Adapted from my Twitter and Facebook feeds and mined from the notebooks. September 14, 2016.
On Wednesday morning, July 27, I went into the hospital for long-needed surgery on my back. The operation appears to have done what I needed it to do, put me back on my feet, but the recovery’s taking a little longer than I expected.
July 27. 7:38 P.M. Apparently I'm alive folks!
July 28. 7:54 A.M. I haven't had coffee it 36 hours! Just ordered a whole pot from the hospital cafe. They say it'll take 45 minutes. That's inhuman!
July 28. 11:00 A.M. Physical therapist came by. Had me take a walk around the hospital floor. Did three laps. Spent the whole time talking about his junior high school age son’s golf game. Apparently the kid’s a phenom.
July 29. 3:42 a.m. The night nurses hate me.
July 29. 8:30 a.m. I'm such a goddamn big baby!
July 29. 7:54 P.M. Feeling much more upbeat tonight. Seems the last person to get the news I was having major surgery was me. Apparently what happened last night was I forgot where I was and tried to make a break for it. But I had a good day and have been up and walking around and they'll probably send me home tomorrow.
The nurses did tape this over my bed though.
July 30. 7:38 A.M. Hey, what's going on here? I'm still in the hospital!
July 30. 2:00 P.M. Cheryl, the day nurse is great. Cheerful, friendly, interested, concerned, encouraging, although her favorite words of encouragement are, “It’s going to get worse before it gets better.”
July 31. 10:50 A.M. Today's medical update: Most important thing, Mrs M showed up early bearing coffee, so clearly she's not holding this invalid thing against me.
Next: I may be sprung today but it's more likely going to be tomorrow because there's equipment that needs to be in place at home beforehand and it probably can't be delivered until tomorrow.
Finally: I still hurt but I'm definitely on the mend. I'm getting around. In fact, I feel best when I'm up and walking, so the danger is I'll wear myself out doing laps around the floor. Have to learn to pace myself.
July 31. 5:23 P.M. HOME! I'm home! Hospital kicked me out late this afternoon. And it's all legal and everything! No one's coming after me to drag me back! So we're celebrating tonight with pie!
August 1. 8:12 A.M. Hey! Where are the nurses to make a fuss over me? Why hasn't room service sent up my coffee yet? It's almost like I'm not in the hospital anymore!
August 2. Valium now or Valium in an hour?
August 3. Today's interesting medical fact: you aren't in a condition to drive when you're doped up on percocet and valium. Somebody should have warned me ahead of time so I could have made plans.
August 4. Today's planned two steps on the road to recovery: beginning the switch from Percocet to Tylenol and...shaving!
August 5. Beautiful morning here. How is it by you? Been out for a walk yet? I have. Yup. All the way up to the corner and back. Mrs M could hardly keep up. Gonna do it again in a little while. If I get up to speed, I might just keep walking until I reach Cape Cod.
August 6. 8:26 P.M. Well, today was just no darn fun.
August 7. 1:02 P.M. The Mannion guys and Mrs M have gone off to the movies. I don't mind being left behind. Sitting for two hours in the theater would probably be torture. So I'm here alone and ready to party! Of course, shape I'm in, a party means taking a Valium and a four hour nap. But still...wild man!
August 7. 10:27 P.M. Going through my Twitter and Facebook timelines and liking just about every post. I think this is because there's simply lots going on out there to like and not because I overdid it on the painkillers.
August 8. 9:48 A.M. Took a walk all by myself just now. Just me and my walker all the way up to the corner and back. Felt like a real hero. Now I feel like a nap.
August 10. 9:13 A.M. Just got back from dropping Mrs M off at the bus depot. Later, I'll be taking Oliver to work. Yep. I can drive. I've quit taking the Percocet and Valium so if a cop stops me I'll pass the drug tests. So I'm mobile! Where should I go?
August 12. 8:26 A.M. First extended drive. 45 minute round trip taking Oliver up to work and...A bear! A bear! We saw a bear in the road!
