Friday, January 21, 2011

Don't Blink

"But I don't have any anxietaaaaayyahhhhh...."  Drool.  Slobber.  At least I didn't think I had any anxiety.  The anesthesiologist had squeezed a syringe of drool inducing elixir into my IV and I remember being whisked down the hall on my speed racer gurney, feeling the G-forces as we screamed out of turn four and onto the homestretch... and really that's about it.  I never even saw my surgeon and I'm sure that's part of their plan.  I woke from a dreamless state to see people staring expectantly at me and I think I immediately tried to feed the elephants some fish and salsa.  I'm sure I still had drool and confusion all over me.

My doc was already in his next surgery so I didn't get an explanation from him on how it went but I was told what to do and when to do it by the capable staff right before they made a physical therapy appointment for me for the following day.  They wrote all the pertinent info down and stapled it to my hand so I wouldn't lose it and then I climbed stiffly and slowly onto my elephant's majestic howda, wrapped my shabby tattered cape of dignity around me, and lumbered home.

I was happy with how little pain I was feeling, especially since the pain med prescription they gave me turned out to be $330.  The pharmacist was sympathetic, I believe, because of the way she phrased her asking of me if I already had a second mortgage.  "Supposed to be some new formula that doesn't make you sleepy," she smiled, in a sad way, watching as I slid my pinched-in-half pennies off the counter and back into my change purse.  I remembered telling my doc in a pre-op consult that I had to work 3rd shift in a couple of days so he must have prescribed the new stuff thinking it would help me out.  Thanks Doc!  So instead of getting a silo full of generic Vicodin for $14, I didn't get anything.  Which turned out well since the pain associated with the surgery was virtually nil and entirely bearable without any meds at all!  That's what I shouted silently to myself for the first couple of days, anyway.
My leg was swelling nicely by the end of the day and I kept it elevated and covered with an ice pack as instructed.  This was to be my default position for the next week.  You can do a lot of things from this position but after the first day, none of them are comfortable.

The trips to the physical therapist were an adventure of trying to fold my leg into the car (it seems it would have been easier to just fold it forward instead of backward) and sitting on a pilates ball as I tried to balance on my damaged knee while throwing an 8 pound ball into a vertically mounted trampoline and catch it with one hand as it ricocheted back at me at (7 consecutive tour wins+{700c rims (x-56cm center to center)} where x is the speed of light) miles per hour.  My therapist watched closely and I made my first throw under pressure to prove I could hit the infinitesimally small square target in the center of the trampoline and thereby prove that yes, I was a graduate from man school.  I triangulated, guessed, and heaved.  Much to my surprise and to his, I'm sure, the ball began to boing deep into the fabric in the precise center of that tiny square, stretching it farther and farther while in a split second I thought a whole paragraph of something like "I knew I could do it and probably never will again but how do you like them apples!  Chest beating noise.  Tarzan howl.  Et cetera, et cetera."
Everything was in slow motion as the ball came to a stop at maximum fabric and spring tension and as it began to move back towards me out of the deep pocket it had created, I distinctly remember starting to blink.  Then something in my hindbrain screamed in a terrified manner "don't finish that blink!!!" and somehow, startled, I didn't, and I still thank myself for saving myself from the folly of blinking.  In the end I avoided the broken nose but not the scrambling, legs up, indignant tumble induced by trying to catch a rubber cannonball shot out of a nuclear particle accelerator.  I still say the high pitched squeaking noise was my shoes slipping on the rubber mat even though it might have resembled a bleating squeal as I tried to dodge the infernal projectile. 

I'll have more actually useful information later.

Steve Verdell 

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