Sharply at eight o’clock this morning Don’s Taxi collected me in front of the lobby of our apartment residence and whisked me to the Almonte General Hospital for my scheduled inguinal hernia surgery with Dr. Eric Bigelow. There was unquestionably some of that pathetic fallacy business going on as the dismal grey weather and early morning drizzle mirrored my drab infirmary garb and shadowy mood. Last night I hadn’t slept well in spite of having gone to bed after midnight in an effort to reduce myself to slumber and to quell the torment of the upcoming surgery. Although years ago I had endured two umbilical hernias I knew from what I was repeatedly told by medical professionals and others that the inguinal hernia was the more complicated of the two including of course the recovery. That intelligence did nothing to assuage my brooding. As well the surgery inconveniently collided with our planned winter departure only a week hence. The time constraints abounded on all fronts. It was a mere four weeks ago that my adventitious visit to the Emergency Department had pinpointed the cause of my discomfort. Synthesizing the abrupt diagnosis and orchestrating the ineluctable surgery within that condensed interval was incredible fortuity. Yet in spite of the serendipity I proved myself to be a thankless worrywart and succeeded to manufacture a long list of “What Ifs”. The surgical event contaminated everything on the horizon and aroused in me unimaginable complications as I profitlessly contemplated what was to come. My buoyancy for life had been temporarily revoked.
The last thing I recall when lying on the stark operating table encircled by glaring surgical lamps and blue swirls of scrubs was thinking to myself, “When will they begin?” In fact they had finished. The deftly administered sedative exhausted contemporaneously and I was rolled into the recovery room as though the entire experience had been a piddling apostrophe. Before the topical freezing dissipated I was given a handful of pain killers which on my empty stomach kicked in with gratifying speed. I was in rapturous orbit. And within a half hour I was dressed in my comfortable togs and being poured by the doting nurse out of my wheelchair into the awaiting car homeward bound.
Having the surgery behind me was instant and manifest relief! In a tick I regained my erstwhile ambition and momentum! Throughout the remainder of the day (which by now had turned sunny and breezy) I gradually awakened to the improving realization that there was nothing to inhibit our plans. Stability had been restored and we were on our way! I monotonously repeated my gush of thankfulness for the rounding of the circle. My elation was unstoppable!
Lately the history of our endeavours has been marked by challenges and off-setting accomplishments. If there has been any compromise at all it has been one of accommodation only not defeat. Astonishingly every particle of our agenda had dovetailed at the penultimate moment. It would have taxed the mind of a virtuoso to have scripted a better drama! As mawkish as it may sound we have nothing about which to complain and everything to look forward to. We compliment ourselves to mine extraordinary delight and improvement from all that has been sent our way, whether ostensibly good or bad. For example the necessity to lose weight before the surgery has been a decided boost in the right direction. Meanwhile the smallest of pleasures stoke the fires of our earnestness. It would amount to embarrassment to list the so-called victories but such is the charm we’ve wrung from even the most inconsequential undertakings.
In a snapshot of our recent activity this hernia surgery is a watershed moment, a turning point which concluded the last of our medical attendances (and there have been several), an event which has effectively set us adrift. It is the divide between our encumbered past and our freewheeling future. And I don’t mind saying that it has heightened my smugness generally. The myriad of things I have lately acquired in preparation for our winter jaunt – foremost among them a car, a handmade leather bag, transitional spectacles, a windbreaker, button-down shirts, a belt, socks and even smalls – were commensurately infused with that characteristic glow of new stuff, all fresh and polished. The deferred practice of cleaning my jewellery was re-instituted within moments of my return from the hospital. We’d even had our teeth cleaned! We are at last ready to go, standing at the threshold of our tailored adventure to the barrier islands (Tybee Island, Jekyll Island and Amelia Island) along the confederate Atlantic states. We’ll soon be pulling up anchor and setting sail!
Not that I want to end on a sour note but I believe it bears mention that Percocet is the drug from Hell! It staggers me that the bottle containing this drug states “May cause constipation”. May? MAY? How about WILL and YOU WILL FEEL LIKE DEATH! Never in my wildest sickness, not as a child, not after a heavy flu, not even after open-heart surgery have I experienced anything so insidious as Percocet! Be warned! Stay clear of it! Nothing warrants any pain relief it may provide. You are trading with the Devil and the Devil will win! Apart from the constipation issue it has been a nightmare to withdraw from even after 48 hours and having only taken it for 48 hours. The manufacturers are nothing short of drug pushers! Do not expect the pre-operative consultation or any other conversation you may have with either your surgeon or nurses to include anything approaching a warning or preparation for this eventuality. The most you might extract is an ambivalent agreement that “It is quite the drug!“. It is Satan in disguise!