It started last fall with John’s hip replacement on election day. Now his right hip matched his left hip and recovery went well–back to exercise on the treadmill; but just as it was all coming together an ol’ hernia erupted, so it got repaired in January. By March we were traveling again and crawling about on Dolce Vento when his ten year old diverticulitis took front stage, delivering unexpected explosions and some unbearable pain. As Yogi Berra once said, “It was déjà vu all over again” so a third major repair was a must; this time a four-hour robotic laparoscopic operation followed by three days in the hospital. However, today, just two days after coming home, he’s taking good walks without support and only Tylenol to mellow out a few aches. No la-la drugs required.
This six month, land-locked journey has been a long, but amazing one for us. As you well know, getting old’s a bitch ’cause the body wears out, demanding serious high-grade replace and repair work, much beyond an occasional tune-up that most of us are used to. Luckily, unlike our parents, medical solutions, medicare and supplemental insurance are available to give our old bodies new and longer life.
There’s a dirty little secret about growing old that you only learn from experience. I’ve gleaned it from John over these last months. When you have such serious work done on your body, there’s a good chance you’ll pretty much lose your sense of shame and sometimes your dignity as legions of nurses and doctors inspect, prod, poke and measure your pee as you while you lay helpless in drugged induced haze to block the pain. Being alive and on the mend to preserve your future consumes you. You just don’t care if your backside is on display when the panels of your hospital gown flap in the breeze while walking the halls, pushing your “Christmas tree” dispensing all sorts of liquids into your veins and monitoring your vitals. I, in my role as Nurse Ratched, still with a deep sense of shame and dignity, clearly had a job to do — tie the panels on John’s gown before he left his room. And, that I did.
It’s all over now. This third time’s a charm! The titanium staples in his colon match his two titanium hip joints, making him a cyborg fashion forward kind of guy. My crew mate is mended and will be ready to sail before the end of June. Life is good again.