It was at six o’clock this morning that I first addressed the new day with any clarity. Not my usual hour of appointment for greeting the dawn (other than as a parenthetical necessity to void my bladder). Nonetheless by remarkable distinction I was already out of bed, showered, shaved and dressed (though pointedly lacking any accompanying scent or pomade). In fifteen minutes I expected to rally with Don’s Taxi at the front of our apartment building. Our destination was the Perth & Smiths Falls Hospital on Cornelius Street, Smiths Falls. I had been told by the hospital staff at our pre-op meeting a week ago to be there this morning at 8:30 am in preparation for my left knee replacement surgery. Dr. Mark Roberts MB BS FRCSC is my surgeon in this matter though I understood the procedure was to be conducted robotically (of which Dr. Roberts is technically the overseer). Hopefully I will be too anaesthetized to have any truck with the delicacies of the subsequent surgical procedure (matters from which traditionally I prefer to distance myself and to abandon to the sole concern of the presiding physician).
After having traveled about 45 minutes by taxi from Almonte to the hospital in Smiths Falls, and having waited in the Emergency waiting room for about an hour, a nurse greeted me by escorting me to the surgical preparation room and commenced the identifiable procedure for intervenous connections, assessment of blood pressure and other preliminaries like repeating my full name (which she made me spell – presumably to test my overall mental state), date of birth, residential address and perhaps most importantly the object (“in your own words” – which I thought was a critical literary mandate) of today’s enterprise. Someone had already inked my left knee with an arrow.
There was only one feature of particular note in this procedure. Dr. Roberts (after the nurses and anesthetist had come and gone) informed me that because of an unanticipated plethora of emergencies at the hospital that morning, all elective day- surgery had been cancelled. With the exception of my own.
I can assure you I didn’t delve into the matter other than noddingly for fear of altering or reversing the decision. From my point of view, this surgery had been booked (as indeed it was) since last October prior to our departure to Key Largo for the winter. I was primed for the event today. So in response to Dr. Roberts’ intelligence I simply muttered an agreement and let it fly. This would not have been the first time I had had elective surgery postponed – and comically the previous occasion (about 35 years ago) involved arthroscopic surgery on my left knee!
As expected the arrival of the anaesthetist in the operation room spelled my imminent departure from the percolating medical commotion. When I awoke after the surgery I was back in the pre-op room, mildly dozing, recovering from what seemed nothing more eventful than a visit upon an uncommonly narrow bed. I was soon able to re-engage in conversation with the nursing staff who were this time devoted to unraveling all that they had previously mastered. What evolved from our shared intimacies was the adulation for life in the country. While the young physiotherapist and his fiancée had been to Italy for a month (up and down the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea); while the daughter of a nurse was on hockey scholarship of about US$80,000 per annum in a prestigious American university; and while another nurse was vitally interested in what I had to tell her about the first female lawyer in the County of Lanark (who just happens to be our own family lawyer), the recurring theme was the endorsement of country living.
At home this evening we enjoyed a superlative home cooked meal! The sun had re-appeared in its full evening glory upon the nearby Mississippi River. There was nothing about the day which did not compel me to be thankful.