Going into the hospital for surgery is no picnic. In mid-May, I had an overnight stay in the hospital for a surgical procedure. I was nervous beforehand and did not want to stay overnight. But I had no choice. Now, normally, a patient after surgery stays in bed, rests, gets pain meds, and generally recharges. Not this patient.

I was wheeled into the operating room, where it seemed like a huge crowd of people was milling around. Someone asked me my name and birthdate and what type of surgery I was undergoing. I told them my name and birthdate and I said that I was there for an eye lift and tummy tuck (totally false). A second of silence and then raucous laughter. I did eventually identify the correct surgical procedure.

One of the operating room staff asked me what kind of music I wanted them to play during my surgery. I requested The Beach Boys. He refused. I said, “Okay, how about anything from the 60s?” He said no. I replied, “Then what the hell did you ask me for if you are refusing my choices? Don’t make me get off this table.” We eventually settled on Bruce Springsteen.

Fast forward to post-surgery. Apparently, my first words upon waking up in recovery were, “Holy <expletive deleted>, this hurts.” And my next words were, “Where’s my husband? We are married almost 40 years.” So George, in that minute, became Mr. Forty Years for the remainder of my stay.

I was eventually wheeled to my room, where George sat waiting for me. My arm was in a sling, I had an ice pack on my shoulder, and I was ravenously hungry and caffeine-deprived. I was feeling rather loopy however, due to the morphine I was given in recovery.
Shortly, our son Donnie walked in the room. Apparently I cried when he came in and then asked him to get me food. Donnie called my huge lunch order in for me. Then Donnie’s fiancée, Michelle, came in, and I sent George home to let our dogs out.

I unilaterally decided that I needed to get up immediately and move around. Keep in mind that I was still feeling the effects of the morphine. So I slid out of bed and began staggering to the bathroom. Donnie rushed to help me and Michelle, catching a view of my backside, quickly shut the room door. I asked her if I had underwear on and she said, “Uh, no, no you don’t.” So apparently anyone walking by my room at that time got quite the eyeful. Poor Michelle rushed to tie my gown in the back. I am sure that the last thing she wanted to see was her future mother-in-law’s backside.

The rest of my short stay progressed nicely. I rested, took my pain meds, got poked and prodded, and was released the next day. George brought me home and plopped me on the couch. Our dogs quickly became attached to my side.

My post-surgery instructions included the “no showering” rule. I was not allowed to get the surgical site wet. So I decided that I could sit in the tub in a few inches of water and wash up. Easier said than done.

I got in the tub no problem, washed up, no problem. Getting out, however, was challenging. I was not allowed to lift my left arm past my shoulder or to lean over. So George literally had to lift me out of that tub. And I’m no slim chick.

This man had to help me dress, help me onto the couch, brush my hair, put my deodorant on, and perform other unmentionable assistance for over a week. I kept quoting to him the part of our wedding vows that said, “For better or worse or after surgery.”

The day I could pull up my own underwear was a banner day in our house. The day I could blow-dry my hair (one-handed) was another celebration. The day I could reach across my chest and touch my opposite shoulder without swearing should be declared a national holiday. And the day I could finally drive again was, to me, better than Christmas. Well… almost.