I celebrated St. Paddy’s Day by going under the knife.
Here’s my story, in five “acts.”
1. Sans a proper functioning Achilles, our hero is bested by Nurse Ratchet
Having survived Admitting, I’m whisked into a holding room of sorts where a medical assistant with the bed-side manner and dental verisimilitude of a barracuda enters the room. She’s pushing a computer on wheels.
“Let me get your temperature,” she barks. “Are you taking any blood thinners? Do you have any metal in your head?”
The hair on her scalp seems to tighten with each successive question. Her bulging eyes grow more 3-dimensional with every key-stroke.
“Put this cap and gown on… be sure to take off everything. Be under the covers when I get back!”
Seconds later, my eyes drift over to a pair of wadded up blue booties on the tray table.
Clearly she doesn’t want me to…
Quicker than I can recite a dirty limerick, Nurse Ratchet is all over me like a duck on a June bug.
“I thought I told you to strip!”
I tell her in all my hospital experience, I’ve only ever been given socks that came pre-wrapped. In other words, I have sterility concerns.
But it’s like she’s channeling Medusa or something.
I slip on the blue MRSA-fighting foot traps.
And the poofy French pastry hat, too.
2. Casey Stengel, the bloodthirsty phlebotomist and the Fantastic Four
Things pick up considerably in Pre-Op, which is like a meet n’ greet of who’s putting humpty back together.
There’s the millennial phlebotomist who couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo, jabbing at me and spilling my plasma liberally over the sheets.
And the lithe Japanese-American surgeon who’s riding shotgun in the O-R who tells me the Latin name for my injury is flexor hallucis longus. (When I quip, “Hey, I went to college with him!” he just walks away.)
Next up is the Chinese anesthesiologist who sets up my IV in a nano-second and who wants my fiancé and me to roll on the crappy phlebotomist (we don’t name names). From what I can tell, he used to play badminton in college.
A dashing young chap in a white coat – Cooper or Remy or Parker – stops by to say he’ll be taking notes in the O-R. In so doing, he makes my fiance’s heart go pitter patter.
Which is okay by me 15 seconds later when a fetching young lass appears all shimmery and blinking like Japanese anime at the foot of the bed. But the fantasy is immediately dispelled by the reality that she might soon catch a glimpse of my big, white arse.
Last but not least, my surgeon. He looks like an old-timey baseball manager. My initial impression is that he isn’t operating with the full shingle. Then I think, here is a man of action, not words. Hand this wizard the scalpel and let him lead the Fantastic Four to victory!
3. I puff on some funny air and sleep like a wee baby
4. Anesthesia could be like a gateway drug for perverts
When I come to, my fiancé is standing by my bedside, all powdered and lovely in her St. Paddy’s day best, hair braided and pulled to one side with her diddies draped over the hand-rail.
“You look pretty,” I say. “What a nice way to wake up.”
Waking in this anesthetic haze has either: a.) Turned me into a lexicographic genius; or b.) Given me a false sense of confidence.
Quite sure it’s the ladder, I ask the nurse for a pint of Guinness.
“No, no, no,” she replies, in a thick Indian accent.
Apparently, when I wasn’t looking, somebody shoved a breathing tube down my cake hole; my throat is feeling raw and I have a powerful hankering for some bevvies.
“Murphy’s Irish Stout? Magner’s?”
My fiancé chimes in, tells me I’d better behave or she’ll have the lady strap me down on the gurney, a threat which evokes a tacit reference to our nightly routine in the boudoir from yours truly.
The nurse says they need to make sure I can do go to the bathroom before they can cut me loose.
“After you pee, I’ll review your discharge papers with you.”
I say, “Can you read them to me while I pee?” knowing full well that I can’t listen and pee at the same time.
5. My kingdom for a pint
So here I am, three days on, set up in the corner booth of Reilly’s, sipping on the coveted Guinness that’s eluded me. To embrace the magnitude of the moment, I’ve dyed my beard and my hair orange and donned a funny leprechaun hat. The beer tastes wonderful, but I’m feeling as useless as tits on a bull. I’m gobsmacked and a little miffed that this injury couldn’t have come at a worse time. I mean I was knocked out on St. Patrick’s Day!
And then I get to thinking, what am I so upset about? I’m not even Irish.