My dad had hip replacement surgery today. In his younger years he was an award-winning athlete, excelling in gymnastics, track and football. He now spends his days as a top official calling the shots at events like the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, which requires hustling up and down the field with a measure of speed. For years he fought having the surgery but at 79 years of age it was kind of inevitable.
Jonas is a Nupe, a man's man and like many coaches he is possessed of a natural ease and talent for attracting people and inspiring loyalty which is particularly handy especially when lying on your back in the intensive care unit of a hospital.
A parent's surgery is always scary; thankfully an episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills featured Lisa Vanderpump's husband Ken going through a hip replacement operation. Ken even pulled his pants down to reveal his horizontal scar so I felt that I had a heads up on the procedure. (Thank you Bravo TV). But nothing really prepares you for the awful gut-wrenching blast of emotion which accompanies the relinquishing of a loved one to the care of people you don't know.
The hospital process began at 5:45 a.m. which I'm told is normal; it allows for prep time of intake forms and surgery. Patient status is now computerized and posted on a wall-mounted monitor that resembles the flight status board at airports. Presumably this prevents the waiting room hospital personnel from being driven crazy by anxious relatives wondering about the results of their loved ones.
My mom, sister and I finally got to see my dad around 10 o'clock that morning. He was still in ICU sleeping heavily with his legs immobilized to ensure that no injury would occur from inadvertently moving the wrong way. My sister who is a registered dietician is already plotting his weight loss home regimen. No post-operation Krispy Kremes will be happening on her watch!
Being together in hospitals tends to bring out intense emotions. Everything is illuminated. Perhaps it's the proximity to our inevitable mortality that causes conversations to become more intimate which is never a bad thing.
I don't live that far away from the hospital which will allow me to stop in before and after work each day to check on his progress. I actually look forward to the time I will spend alone with my Dad. It's such a rare commodity. And a blessing as well.