In the hospital:
- Make sure and have someone take a picture of you immediately after surgery while you’re still pain-free from that marvelous anesthesia and you haven’t seen the hospital food yet. You won’t look that good again for weeks. (RANT: By the way, why don’t they give you that anesthesia for pain when you’re banging shamelessly on the “nurse” button and when she toddles in an hour later and says cheerfully, “Here’s some Tylenol for you, dearie.” Tylenol is as useful as a mint-flavored suppository.)
- Do not put your best foot forward or put on a cheerful grin and say you’re doing great. They will believe you and send you home within the hour, still hooked up to your catheter and IV bags.
- Don’t be a hero when you use the handy dandy hand-held urinal for the first time. Throw your fuddy-duddy inhibitions to the wind and ask for help, or you’ll wish you had. (And it takes a loooooong time for them to change the bed.)
- Remember that Murphy’s Hospital Laws are in full effect:
- Murphy’s Hospital Law #1: your dazed, bleary-eyed drooling is in direct proportion to the importance of the visitors who have just come to see you (like Pastor Jeff and Robyn).
- Murphy’s Hospital Law #2: there will be a mix-up on the scripts they send you home with. (Two surgeries and we’re batting one thousand.) When you call to get the right script, the joyful voice on the voice mail assures you that when will return your call within 24 hours. Translate this, “some time before Jesus comes.”
- Murphy’s Hospital Law #3: the script you finally get is not covered by your insurance and costs $375 for thirty days.
- Get used to the jazzy, new look of old people after back surgery:
- You will have permanent, tractor tire-like indentations in your hair and skull from using your CPAP machine not only at night but also for two naps each day.
- Your knee-high white compression socks add a lovely fashion statement when combined with your silky black basketball shorts.
- Have you ever noticed old people have coffee and ice cream stains on their shirts? Behold, stains are us!
- Tips for showering. When you have graduated from your walker to your cane for everyday use, leave the walker in the shower to use as hand rails. Yep, it’s nifty.
- Keep your grabber handy for when you drop things in the shower. However, if you drop the bar of soap, call in the troops because you will run out of hot water before picking up that slippery son of a gun.
- Keep your grabber handy all of the time, period. I have successfully used it to retrieve apples from the fruit drawer in the refrigerator, a box of oatmeal from a high shelf, and countless other things. However, Karon doesn’t like it when I substitute it for a tender pat on the behind.
David Shultz enjoys mountain views in Arizona where he lives with his wife and two dogs, Molly and Maggie.