An Old Hipster


One fine morning last November when I went to get out of bed, I had a pain in my left hip so intense it made me curse in fifteen different languages. The medical community loves to ask what level your pain is on a scale of 1 to 10. Mine required a calculator and a degree in differential equations.  I tried everything to reduce the pain – sitting, lying down, head stand, horseback, Yahtzee, you name it. Nothing worked. That is until I bent over to pick up an eyeball that had popped out by my screaming. Suddenly the pain disappeared. For the next two weeks until I saw my doctor, I spent night and day looking like a carpet inspector with a vision problem. He told me he thought it was bursitis and stabbed me a dozen times with needles full of steroids. It didn’t take the pain away, but I did turn into the Hulk for about three days. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen the Hulk bent over crying like an old Jewish woman.

When I didn’t get better (the doctor very well knew it, too, because I called every 3 minutes to update him) I had to get a CAT Scan. I never saw any cats, but was told I had a condition called Avascular Necrosis. The length of the name itself made me poop my pants in fear, and after they cleaned me up they explained that the head of both my femurs were crumbling and that I would need total hip replacements, one at a time. Well, I used to work in an Operating Room twenty-five years ago, and I knew what the heck that was. Orthopedic Doctors are the really big, bulked up guys that walk around with chain saws and mallets. The mallets are for anesthesia. A total hip replacement is this: one of these behemoths come in, knock you out with their mallet, use the chain saw to cut your hip open, pop your leg out of joint, knock you out again because that last step usually drags you out of unconsciousness and you immediately confess to every sin and give up State secrets, saw the head of your femur off, and then drive a stake into the bloody stump of your femur with the mallet and pop the leg back into place, leaving the nurses to sew you up and call in the priest for last rites. So I knew what I was facing and it didn’t faze me a bit, because I’ve been married four times and NOTHING is worse than that.

I was scheduled for surgery. This excited me. Surgeries always do, because it gives me an opportunity to sleep, plus they give you awesome drugs afterwards. The operation itself was uneventful because I don’t remember a thing about it. I’m sure my brain was blogging about it in all caps, but it won’t give me it’s website address. Reminds me of an eye surgery I had about thirty years ago. They knocked me out for that one, too, but you know full good and well during the whole procedure the eyeball was showing the brain what was happening. I don’t remember anything, thanks to the anesthesia, but ever since then I tend to freak out whenever someone tries to poke me in the eyeball with a needle. I think it’s a repressed memory.

The worst part of the whole experience was the first five days after surgery. I was flat on my back, and my whole life revolved around what I could reach. Let’s not even talk about the horrors of using a urinal. All I have to say is that the urinal manufacturer really should consider making some for left-handed people. Thank GOD for Handi-Wipes. Once they had me captive, the doctor told me that I would be kept at the hospital until I had a bowel movement. Great. They had pumped me full of anesthesia which, among other things, acts like a roofie to the bowels. They also had me hooked up to a morphine pump, which renders the bowels comatose. It looked like I wasn’t going anywhere for the next twenty years. On Day 4 I determined that if my bowels didn’t move on their own, I’d have to take matters into my own hands. Those of you who know my history with feces get the picture. The rest of you don’t want to know the details. Trust me. My only problem was that I was flat on my back, and the nurse said I had to use a bedpan. Whoopie. I knew that once I kick started my bowels there wouldn’t be room enough for a mere mortal bedpan. I would in effect be forced to create a huge poop pancake. Once I relayed this information to the nurse, she called in a couple of goons who airlifted me to a toilet, and there I stayed a couple more days. Hey, no one said manual stimulation was easy.

Ultimately I did pass the excretion obligation, and after they hosed me down, shipped me off to rehab where I not only recovered use of my leg, but earned a thirty day chip. Now I’m at home, and the only time I use my cane is when I’m soliciting sympathy. The doc has called wanting to hack on my other hip, but I think I’ll wait until it rots off – or until the pain pills run out. Just to be safe, though, I’ve replaced all my doors and windows with half inch steel. There isn’t a chainsaw in the world that can cut through that.

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