Two weeks ago, I had knee replacement surgery. I was warned by others who have had it that it's a very painful operation, and they were certainly right. In fact, I've never been in so much pain in my life. The doctor gave me prescriptions for painkillers, but I'm very reticent to take them. Maybe that's silly, but given all the stories in the news about people who never expected to get addicted to opioids, the idea of taking narcotics (even at low dosages) makes me nervous. It seems all too easy to get accustomed to them; and having avoided addictive substances all my life (I've never even tasted alcohol), I don't want to get into any kind of dependency. On the other hand, there's only a certain amount of excruciating pain the average person can endure, and thus far, that's my dilemma.
Having been unable to blog for the past couple of weeks, I wanted to at least write a few words-- I know I'm not a famous blogger, and I know that most people do not hang on my every word, but blogging is often really good catharsis, and there were a number of things I wanted to discuss. In no particular order, here are a few of them:
Nurses aides are some of the most under-appreciated (and underpaid) folks in society today. In Massachusetts, they tend to be immigrant women from Haiti, doing jobs that are rarely glamorous-- yet extremely necessary (emptying bedpans, bathing patients who are too ill to bathe themselves, answering repeated calls for water, providing clean bedding, etc). Few hospitals could function well without them.
I wish the debate between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump could have taken place-- in fact, I'd have paid money to watch it. And yes, even in the hospital and the rehab facility, people were discussing and debating politics. One day, I was in physical therapy with a really sweet 86-year old woman-- let's call her Marie. She was deeply religious (I often saw her in her room praying the rosary) and she told me she has been a Republican all her life. Marie's favorite politician was Paul Ryan, she said, and she was no fan of Hillary Clinton. So, I asked her about Mr. Trump, and she said, "I could never vote for him. He gets me aggravated." Her choice for president surprised me-- "I like Bernie Sanders. He cares about the poor people." Evidently, that was the wrong answer for some in her family: I overheard her in a debate with one of her sons, who kept insisting, "But you have to listen to what Trump is really saying. He's telling the truth!" Marie was not impressed. "He's not telling the truth," she replied. "He just wants to start a war."
Unless you have a private room (which I did not), you may not get much sleep. In addition to getting woken up at all hours by hospital personnel who needed to get assorted blood tests or to take vital signs, there were other obstacles: for example, I had one roommate who, nice person though she was, got up about every hour to use the restroom; and I had another roommate who spent long periods of time on the phone arguing with various family members. I was never so glad to get home-- where I can once again have privacy, good food, and a wider range of cable channels on TV (I had no idea how bad daytime television was, nor how many hucksters and televangelists are still on the air).
So that's how the past couple of weeks went. So far, it's been really hard, but I'm hoping the worst is behind me. When a person is going through a difficult time, it's nice to know there's folks out there who care. So before I conclude, let me thank those who got in touch on social media and sent me good wishes, as well as those who sent prayers or positive energy. As I've said many times, we ALL get by with a little help from our friends. And now, I'm going to try to catch up on my emails and read the Sunday paper: peace and quiet is a beautiful thing...