August 13. 12 P.M. I was a goddamn superhero yesterday. And I'm paying for it today. So I think I've earned the right be a goddamn big baby for the rest of the afternoon.
August 13. 7:20 P.M. Laughter isn't the best medicine. Percocet is. But laughter's a close second, followed by pizza. Which is why tonight is Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and pizza night here in Mannionville!
August 15. 8:58 A.M. All right. This recovery business has gone on long enough. The operation was two and a half weeks ago. I've been home from the hospital for two weeks. It's time for me to be all better and to get back to work busting broncos and fighting crime.
August 15. 10:43 P.M. Side-effect of Percocet they don't warn you about: an uncontrollable urge to whistle. I've been whistling "Don't Fence Me In" non-stop for the last half hour. My family hates me.
August 16. 12:30 P.M. This morning I was at the surgeon's for my first post-op follow up. Folks there were pleased with my progress. But to help the healing I was fitted with a "bone growth stimulator." I'm not sure how it works but the way it was explained to me sounded very scientific.
It *sounded* scientific but how would I know? For all I understood it, they might have been outfitting me with a magic wand.
At any rate, I'm supposed to belt the thing on and wear it for two hours every day. And, said the tech, at the end of six weeks...PRESTO!
My response to this news was a stoical, "SIX MORE WEEKS? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?"
I don't think I'm very good at this stoicism thing.
August 19. 9:00 A.M. Took a walk along the riverfront this morning and saw a Trump voter suffering from real economic anxiety.
August 20. The Mannion guys have been taking real good care of me, leading to the question, Who’s carrying who these days?
August 21. 10:19 P.M. Ok. I need to be all better in the morning so that's what I'm going to be. No more malingering.
August 24. 8:45 P.M. Being a good patient and wearing my bone growth stimulator which requires me to sit still for 2 hrs doing nothing. So basically it's like being sent for an adult time-out.
August 29. 10:07 A.M. Sears sent me an email this morning asking if I need help with my "appliance repair." They mean fixing our washing machine which I bought a new part for from them just before I went into the hospital. I do need the help. It's just a matter of putting in the part but I can't do that myself because of the bending, lifting, and twisting involved. And I was warned by my doctor. NO BLT! (That's bending, lifting, and twisting. You probably figured that out.) But if this morning's an indication, I'll be able to do it.
I DID YARD WORK!
Nothing heavy. Just some weeding and hedge trimming. Very little BLT. But I was on my feet and out moving about for a good 20 minutes with a minimum of pain and without collapsing.
I would still be at it, in fact, if it wasn't so hot and humid.
So, thanks anyway, Sears, but I think I got this.
September 9. 12:44 P.M. Ok, I think I’ve milked this recovery business for all the pity and attention it’s worth. When my surgeon and set things up back in May, he warned me that the recovery could take up to six weeks and I laughed a cavalier’s laugh. Two, maybe three weeks tops, I promised myself. It’s now been six weeks and two days. So I must be recovered. And actually I am feeling much better. But I’m also tired of feeling sorry for myself. And I’m feeling guilty about it too. It’s not just that I am feeling better enough that any complaints I still have sound to me like whining. And it’s not just that as we’ve been so sadly reminded by Father Blonde’s death that there are worse things or that I know there are people who’ve gone through more intensive surgeries and suffered longer and more difficult recoveries or that there are even more people with illnesses and conditions that no surgery can fix. While I was in the hospital, the daughter of some friends of ours, a little girl fifteen months old, went into the hospital too. She was being treated for leukemia. She’s now down in New York City at Sloan-Kettering undergoing a second round of treatment. Reports are she’s bearing it all with cheerfulness and patience. She’s a little heroine and an inspiration and object lesson to whiny and self-pitying adults like me to shut up.
September 14. 10:30 A.M. Back at B&N for the first time in the seven weeks since the surgery and my favorite barista remembered my Membership number!
Chewie, we're home!