The Worst Thing About Surgery by Martin Jaeger
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 to know
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. Millie Yes, he is home Hes fine 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 happened?
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 specialist?
His nephew is in town and he wants to borrow my golf clubs.
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.
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