled and is supposed to resurface on Yahoo! Screen next year.  Check it out.

Anyhoo, about 1 p.m. I was wheeled into O.R. and met my doctor’s surgical team.  The anaethesiologist said he would start me with a spinal but I had the option of oblivion available.  I asked the nurses what music the doctor usually played, hoping he would crank some Led Zeppelin.  They doubted that he had any classic rock.  He usually plays an eclectic mix, one informed me.  In fact, another said, could you mention something about that because we really don’t like it.  I told them I’d see what I could do.

Soon it was showtime.  I had intended to stay awake in hopes of hearing some M*A*S*H – level banter.  But the talk was all technical and perfunctory, and soon I felt like the woman in the hospital in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.  She was there to give birth, barely visible amongst all the equipment, including the machine that goes “Bing!”

Also, I was starting to feel overwhelmed by all the stimulation.  So I asked the gas passer to put me under.  “It’ll be a few minutes,” he told me.  As I faded, I said “Tell Doctor Deke it’s because of the music he’s playing.”  The staff laughed.  The last thing I heard was Deke saying “I’m going to make the incision bigger.”  I hoped he was joking.

I awoke two hours later in the recovery room.  Jude and her beautiful face were looking down on me.  Still groggy, I briefly entertained the thought that she was an angel and things hadn’t gone quite as well as I’d anticipated.  I was out of there by 3:30 p.m.  I assured Jude I was fine and urged her to try to catch the next ferry.  It would be dark soon; and, even though we had made arrangements with our friend Lee to put up our chickens, I thought it best to be cautious.

As it turned out, Lee had not put them up due to his deathly sick dog.  Six of them were already in the coop.  Two were MIA.  Jude fed Slinkee, our hen-killer, and Pal, our neighbour’s dog we are watching, then enlisted their help in finding the absent fowl.  Jude found one inside the garden.  Pal found one in a nearby patch of Chinese knot-weed.  He barked and sat down next to it.  Slinkee, whom Jude has trained out of her sport-killing, fought off her instincts and cleared out of the area.

Meanwhile, I was doing fine at the hospital until the night nurse told me she needed to empty my uncooperative bladder.  So instead of Santa visiting me in the wee hours of Christmas morning, I was gifted with a tube inserted up my candy cane.  I wouldn’t have minded it so much if the sandpaper coating had first been removed.  But it worked, and one of the requirements for dismissal from the hospital is competent urination.

Jude, who was all I really wanted for Christmas, showed up mid-morning after letting out the chickens.  My roommate, who had the same surgery just hours before me, was released.  That gave me hope.  Lunch arrived.  I was hoping for something special for the holiday.  No way.  It was a cabbage roll.  I’m of the mind that if pure evil actually does exist in the world, it’s cabbage.  However, Jude showed me that if I could stand to peel away the cabbage, some sort of meat or meat-like product was under it.  That and the short-bread cookies saved the day.

After lunch, the charge nurse said that, due to my acceptable level of pain management, adequate transfers and admirable peeing, I could go home.  I was out of there about 25 hours after I went under the knife.  I returned home to a wonderful holiday meal of a farm-fresh omelette and the care of the world’s hottest nurse.

There’s been some ups and downs, but I’d like to think that the worst is behind me.  If Doctor Deke wasn’t kidding about enlarging the incision, that might be literally true.  Then, again, maybe he cut it like a smiley face or a peace sign.

Thank you for all your well wishes.  And, Inveterate Teacher, thank you extra for the specialized condolence.  You are wise and witty.

  1. December 27, 2014 2:35 pm

    i would think due to the holiday the scar would be in the shape of a candy cane or christmas tree.. if you (or the dr) are religious..maybe a cross. or the star.. so many options.. hope you heal well and quickly.

    • December 30, 2014 12:07 pm

      I suppose if Doctor Deke was really creative, he could have fashioned the scar into a nativity scene. Turns out, he may not have been kidding about making the incision larger. He told Jude and I that it would be about two inches long, but it’s actually about seven. That’s fine with me. I like scars. They’re like extreme souvenirs to me.

  2. goatbarnwitch permalink
    December 27, 2014 3:38 pm

    Speedy healing to you. Amazing quick return home which sounds positive

    • December 30, 2014 12:08 pm

      Thank you. It has been all positive since I got back to the farm.

  3. December 27, 2014 6:42 pm

    I am happy that you are back home with the chickens & blueberries & whatnot. It sounds as though you will heal quickly & well. I’m just a little concerned about that invertebrate teacher you mentioned. I never figured you as one to hang out with spineless critters. Take care & follow your hot nurse’s orders.

    • December 30, 2014 12:13 pm

      Inveterate/invertebrate Teacher has taught me volumes about courage and has been my moral compass at times when I was truly lost. Thanks to her I know the difference between spinelessness and flexibility. You’d love her. She’s illuminated the life of everyone she’s met.

      • Inveterate Teacher permalink
        December 31, 2014 8:26 pm

        Can’t think of a better way to start the new year than savoring your words here. I do love you muchly Perkins. And then some.

      • January 1, 2015 12:54 pm

        Right back at ya, IT.

  4. Anonymous permalink
    December 28, 2014 6:03 am

    Amazing recovery so far I can’t get over how well these surgeries go now having graduated from nursing in 1966. Take it easy though don’t push too fast.

    • December 30, 2014 12:16 pm

      Believe me, I won’t push it. The advances in this type of surgery are amazing and fast-changing. If I’d had the operation done at St. Joe’s in Comox instead of Campbell River, I would have had to stay off my feet for six weeks.

  5. Inveterate Teacher permalink
    December 29, 2014 8:18 am

    Invertebrate teacher here, spine intact, specialized condolences continuing and continuing and continuing and…. So good to hear from Titanium (?) Man.

    • December 30, 2014 12:20 pm

      Yes, titanium, which I thought was something like aluminum. But it’s heavy and dense like steel, which is good because one of the pairs of sweatpants we bought for my convalescence has the Superman logo on it.

  6. Brown Brother permalink
    December 31, 2014 10:43 am

    Glad to hear all went as well as could be expected. I have always enjoyed your writing style, humorous but graphic, with enough detail that I had to check for a scar on my rump!
    Hope you are up and around soon, splitting wood and chasing chickens pain free!!

    • January 1, 2015 12:53 pm

      It may be awhile before I can bend down to pick up one of the girls, but at our New Year’s Eve party I was getting around with just a cane (and some Kahlua). We hope the new year finds you up here, BB.

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