Less than 24 hours ago, Jasmine was checking my vitals and Jolly upping the saline. Sexy Surgeon had autographed my left knee in purple marker. An unscheduled emergency bumped my mundane procedure to the bottom of the queue, so I was the last patient of the day. A little after 5:00pm, the two nurses heard the buzz, flipped up the side rails, and wheeled my gurney toward operating room. On the way, Jolly grabbed two warm blankets and apologized as she unfolded them over me. “The room is a little chilly.”
“You should use a word other than ‘chilly,'” I slur, “when someone has been fasting for 18 hours.” Jasmine grinned and kicked open the door.
Less than 24 hours ago, drifting in a fog of anesthesia, I offered up my torn meniscus to the doc and his team.
Less than 15 minutes ago, I walked the dog around the neighborhood.
It was a slow walk, sure, and a low dose of Percocet smoothed the way. Yet there I hobbled, pooch patiently ambling at my side. Just a blink earlier, I was lounging in pre-op, rehashing family lore with my mom. They had yet to jab my joint open debride the meniscus with a pair of miniature tools that clearly need more oblique names than “the biter” and “the shaver.”
Medicine is magical and magical is art
This is a terrifying time to be alive. It’s hard to ignore disasters both present and imminent, and impossible to quiet the urgency for action in so many corners of the world. Innovation births drone warfare and the venom of dictators screaming instantly into our pockets. We celebrate each new decade by inventing a thousand novel ways to die.
Also, this is a time of marvels. Someone found their way through the call of hunger and greed. Someone tinkered and played and eventually conjured up arthroscopy. Now we head home from the operating theater with absolute faith in the next dance.
The way we look to us all
Even knowing the work ahead, even wide awake to the call to clean up these messes and respond to the surging need of our neighbors on this planet, I’m grateful.
These are the days of miracle and wonder
It’s a blessing to be alive on this bit of rock in this moment in the story.
The dog is pretty happy about it too.
Lyrics: Paul Simon’s Boy in the Bubble