No matter where you go, there you are- Buckaroo Banzai
See that hip joint to the right? By the time you read this it will either be gone, or well on its way to being gone. Replaced by a metal marvel of medical science. (Cue the theme to the Six Million Dollar Man).
I've known that was this was coming since May, when the original diagnosis of a joint degenerated bt arthritis took place. The time is finally here. I just want it to be done. The house is arranged, the necessary equipment acquired and my papers are in order.
Over the past few weeks many friends and acquaintances have asked whether I was getting nervous about the operation. The simple answer is no. I did have a little bit of butterflies of the stomach last night, but that's no worse than appearing in a play, doing oral arguments or performing in Masonic degrees. The people that are really worried are likely my wife and my children (though the girls aren't showing it), but for some reason it doesn't seem to be affecting me. I suppose it is because for me I will go to sleep and I will wake up. Nothing will pass in between.
To be blunt, I won't know if anything goes wrong.
The longer answer is that I learned a life lesson back in 1994. In April of that year I was involved in a fire. I eneded up in ECMC intensive care burn unit and the prognosis wasn't good – I wasn't even supposed to make it through the first night. Obviously the doctors were pessimistic and 10 days later I was released to rehab at the home of a friend.
It also gave me the best pickup line EVER! To a really cute nurse:
Me: Ya know when I'm back on my feet we should go out.Her: Why should we do that?Me: Well, you've already seen all my shortcomings . . .
The lesson I took away from this event is both simple and profound: the universe is not done f*cking with me. Not in life-changing ways perhaps, like when my mother died when I was only 13 years old, but rather in those ways that simply try men's souls . Death by a thousand cuts. Things like finding out that your first home is one of the sinking homes of Amherst. Or just when everything is going right in your new career, finding out that the job that you left a place of security for has evaporated before. The car trouble that always pops up when you have something planned for that bonus.
The oven quitting the day before you go to the hospital. Having to have a hip replaced
It all seems to work out, but the ride is sometimes ugly. Makes you appreciate how great your family is.
Life just likes to do those things to me and I'm certain that it will continue to do so for many more years. There's a term for people like me - schlemazel. Call me the Cosmic Schlemazel. It's an odd comfort, but a comfort nonetheless.
So while I don't look forward to the surgery tomorrow it is something that needs to be done and I will be glad to be behind me. I don't look forward to the period of rehab, but what sits on the other side of that rehabilitation is the ability to once again engage in some of the things that I've had to curtail over the past year.
I do have one hope for the surgery and I hope you will join me in that hope. As the anesthesia begins to drip into my system, and just before I lose consciousness, I hope I am able to exclaim in a loud voice:
My God, it's full of stars.
See around the galaxy.