A New Joint

Don’t you love when you write a blog and you tell a Big Fat Lie to your faithful readers? I will tell you the truth right now. Yesterday’s blog post in which I bragged about how I didn’t feel death staring me in the face was untrue. Oh, it was my truth at the time I wrote the words, but I will admit that yesterday, I felt just like those two men, like I was in the bottom of the ninth.

I’m exaggerating, of course. It’s actually my sister Jen who should be grumbling, but she doesn’t write a blog, so she doesn’t have a pedestal from which to gripe. Besides, she feels too lousy to complain. Though my body felt sore and tired, it is her that had her a tube put down her throat, yucky anesthesia pumped into her body, her leg cut open, and a knee replaced. Watching her in the hours following the surgery reminded me of how vulnerable we really are.

My mom was only 68 years old when she died, so it’s almost impossible to know what her aging process would have been. But my dad was 84 when he died. He worked hard most of his life, and then took really good care of my mom in the years when she was slowly dying. After Mom’s death, Dad enjoyed his life with Shirley before going to heaven in 2010. But despite having arthritis for many years, he never had a joint replaced. Conversely, Bec’s had two hips replaced and Jen has a new knee. I’ve lucked out in the joint department, but I’m likely not far behind them. And my brother Dave could be next.

What occurs to me is that while our bodies clearly wear out from use as indicated by the inordinate number of folks on the orthopedic wards of hospitals, we Baby Boomers just keep chugging right along. Thanks to modern science, we can become bionic men and women. It’s why our Medicare and Social Security systems are going bankrupt. Boomers are just hanging in there, enjoying the ride, thank you very much.

And even joint replacement surgeries have come a long way. As recently as a couple of years ago, Bec was in the hospital for her surgery, spending one night before they kicked her to the curb. While it’s true that most knee and hip replacements are still done in the hospital, Jen was offered the opportunity to have her surgery done outpatient in a so-called surgery center.

What this meant is that she didn’t have to stay overnight in a hospital, where the cheerful nurses wake you three times a night to ask if you’re having trouble sleeping and what, by the way, is your pain level. I can offer that service for no charge.

What’s next, we all wondered. In a couple of years, they will hand you a scalpel and provide a training video to watch before you do your own surgery.

Jen, by the way, is doing quite well. She spent yesterday afternoon and evening mostly sleeping, although her daughter Maggie, playing the role of Nurse Cratchett, woke her up every hour to make her march around the house. Recognizing that Maggie is not only the mother of two, she also was a kindergarten teacher in her younger days, Jen knows she’s not one to be messed with.

As for me, despite my whining, I felt fine after a good night’s sleep.

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