Same-day surgery can be a myth

Same-day surgery can be a myth
Granted that the cut-ee is the sufferer, but the folks in the surgery waiting room don't have it so good either.

Of course they have coffee and cookies. And a few old magazines to page through, but by and large, it's kind of like a description of purgatory: awaiting the good news (or bad) from the operating room.

Each time the telephone rings or a doctor comes in the door the anxious ones hope it's for them. Well, I went through it again recently.

Phyllis (she gives me plenty to write about) went under the knife for what I thought was a simple procedure. Boy, was I wrong!

She had a rotator cuff problem on her left shoulder, and being a thoughtful husband, I told her to take care of it. It was just same-day surgery, I presumed, and she would be back doing her wifely chores in no time.

(I made a note to buy her a teflon snow shovel for when she cleans our driveway.)

After all, a cuff is something you have on your trousers, so it couldn't be too bad. Then I heard the anesthesiologist!

He told her, without pulling any punches, that the surgery would be very painful, that recovery would take six weeks and a lot of physical therapy would be involved.

"See, I told you I was hurting," she said knowingly. "It's from the time the horse I was riding went under a tree, and a branch did me in."

I gulped and went into the recovery room with our two girls not as confident as I had been.

I waited for the phone call and the doctor's appearance just like the others in the room. I was greatly relieved when they told me that the 2 1/2-hour operation was successful, and she would go to a hospital room.

The one-day surgery was a figment of our imagination!

The hospital was something else again. We weren't prepared for that either, but somehow it worked out. Phyllis was groggy and on pain pills, so our conversations were minimal, to say the least.

On the third day she was ready to come home. That was a lot better than the two weeks she spent in the hospital for the one-day surgery on her hip awhile back.

Anyway, once we got home, I became the care-giver – which was like the blind leading the blind. Of course I got lots of help because it takes me 20 minutes to make the bed. I don't cook so good, either.

The word must have gotten out about the latter because Phyllis's friends showed up with lots of food. I got to thinking that was reason enough to be sick.

She's well on the road to recovery now – the Home Health nurse tells me. At least I won't have to bathe her!

One thing I've learned: Rotator cuffs are not to be sneezed at, and I wince each time I watch a quarterback on television throw one. He's got a cuff in his shoulder, too!

© 2006 Robert F. Karolevitz

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