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 Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :

Glutton for Punishment

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry

You would think the older you get the smarter you would be, wouldnít you?

Opting for two surgeries ten days apart sounded good, but wasnít such a great idea after all. Iím glad Iíve done it, but truth to tell, I wouldnít do it again if I had the chance.

If you ever see a picture of me (I need to update the ones in some of the papers) then you might notice that I am a heavy lidded individual. This means I have a lot of fat on my eyelids which makes it hard for me to see. I canít remember the last time I saw my eyelashes. Are they even still there? The rule is that when the lid droops down past your pupil then you need to get them fixed. So I did.

I came out looking like I was the loser in a very uneven boxing match. Both eyes black and blue, the lids were swollen, but I could see better, so it was a success. First thing I noticed in going outside is how bright everything seems. Well, after thinking about it for a moment you realize that Iíve been walking around with an awning over my eyeballs for years. Once that came off, then here comes the sun. The other good thing is that I donít feel so tired at about 4pm and my eyes seem to be focusing better than they were for some reason or another. So all in all it was a good thing.

Next up, is a total knee replacement. Now this one is a bear. Everyone Iíve talked to says you will be happy when you are finished with it, but the first couple of weeks are hard after the surgery. This is an understatement.

My right knee has been torn up for years, finally just needed to be replaced and another one put in. I go into the hospital at 5amÖÖam in the operating room by 7amÖ.and from there I am out of it. I wake up in the room, stuck full of needles and bags hanging everywhere. Iím ok with this until they come in and tell me to get up and walk to the door of the room. I think they are kiddingÖ.I just got out of surgery. I am on pain medicine, I need some sleep. Nope, they help me out and off to the door I go. That afternoon or perhaps the next day, I canít remember, they put my leg in a device that moves it back and forth so many times an hour. You must stay hooked to this contraption for six to eight hours each day. Vincent Price could have used one of these in some of his movies. This place is not somewhere you go to get some rest. They are in and out of the room every thirty or forty minutes, taking your blood pressure, taking your blood, temperature and giving you injections all over your body. Some nurses can give a shot, some canít. Those who canít can be easily seen in various places across my body with large dollar sized bruises. They release me after three days and I manage to get myself upstairs for some much needed rest.

Not going to happenÖ now comes the physical therapist. I am expecting someone from a German concentration camp who goes by Helga but I get this small, petite lady named Lynn. Iím thinking no sweat, I can make this work, but am I wrong. Lynn has obviously taken training from some terrorist organization as she knows just what to do to bring on immense amounts of pain. She does not allow me to wimp out and say I canít do this exercise or that exercise. No, we will keep on going until we get it right. You might just as well gut it up and do it since she isnít leaving until you have done all of them to her satisfaction. No mercy in this woman. Iíd hate to be her husband.

In addition to this, she can talk to you and count at the same time. Iíll think ( Iíll wish) weíre at number twelve on one exercise and she will tell me Ö ĎNo, thatís only eightÖí Iíll start her off on some subject and hope she forgets the count, but so far, I havenít been able to do so.

All kidding aside, she is marvelous and is helping me along much faster than I had envisioned. I should be off this walker in another week or so and on my own.

Would I do this again? Yes, but letís just hope it never happens. One can only be a glutton for so much punishment.

© Peary Perry
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com

Letters From North America - July 1, 2009 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
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