Its not the anxiety from thinking about it in advance.
Its not the pain.
Its not the recovery.
Its the phone calls afterwards.
We just left the hospitalI was barely alive--I crawled
through the door and collapsed on the couch in the den. The phone rang and my
wife ran for it.
Hello, she said. Marty, Hal is on the line. He
wants to know how youre feeling. He wants to hear all about the surgery.
What shall I tell him?
A few minutes later the phone rang again, I just heard
from Jackie that Marty had surgery. How is he?
Seeking the safety of my bedroom I crawled down the hallway and
plunked myself into bed and covered up.
It may have been four hours--but it seemed like two
minutes--when the door to my bedroom opened.
Its Don. He wants to know how you are.
Tell him I didnt make it.
My wife shut the door, and I retreated under the covers, closing
my eyes. Slumber-land here I come.
About two minutes later, the door opened again. Its
nearly dinner time. You have four messages, and Norm is on the line. He wants
I know. He wants to know the gory details
No he doesnt. He asked me why I didnt pull the
plug on you in the hospital when I had the chance.
Ha, ha, I reply.
I made your favorite dish, my wife said to me as I
struggled into my chair. As soon as I lifted my fork the phone rang.
I dont want to answer it, my wife said,
but I told Sue to call. Shes so busy and I need to pick up the
grandkids for her.
My wife went to pick up the phone. Hello. Oh.
Yes, he is home
no they didnt go
through his pancreas
nor his colon
Let me call you later, we just sat
down to eat
No, and it wasnt hereditary
At the end of a week I was ready to return to the hospital where
I didnt have to answer any questions. I just had to open my mouth for the
thermometer and make my arm available for the blood pressure cup. I didnt
have to tell the same old story about my surgery, and how I felt five minutes
after the surgery, or 20 minutes later or two hours later.
I didnt have to tell anyone the doctors C.V., nor
the prognosis, diagnosis or medication I would be taking.
No e-mails to answer.
No get well cards from people I now had to thank.
No repeating the same boring story.
It seems that people dont realize that talking about the
surgical experience is not a lot of fun. Its painful reliving those
events. The patient is trying to forget and well-meaning friends keep reminding
you of it.
Nearly four weeks later I got a call from a friend.
Marty, Ive been out of town. I just heard. What
I had it by this time
Well, Hank, to tell you the
truth its nothing good. Im waiting for the Pulmonary doctor to
call, so I cant talk too long. I had gone in for a urinary problem, but
when the doctor was inside, he found I had a hernia, and the colon was twisted.
He fixed the urinary problem, but the hernia penetrated through the diaphragm,
making it impossible to untwist the colon. He needed a specialist for the
hernia and colon, so he called for assistance. They couldnt locate either
specialist, but there was a cardiologist and an anesthetist available. They
decided to go ahead since I was open already, and they couldnt close me
up, otherwise I would have gotten gangrene
Look Marty, I want to hear more but Im in the Costco
parking lot. By the way, why are you waiting for a call from a Pulmonary
His nephew is in town and he wants to borrow my golf
This last experience cured me of any desire to have surgery. But
if I have to have any, Im going to sign in under someone elses
name. Let that person get all the get well cards and phone calls.