posted on Feb, 15 2013 @ 02:12 PM
Like a red-shirted ensign in a Star Trek episode, I had a feeling it was going to be a bad day. The registration nurse who greeted me smiled behind
her surgical mask (or was she sharpening her tusks and I just couldn’t see it)? She explained that she had elected not to receive a flu shot this
year and was required to wear the mask for protection. I could tell that it also served as her scarlet-lettered symbol of rebellion from the
pharmaceutical-wielding world of Western medicine. “Not one of us!” it accused.
I shuddered like an old elevator beginning its descent at the thought of turning myself over to the cut-and-drug assembly line. But, it had to be
done. Years of intense sports and repetitive strain had scraped the cartilage from my hip socket like a big orange scoop hollows out a Halloween
pumpkin. Now, whenever I walked, bone grated against bone with all the subtlety and grace of Nancy Pelosi at a press conference.
My captors inducted me into the system with a weigh-in, like a fish on a big scale. After donning a lavender gown with rear air conditioning and green
non-slip socks, I handed over my clothes and belongings in a plastic bag. No longer a person, I became a patient. I tried to get my bearings, to find
some frame of reference for comfort, but even the painting on the wall was an odd rendition not unlike the Internet Grumpy Cat meme in blue. He
watched me disapprovingly as I peeked through the medical supply drawers to kill the time.
Drone orderlies and nurses buzzed into the prep room, covering me with gooey, honeyed strands of devices and wraps. By far, my favorite was the
anesthesiologist, not for his Marcus Welby bedside manner, but for the vibrant, Avatar-world head trip, into which, he would soon plummet me. I asked
if I might have little cans of the loopy drug to give as Christmas gifts next year, but he seemed to think the Establishment frown upon this like a
prostitute in a Downton Abbey episode.
At last, flanked by friendly executioners, I was escorted to the operating room scaffold on foot. “How cruel!” I thought, that they make you walk
to your pyre. Then again, I remembered, it may be the last chance to walk on my own for a while, and relished each step.
The room was cold like the shock of ice cream on the roof of your mouth just before a brain freeze, but soon, I no longer felt it. The world simply
went away, and when it came back again some hours later, I could feel the surgeons tugging the viscera of my hip back together as if they were
overstuffing a pillow in layers and then stitching each stratum together before it burst out. At last, with the old decrepit parts removed, the shiny,
new ones inserted and everything trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey, I lay, waiting for the button to pop up from my stomach with a big “ping!”
to indicate that I was indeed done.
A week later, flitting about from room to room of my home, with only a crutch dangling from one of my butterfly wings to remind me of the experience,
I feel lucky to be free of the Spanish Inquisition’s cruel year-long occupation of my joint. Heretic though I may be, I never did confess.
(A true story, based on the last seven days of my life)