Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Saturday, October 1—One of the things I had hoped to do after the operation was sit down and write some neat blogs, but it turns out I can’t sit. I can stand or I can lie down but nothing in between. It’s a pain in more ways than one.
            So the surgery was a success, I am told, and all the bad cells—identified variously as lesions, growths or tumors according to various medical people—have been scraped away. I had arrived at the hospital just short of 1 p.m. on Friday and was allowed to go home at 9:30 pm. This was when I realized sitting was difficult.  As the anesthetic wore away way and feeling returned to my nether regions, I discovered that having a catheter taped to and into my body was not the ‘somewhat unpleasant’  sensation promised by the nurse. In a word, it hurts to have a tube going from urethra to bladder.
            Focusing on the happy stuff, I got to watch an episode of Bonanza and noticed that the ideal of feminine beauty has changed quit a bit. The leading actress was a short and plump brunette. Much more attention was focused on the male actors’ make-up than on the women’s. Incidentally, I can now attest that most people are right: with 100 channels to watch there’s nothing worth watching.
            Seven or eight people came by my bed and asked the exact same questions, each time meticulously noting my responses on a chart. An anesthesiologist came to tell me that, should they accidentally break a few teeth while removing the tube in my throat, I would get the hospital’s sincere apology but little else. I was asked several times if I had an allergy to latex, which led to some dark, forbidden visions of nurses cavorting in rubber suits.
            I discovered it’s impossible to do a NYT crossword puzzle while totally supine, even in pencil.
I found that even though truly scared, .I had managed a degree of acceptance that diminished the longer the operation was delayed.
I tried, and failed, to channel Descartes and Sartre (DesSartre?) in a vague attempt to understand why and how I should pray for relief to a Higher Power that saw it fit to fool around with my health in the first place. 
I was immensely grateful for my friends.  You know who you are. Thank you from the bottom of my now healthy bladder. Also, from my heart.
I wondered how, as a recovering addict, I should handle the 30 Vicodan painkillers given me be the doctor. I am deathly afraid of pills as a whole, having spent too many years under their spell.
Having not eaten in 18 hours, I dozed off and dreamed of dancing pancakes in a lake of blueberry syrup.
Sunday, October 2—I thought about the Vicodan again and realized it was really talking to me both in English and in French, and that the message was he same in either language. I asked a friend to them away. I had to battle for that thought, since my first reaction was to take a bunch and sell the remainder on the street, where each dose is worth $10.
I decided anyone prescribing a catheter should be forced to wear one for a week in order to understand what it feels like.  The same thing applies to the makers of the blue paper hospital gowns that leave your butt totally exposed.
Monday, October 3—By now, I have read a number of trash novels, watched Lisa Kudrow’s The Comeback, gorged on football and gotten pretty good at the unpleasant task of changing the bag on the catheter. Have I mentioned that there are two different catheter systems? Yes; there is one that allows me to wander around the house with a plastic bag tied to my leg, and a second one, much larger, for use while I asleep. The latter looks like a whoopee cushion.
The catheter comes out tomorrow. I’ve never been hampered by something like this before and it’s been an interestingly painful experience. I remember many years ago having to wear an IV around the house in order to fight a serious infection, but this is much worse. There’s something innately humiliating about the contraption. It makes me feel ancient and useless. I am also afraid that come tomorrow, the doctor will change his mind and tell me I have to wear the damned thing for another week…
Tuesday, October 4—The catheter was removed. I can sit, type, read. Hallelujah!
I will never, ever, tell or listen to a penis joke again.  Or perhaps I will. After all, I’m now entitled.


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