Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Will Patient # 5873914 Please Moan?

Yesterday morning, while I was busy working out my body, Pa Support Staff was busy working on his body and getting a new hip.  He had the other one done last November.

The Patient will see you now
Ma Support Staff called around noon to report the surgery had gone well (do they ever say great?), the leg was still attached (always a good thing), and Pa Support Staff was awake (a very relative term).  I had an opportunity to talk to the patient, who was clearly concerned with things other than talking to his daughter.  Drugs are glorious in these situations, but they were decidedly not doing their aforementioned jobs.  And then he fell asleep on me....blabbing along about his bald head being cold, his body being in pain, and then....nothing.  Stressed out bodies need recovery!! 

Ma Support Staff took the phone and we proceeded to have a conversation about getting compression socks in my size before PSS left the hospital.  It was hard to follow our conversation because in the background you could hear PSS's newborn-like, stream-of-consciousness rediscovery of the world.  It was fascinating partly because, see, my Dad has this totally gibberish language that he and he alone speaks.  With it, he has convinced Russians he is from other parts of the former Soviet Union, confused small children, and outwitted traffic ticket writers in parts of Europe and Africa.  And apparently, when heavy drugged, he resorts to talking in this language.  So as MSS and I are talking about sizing compression garments, my Dad is talking to the nurses about his discomfort - in a language that they have no change of understanding.  Ladies, just hand over the morphine button and everything will be fine.

I should not throw stones.  I had finger reconstruction surgery during soccer season my senior year in highschool and aside from being poured into the front seat of my parent's car for the ride home, I vaguely remember being placed in a lawn chair next to my team's game that night and drooling on my own shoulder for 90 minutes.  PSS is sequestered at a nursing home for nearly a week for physical therapy so he will not have to suffer such indignities.

What I should do is learn from the PSS's example.  “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, champagne in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO HOO what a ride!'”  By my count he is on his 6th mid-life crisis/retirement: walking across South America, motorcycles in the US, Boat #2 (Boat #1 is the one I grew up on), motorcycles pretty much anywhere there are roads, staying more put in Madison, farming in Indiana.  I think he has the "body thoroughly used up" part sewn up. 

Back when I only ran marathons, I used to say "if only have five marathons in my body, where do I want to spend them?"  It helped me pick races to think "if my body only has some many miles...?"  Ironically, I used my fifth marathon (after a little swim and bike) to qualify for my pro card.  So from here on out, I guess I'm racing on borrowed miles.  And I'll probably have to pay them back - plus interest.  Perhaps these past two years Dad has been paying the interest, but I believe he would argue - and I would agree - that it's worth it.

He's got his eye on another motorcycle and I've got my eye on another race.  We may speak different languages, but Patient # 5873914 and I might just be related.

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