05 December 2008

In the Presence of Saints

The local anesthesia hasn’t yet totally worn off, and the Vicodin has already kicked in. So I’m in the post-op glow zone – no pain, relief that it’s over, and the potential misery hasn’t yet arrived. The glow is enhanced by memories of the saints who cared for me today.

These people are saints. Every one of them. I only wish I could remember them all. And even though I asked for a lot of names, I have unfortunately forgotten most. I can blame the amnesia effects of the anesthesia, but mostly I just forget things.

From the time I arrived at our local Marlborough Hospital at 8:30 this morning until I left at 3 PM, every single person I encountered – and there were lots of them – was cheerful, helpful, caring, and competent. And they do this day in, day out. If any of them were having a bad day, they certainly didn’t show it.

Let’s recount the action and call the role: All of the nurses at Surgical Day Care. Saints I-Wish-I-Could-Recall-Their-Names. Warm greetings. Cheerful and happy even while covering the mundane paperwork. Extra effort all around to be sure I knew what was happening. And when the IV went in – which to me is the worst part of anything like this – and went in a little on the painful side, extra effort to get it right, get it comfortable, and make me happy.

The taxi drivers, Saint Bud and Saint Bob. These gentlemen wheeled me around a couple of times during the day, and they do this for fun. Volunteers. Purely out the goodness of their hearts.

The pre-surgery prep room nurses. Saint Giselle, Saint Jacqueline, and others who’s names I’ve also lost, I’m terrible with names. Constantly attention to any and all trivial needs. Staying with me to chat. And one who I’ll call Saint Shocked who walked in and expressed amazement that I’m 45 (no, she didn’t think I looked old and decrepit, quite the opposite). Go ahead, butter me up, at that point I couldn’t help but love it. Of course, I credited our running lifestyle for not looking my age.

The OR nurse, Saint Rhonda of the Operating Room, who also did my pre-op interview. And who, like many of these saints today, took great interest in the whole story that led up to this day. Gee, I might have even gained a couple more blog readers today!

Saint Anesthesiologist, alleviating my worries about the possibility of ‘being there’, since I wasn’t to be all the way out under general anesthesia. Of course, he was right.

Saint Dr. Foot Doctor, who, earlier this week, spent a lot more time than you would ever expect to get with your doctor, discussing this procedure in great deal. And who went the extra length to bring in his digital camera to give me images of the procedure for later blog material (the squeamish being welcome to bypass that one, but I’ll find it fascinating). And of course, his partner, Saint Dr. Partner Foot Doctor, who teamed on the procedure. These two guys simply exude competence, and their reputations back it up, yet they are completely there for me, all the time.

Saint X-Ray Technicians of the Mobile Cart. A minor supporting role, but again, cheerful, caring, another reason to smile on an otherwise stressful day.

Saint Physical Therapist, teaching me how to get up stairs on crutches.

And Saint Enid and the other nurses handling the final details and seeing me off.

Plus of course Saint Everyone Else I Missed. And there are lots of them. Many of whom gave me their names (I promised them no last names online!) but whose names fall into the abyss. There was a Susan in there somewhere.

As for the surgery itself, well, that’s almost a foregone conclusion. I won’t know how successful it was for some time. But I now have that strip of horse in my foot, giving me horsepower, the ability to run like a horse I hope, and, well, we’ll leave out that third and obvious bad joke. Dr. Foot Doctor also used a process known as Topaz, which, best I can figure, uses an electrostatic probe to treat the tendon to increase blood flow and thus speed healing. And as a Buy One, Get One Free, he also shaved down the suspected arthritic build-up that was restricting the motion of Mr. Big Toe to begin with. Or at least that was that plan. I’ll learn what he actually did and how it went on Monday.

As for now, my foot is half-casted and wrapped in so many layers it reminds me of those padded bop’em suits. And then it’s sheathed in a very cool (literally!) ice water sleeve that comes complete with a thermos unit to cycle in more cold as needed. So much easier and more effective than a bag of ice. Ain’t medical technology grand? And of course, there’s the meds. Ahhhhhh…

So now it’s R&R at home with Saint Emily and Saint Laura, my daughters, who are getting valuable vocational training as waitresses. But most important of all is St. Ann, my very own angel, and the love of my life, who’s making this recovery, as well as every day, a joy.

I cannot say thank you enough to all of you.

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