Surgery today was a beating.
No, not me. I'm fine. No surgery for me, at least until I get prostate cancer or my kidneys throw in the towel and decide that thirty years of diverting hard liquor to my bladder is two years too long. My wife had surgery today, because she has lupus and she's been getting sicker for the last several years. Her doctor is pretty confident that it was caused by a body part I don't understand doing something it wasn't supposed to be doing (which I also do not understand).
So today, they went in with a camera attached to a razor blade and took some part out of her gut. This offensive part was originally supposed to do something useful, like guarding the refrigerator or gassing up the car, but had recently begun to work with the Russians on secret plans for world domination. This diabolical organ had been turned by the KGB and was slowly infiltrating my wife's body with sleeper agents designed to poison the water supply and double-dip in the guacamole.
If you've never had the chance to spend an entire day sitting around an outpatient surgical center, I really can't suggest you go out of your way to try. For one thing, it's rather expensive. Insurance pays most of it, but even ten percent of ten grand is still enough that I could have refurnished my living room with my co-pay. And because they know damned well that a lot of people are going to stonewall them, you have to pay up front. It's understandable, really. It's not like a car, where they can repossess if you don't pay. What are they going to do, put the parts back in?
It's also kind of annoying. The thing about medical facilities is there are so damned many sick people. You're sitting there trying to ignore the rasp of the octogenarian with the oxygen tube, and it would be working if only the family of five could have found a babysitter for Mom's most recent spawn while she's having her fallopian tubes tied up like a theme park pretzel.
And there's really nothing to do for a huge part of the day. You sit around the waiting room while they prep your wife (or friend, or sister, or postal carrier), then you go into the room in the back and say, 'have fun! If you die, I'm keeping your stuff!' Then you go back to the waiting room, where you sit around for another hour or two while doctors who make more in a week than you make in a year root around in her insides with a robot filming a YouTube video.
It doesn't get much better when she comes out, either. When your loved one finally emerges from the operating room, she is on enough drugs that she believes you are not a person at all, but a gas bubble caused by a badly digested frozen burrito. Eventually she will recover from her dementia, and then be so weak that you will spend the next four hours hand-feeding her crackers and water.
To make matters considerably worse, if you are in one of these day-labor surgery houses, the recovery area is basically a hallway with curtains. Every time anyone within thirty feet talks about how they just had a mechanical bladder installed, you get to hear all the details. And not everyone who gets surgery is as stoic about it as my wife - or as quiet. There was a woman a few booths down who, to hear her talk, must have had her toe eaten by zombie squirrels. I'm sure she was in some pain, but at least nobody stuck a Roto-Rooter through a hole in her stomach and came out with internal organs. My wife was hurting, but she managed to do it quietly, and with as much dignity as a person can manage while wearing one of those ridiculous medical skirts whose sole purpose appears to be making you look like you just wandered out of an orphanage for the mentally retarded.
Of course, I really have no business complaining. I left with the exact same set of body parts I had when I went in. The only pain I had today was from sitting in crappy hospital chairs, and maybe the headache I got from listening to old people blather at length about the boils they had lanced on their lower intestines. I have my health, or as much of it as I have left after decades of poor life choices and spicy Indian food.
My wife is home now, resting comfortably and not complaining at all. In fact, if I don't make her sit down, she'll probably get up and start cooking something. I'll tell you right now, if a doctor scoops out my guts with a melon-baller on a string, I'm going to bitch like I just got stabbed in the scrotum. I'm really proud of her, though I guess having her ass kicked by her illness every day for the last five years has toughened her up.
Just wait until my appendix bursts. I'm going to make you all bring food by the house.