Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Theory of One Less Gross Thing

It's less than a month until my new surgery date and I'm trying to get mentally prepared for it. Granted, it will be nice to no longer have the surgery hanging over my head, so that I can get on with my life. I've been avoiding dating because I don't want to have to end some hot date by saying, "We'll have to do it again sometime next week, when I'll be using a walker and will be whacked out of my tree on morphine. Oh, and just FYI, here's a handout of acceptable post-surgical sex positions in case you make it to the third date." Yes, it's time to get the "walking properly" show on the road.

Still, I suspect that this time around will be harder than the last. Last time, I was relentlessly optimistic. I'd done my homework on the surgeon. I'd done a significant pre-hab routine to build up the muscles around my hip. I was young, I was fit, and visions of strutting around the hospital showing off my impressive recovery to the other elderly patients were dancing in my head. Even though it all went off the rails, I was able to power through it mentally by adopting the Theory of One Less Gross Thing. (Okay, I know that technically it should be One Fewer Gross Thing, but it doesn't quite have the same ring to it).

The Theory of One Less Gross Thing rests on the premise that the surgery is a one-shot deal and that every gross, humiliating, painful or unpleasant thing that occurs does so for the last time ever. When I was puking up fluorescent-green bile, I wasn't thinking, "Damn, this sucks," but "This is the last time I ever have to do this. This is one less gross thing I have to go through." When I was getting my staples torn out of my incision perhaps a few days too early by an 80-year-old doctor with shaky hands, I wasn't thinking, "Hot damn, remind me to apologize to all the stapled sheets of paper I have unwittingly violated over the years," but "This is the last time I ever have to do this. This is one less gross thing I have to go through." Shuffling along with a walker; trying to use a long-handled sponge probably created to bathe elephants to scrub the pink antiseptic wash off my toes; injecting my stomach with bloodthinners in a drug-induced haze: all of these were one less gross thing I had to go through, one less gross thing that was standing between me and my sexy new walk.

Well, of course it didn't work out that way and now I'm gearing up for the hip-replacement sequel. Like most sequels, this hip replacement promises to suck more than the first. Part of the reason is that the Theory of One Less Gross Thing no longer applies. I'll be going through everything again and, worse still, I know exactly how gross it will be. Actually, considering that I don't know whether I'll be weightbearing or not, if I'll be following hip restrictions or not, or whether the additional gluteus-medius reattachment will make it more painful than the last time, I could be up for even grosser Gross Things.

Oh well. I aim to make the most of my three weeks of freedom. I've been swimming, walking at least a mile a day, doing the elliptical machine, and doing little weight-training circuits with ab workouts. If I can't be optimistic, at least I'll be fit.

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