Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day Two

Dateline Bellevue, WA: After a detailed progress report on the hospital's primary research and development project, the Board of Directors of Oversight Hospital are pleased to announce that at 0945 PST, Ann Acton peed.  In related news, attending physician Dr. Ewebee Copay reports that Ms. Acton, using only a walker, two assistants, and three Volkswagen-sized helium balloons, was able to walk to the nurse's station to analyze the nutritional value of Jello shots in the vacuum packs. Informed of this unexpected turn of events and its obvious implications, President Obama named Ms. Acton to his blue-ribbon panel for hospital reform on primary-color foods saying, "This is extraordinary progress, but we can do better -- we must do better, for the sake of our country, for the sake of our children, and the sake of starving husbands everywhere."

So, in the event you didn't check CNN today, we (and by "we" I mean "Ann") made HUGE-O progress.  She walked well before she was expected to, did so before physical therapy, and basically blew the doors off the staff, several of whom stopped by to congratulate her on extraordinary progress for a double knee procedure.  She's determined, tough, focused and scared the hell out of me -- I keep watching her thinking, "Could I do that?" Answer, not without a LOT more drugs, less ice in the rum and a significantly higher proof rate, say… 151 and in the higher latitudes.

But if you really want to be the BMOC, show up with someone who is having a double and everyone else looks like bed-wettin' commies -- the staff even smirks at them in group.  I didn't say YOU had to be the one having the double to swagger into group, nod at the wife and roll your eyes at the future former Mr. Macho grunting through only one side of exercises, thinking he was hot stuff until the Babe With The Double showed up.

"Class, we have a new comer to the group. Her name is Ann, she had a double procedure yesterday, has already gone to the bathroom all by herself, walked down the hall in her walker THIS morning and then did The Grand Central Station double dutch rope-jumping trick before coming down here; she is the only patient in the hospital going through a double right now and while I know these exercises are difficult and extremely painful, if any of you one-knee slackers bails on their reps today, President Obama has personally authorized Ms. Acton to bitch-slap you back into your rooms.  Are there any questions?"

After the introductions a 75-year old gal says to Ann, "You're having TWO done at the same time? This hurts so bad that if I ever need the other one done, I'm going to drink more vodka, take hands full of Vicodin and learn how to limp, instead."  And I think that about sums up why Ann isn't doing this more than once.

So, just before dinner the entire Acton clan (all three of us) are gathered around the bed (OK, two people cannot gather AROUND a bed occupied by a third, but when the obits say "He died surrounded by his family", don't you ever wonder if he was trying to get away at the time?).  Anyhow, we're chatting away when Erica casually fobs off, "Hey, a six-foot harp just went by."

You know, you reach a point in your life when you start questioning your own first-hand experience: Was the light red? Did I lock the back door?  Have my pants been unzipped ALL day?  But when your adult daughter drops a six-foot harp on you, discretion requires you go through all the permutations before you take a turn down "What the Hell Lane?"

This is a good time to mention that when Erica was eight-years old she charged into our bedroom at 2am, threw her cat overhand onto the bed and screamed, "There's a bird in my room, there's a bird in my room." To this day, I contend that was the night my atrial fibrillation began.  Bird in my room… harp in the hallway.  You'll excuse me if I remain seated.

So, I'm thinking, "what could she possibly have REALLY said?" Harp… umm, carp -- could be… carp kinda sounds like harp if you're not expecting either.  I wasn’t expecting a bird and that rhymes with stuff you don't want to see at 2am.

But a six-foot harp or a six-foot carp seem equally unlikely, so either Overlake's nuclear medicine department is leaking into a local stream or Erica's fourth graders have driven her to hallucinogens.  And about that time my wife says, "blah blah blah left over muffin blah blah blah" which the male brain interprets as "Squirrel" and I started chasing the muffin, forgetting all about the harp-carp.

About 20 minutes later, from down the hall, we hear harp music.  There is harp music… it's special music (I wouldn't be surprised if it has its own Olympics), it ain't like other music… you ain't ever gonna hear a harp doing "Smoke on the Water" so when you hear harp music it sticks with you like Lawrence Welk doing a cover of Musac tunes.  And trust me when I tell you it ain't nothing like carp music. 

OK, so we got a harp in the house.  Why do we have a harp in the house and whose house is it in?  I'm dispatched from East 318 and upon investigation, discover said aforementioned harp in East 315 doing a set in a private room.  And let me tell you when you stuff a concert harp into a private hospital room, you have just enough room to go outside and change your mind.  I was going to ask when the jugglers were showing up but just as I was forming the words, the harpist moved into a medley of Michael Bolton and I was starting to feel suicidal. 

By the time I got back to the room, Ann was strapping on her leg braces again and I thought she was going to make a break for it… turns out she was just showing off again, going for another spin around the floor with her tattooed boy-toy med-tech.

Tomorrow is Day Three and I hope something happens to break the tedium. 

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