Around the living room in 80 days

As of today, exactly 80 days have passed since June 7.

I was in a hospital for six of them. Which means, thanks to my lightning-quick mental calculation skills, I have been in this house for … 74 days.

I’ve been living within these walls for every hour, every minute, every single second of every one of those days. Well, with the exception of about 11 times, for short trips. By my best guesstimation, those add up to about 13 hours.

So, that means, subtracting that time … I’ve been living within these walls, nearly non-stop, for 1,763 hours. That’s 105,780 minutes. Which also is 6,346,800 seconds. Or maybe 62.7 bizzillion nano-seconds.

Hmmmm … very interesting. Explains a lot.

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“What was that? What were you saying, I couldn’t hear you.”

My wife is down the hall, sitting in the computer room and yelling out to me. I am in the where-I-am-living room.

“Sorry, I wasn’t talking to you. I was talking to Rocky.”

“What’d you say?”

“I said I was talking to Rocky!”

“You’re talking to Rocky.”

“Well, yes. In a manner of speaking.”

“You’re talking to Rocky, in a manner of speaking.”

“Yeah. I’m talking to Rocky, and he’s listening. It’s a manner of speaking. Sort of.”

“Don’t make me get up and count your pills again.”

“Shhh, Rock. Hold that thought. I’ll get back to you when the coast is clear.”

I hear you … I don’t know what you’re saying, but I hear you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Hi hon, it’s me. Whatcha doing?”

“Hello dear. I know it’s you. We have caller ID at work.”

“Oh, what cutting-edge technology that is. Anyway, I wanted to ask you if I can use the credit card.”

“Why do you need to use the credit card? You’re at home. What for?”

“I’ve been watching this really educational program on TV and if I call and order within the next 20 minutes, they’ll double my order, the same price as one, just pay additional shipping and handling.”

“You’re watching infomercials.”

“Right, we’re talking lots of info here. And if I call in the next 17 minutes, they’ll double my order and I’ll get two 16-ounce Real-Rubber-in-a-Cans instead of one. I want to spray it on the bottoms of my feet and see if I can bounce my legs up onto the couch instead of hooking them with my cane and pulling them up. I think we’re talking a potential medical miracle here. So, whatdaya say.”

“Sigh – I’ve got to get a padlock for that medicine cabinet. I’m hanging up now.”

I dunno – it sure sounded like a good idea to me.

I’m not dead … I’m feeling better!

“It’s going to take at least three months.”

“You never told me that.”

“Yes, I did. You’ve had two total knee replacements done within the span of six weeks time. That’s two major surgeries, one nearly right after another. That means a lot of muscle, bone and nerve pain and healing. And all that takes time, at least three months, and that’s on the optimistic side.”

“You never told me that.”

“Yes, I did. The pain and discomfort will be with you for quite a while. Your rehab and return to normal is going to take a long time. You know it’s getting better, but it often can be a slow process.”

“You never told me that.”

“Yes, I did. You knew it would take time, which is why you need to be more patient. And also that there’s no reason for you to be concerned about asking for refills of your pain meds.”

“Thank God you told me that. Tell me again.”

I mean, really, in the grand scope of things, what I had done can’t even be called a flesh wound.

Well, hello there.

So nice to be feeling alive, nearly human and almost funny enough to be writing again. Today, logging back on here for the first time in forever, I discovered a profoundly gratifying thing – many of you have continued to visit and have been reading old bits of my blog often and regularly, despite my far-too-long MIA status.

To everyone, thank you. Seeing something like this tells me two things. One, that I better get writing right away before the crap in the archives gets so old it’s beyond mold, and no one ever comes back.

And two, some of you must have even better drugs than I do.

Thank God for that.

Second verse, same as the first …

What’s even funnier than a blogger with one titanium knee?

A blogger with two titanium knees!

Well, let’s hope that’s true. As I did just last month, I’m once again heading into the hospital in a few hours for my second knee replacement operation. I figured I’ve been having so much fun with the first one, hell, who wouldn’t want to do it all over again?

And this way I’ll have matching leg scars. Neato.

Just wanted to let you and the rest of my fantastic readers know that I may not be around for a few days, but I’ll be back soon. Definitely before the new pain meds run out – as I mentioned the last time, I do seem to be a more creative writer while under the influence. Let’s see if I can keep the streak going.

So, have no fear, I shall return. And maybe then, with two new knees, I can fulfill my physical therapist’s expectations for me and my rehab. Igor tells me if I work real hard and put my heart and soul into it, I soon will be able to …

… walk this way.

Up from the bed he arose …

Well, these past few days have not been very much fun at all. Let’s decide now to not do this knee surgery thing ever again. Oh, right. I’m doing it again next month. Silly me. Stupid me.

You know this would have been one helluva good “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” essay if I was going back to third-grade in the fall.

Greetings! Hope all is well with you! Just a quick note to say I’ve been to Hell and presently am on my way back to Earth. Stopped at Mars on the way and can definitively report that author John Gray got it all back-asswards – I saw only women living there. So that’s where they’re from and it’s the men who are from Venus.

