I can't really say there's anything stranger or less understandable than having your surgeon approach you minutes after you've woken up in the recovery room to tell you exactly what he just did to your completely immobilized naked body. Somewhere in that fever dream called post-op, you hear the words, "It was much worse than expected. We had to do three surgeries instead of the one we originally intended for. Your meniscus was shredded to bits, we replaced your torn tendon and then we removed that neuroma, which, by the way, was pretty huge. I've got photos of everything. I'll show you. So, there you go. You just had three surgeries, Dori. You're bound to be hurting for a while."
Listening to someone deliver important post-surgical information to you while waking up for the first time since being sedated is akin to listening to vital info being given to you as you receive that first IV full of anesthesia: it goes quickly into the void of weird memories that you will never be sure are real or not.
He might have said, "Dori. We had to put your spleen on the outside of your body for this particular procedure. It's going to work in tandem with the cadaver foot we had to graft on to your eye socket. Oh, and you've got 200,000 metal staples in an infinity formation that we put on your back, just to cover bases." All I knew is that I woke up hours after the first info session wondering how many surgeries I'd just endured, what my name was and how many weeks had I actually spent in a coma in an underground lab, somewhere in Austria.
And what do you know? There was no cadaver involved, nor had I been brain dead for long enough to make a proper coma joke seem even slightly humorous. In fact, as reality had it, I had only checked in that morning and now I was being told, "Time to go, old chap." Well, without the old chap part.
After my ex-husband did the thing that ex-husbands rarely jump at the chance to do -- help me pull my underpants down to pee while crack-drunk and nauseous on Propofol -- I was guided to the exit and ushered home. Cheers to the best ex-husband a girl could ever divorce. Somebody buy that man a good stiff drink so that he may forget the dirty deed he'd just done dirt cheap.
Seldom do I give any kind of pain the comparison of childbirth, but there really is something to say for having a hole drilled through one's knee bone. After puking lemonade into a gray, kidney-shaped bedpan for my daughter to dutifully eliminate for me, it occurred to me that the pain I was presently experiencing might possibly be due to the octuplets I imagined myself birthing through my knee at that very moment. And by the look on my daughter's face as she balanced the filled-to-the-brim bedpan of things no one should ever have to see, apparently she was sharing in the joyous moment.
As the days passed I learned how to overcompensate for my hurty knee in ways that will no doubt leave me looking like Baryshnikov meets The Blob. On one side, I'm so built up and burly from all the crutching and balancing that I'm sure if I had a walnut, I could crack it between my mighty butt cheeks. However, that would take two ballet butt cheeks and as I've mentioned, only half of me is Mikhail. The other half is similar to what you might imagine belongs in the centerfold spread of a magazine that could be called, "Atrophy Today."
On the very happy side, I really got to see some of humanity's finest come to my aid. I had friends from all over offer their services. Maritza cooked for me and brought me everything I needed. Ray was there to do chores for me and pick up groceries. Queen Carol came by to make sure I could take my first shower knowing that she'd be in the next room, just in case of an emergency. Linda wrote me constantly, letting me know that she was thinking about me 24/7. My kid, Alex, was an absolute pro -- and patient too. One woman even thought to send a personal assistant to help me make it through the weekend. I declined her incredibly generous offer, but I will never forget how she came through for me like that, so selflessly.
I received cards, letters and phone calls. My mom did the mother thing and it was well appreciated. Everybody's been great. And my knee, well, she's still all yellow and green and whatever you might call that color that combines blegh with eww. I'm still wearing a brace and hobbling around with crutches. But, all in all, it's been a good learning experience.
I do have one concern though. I have these three suture patches that cover skin that will not see the light of day until the end of August. Last night I shaved my morbid looking leg, and even though I'm ranking a ten on the smooth legged zombie charts, how hairy are those patches going to be after the strips are removed? What the heck is that going to look like?
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