Where ‘routine’ = ‘weird’


Next time you think about having gall bladder surgery, consider some advice from one who has recently done that:

Be prepared for one of the weirder experiences of your life.

Maybe it was just me. I was told repeatedly it’s a routine procedure; in my world, the word “routine” translates as “weird.”

The day started out alright, if your version of alright includes arriving at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. “Gall bladder? You’ll be home on your sofa by noon,” said the optimist who checked me in.

There are two responses.

One: “Isn’t it marvelous we live in an age where surgery can be thought of as no big deal?”

Two: “What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks are you talking about? Since when is removing an internal organ considered easy?”

I went with the latter.

My surgery went smoothly, as far as I know. All I remember is lying on the table with a breathing mask on my face and hearing, “Got a lot of belly here.” I was just about to say “I BEG your pardon,” when the lights went out and took my dignity with them.

Dignity: there is no such thing when you are a patient. You’re dressed in thigh-high support hose and a gown that leaves your butt in the breeze. A simple act like going to the bathroom is made into a nightmare by all the wires and tubes leading from a variety of body openings to a cluster of machines. With all that going on, it becomes obvious that dignity is for people who aren’t in the hospital.

It helps to realize that you are in a building full of people whose butts are also in the breeze. Outside you may be King of Digadigadoo, but inside you are just another schmowith your saggy ol’ behind hanging out.

The saving graces are nurses. Having seen countless saggy ol’ behinds, they couldn’t care less. This is comforting. Especially when you are drifting around at low altitude from painkillers.

My nurses were wonderful. I’ve heard horror stories, but I’m going on my experience, which was made as good as possible by Margie, Leslie and Jess. At least, I think those were their names. Painkillers, remember.

Now I am home with a bunch of incisions in my lot of belly, trying to return to my routine. And now it’s noon. Think I’ll go find the sofa. In truth, the surgery was easy, like the lady said. But that doesn’t mean I can’t milk it for a few naps.


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