Let’s send him a group email, demand a retraction and 100 percent of our psyches back.

Speaking of back, it appears I may be as well. I think I’m going to try this writing thing again later today.

At least, at this point in my recovery, I’m feeling I can use my hands and fingers for something other than to pull my hair out.

Let’s see if we can bend this just a liiiittle more to the left …

Had my first in-home appointment with my physical therapist today. Nice young man. Likes animals, which is a good attribute to have when you walk into my house. Lives in the next town over, very pleasant and seems to know his stuff.

Although the precise historical date of the first use of physical therapy isn’t known, it’s thought to have been in use during The Spanish Inquisition.

After the small talk, the vital signs and a couple measurements … “All right Mr. Waterman, let’s see if we can get a better idea of where you’re at in your rehabilitation program. Nothing big or strenuous, I just want to get an idea of what we need to do to get that new knee and you, up and running. OK?”

Sure. Sounds like a plan. And by the way, it’s Glenn. No need for formality here. And since my dogs haven’t eaten you, they must like you too. Although we did feed them just before you got here.

“Ha – that’s good to hear. So great, Glenn, let’s start off with some stretching so I can get an idea of your range of motion.”

Let’s do it.

4:01 p.m. They say you learn something new every day. And I do believe it’s true. I never knew I had a group of freckles on the back of my right knee that, if you look at them quick, damn if they don’t resemble Teddy Roosevelt, mouth full of teeth and all. Fascinating.

Physical therapy, in the wrong hands, can cause some disastrous results.

Of course I’ve never noticed these birthmarks because I’ve never actually seen the skin on the back of my right knee. Until now.

“OK, Glenn, let’s see if we can determine the flexibility range of your hip flexor …”

I attempt to answer him but what I think is my left shoulder blade is blocking my mouth.

“Good Glenn, that’s very good. Now just hold it there, hold it, hoooooold it …

4:11 p.m. I’m not certain but I believe at this point I am beginning to see stars. Either that or the sun is glinting off of my fingernails. Which hand? I don’t know.

4:13 p.m.: At this moment, I confess that there is no federal deficit. I accidentally picked up the wrong lunch bag when I left the cafeteria at The National Treasury during a tour a few years ago and when I got out to the car, I found it had $14 trillion dollars in it. I was too scared to bring it back inside, so I buried it out in my backyard. Sorry, America.

“Very, very good! A few more weeks and I believe this leg’s going to be strong enough to help steady you when the other knee is replaced,” he chirps as he heads out the door and I struggle to regain consciousness. “See you again on Wednesday!”

They call me Mr. Waterman, kid, I mumble, a mouthful of elbow still stuck in my teeth.

Mental note: Don’t feed the dogs before Wednesday. Let’s see if they can determine this guy’s range of motion.

Walk a WHAT with no shoes???

But I don’t want to walk down there.

“But don’t you want to see where you’ve been for the past few days?”

I know where I’ve been, I even know where I am. I’ve been in a hospital that slipped me a Mickey the other day, took my knee out, put in a replacement made of LEGO™ building blocks, and sold my old one to some rich Chinese guy who ground it up and smoked it and now believes that his gout is cured and his penis is three inches longer.

“My, don’t we have an active imagination.”

Mister, considering the pain I’ve been in and the rock-em-knock-em medications you’ve been feeding me, I been living on imagination and saltine crackers.

“Well, considering that, you can’t really believe all of what you just said.”

Yeah, you got me there. My knee wasn’t as young as it used to be. Guy’s probably only going to get two inches.

People in hospitals don’t seem to quite understand what they do. They cut you open, saw or gnaw out a part of you, put in a fake piece, close you up, put a big band-aid on it, put you a room and then come back fifteen minutes later and ask you if you want to go for a walk.

And what’s worse, they so, so damn nice about it.

So, this is my world for the moment, and you’re welcome to it. It ain’t so bad, really. Food’s decent. Drugs are excellent, which probably makes the food decent. All the damn clothes don’t have anything in back, though. These folks definitely are ass people.

l’ll be leaving here in a few hours, which means they’ll be lighting up the “Vacancy” sign soon. If you happen to be limpy or gimpy, c’mon down!

Remember, there’s a couple million more rich Chinese guys where mine came from.

Out from under the knife

“Here big guy, take another swig of whiskey and then bite down on this stick.”

I don’t remember having to do this the time i had an operation..

“Last time you had better insurance.”

Oh, OK. Is there a phone in here?

“Yeah, but you’re in no shape to use it. I’ll get it.”

Thanks so much.

“Got it. Who do want me to call for you?”

911.

And so it goes, well maybe not exactly. But it’s done. One knee kaput, removed, replaced. And one stick that never tasted so good.

It’s a beautiful thing.

There’s not a lot to say at this point. Actually, come to think about it, there are a couple items to report.

One, OUCH.

And two – kids, don’t try this at home.