Usually I am ambivalent about the New Year’s holiday. Not this time around. I am ever so grateful that 2014 is over, and 2015 has begun. For the past year was, above all else, a year of medical drama. Not drama by some people’s standards, but for me, a neophyte to the world of health care, drama is the word.
December, 1953: I spent a few days in a hospital. Or so I’m told. I had just been born, so frankly, my memory is unreliable. With the exception of a couple of visits to Urgent Care, I studiously avoid returning to a hospital for the next 60 years. Apparently I had pent-up demand, for once I turned 60 and 2014 began, I embarked on a medical odyssey that encompassed 1 repair, 1 replacement and 1 removal.
February: hernia repair, went home the same day. October: hip replacement, spent 3 days in the hospital. December: surgery to remove a cancerous prostate, went home the next day.
I realize that none of those procedures are unique to me. Every year in the U.S., 1 million hernias are repaired, 332,000 hips are replaced and 138,000 prostates are removed. But there’s no data on how many of those were performed on the same person in the same year. But we know it was at least one.
And that’s why I’m glad to be done with 2014. However, it has been interesting, and I’ve learned several things along the way:
- I entered 2014 with a needle phobia, and went out with total insouciance regarding needles; not to mention IVs, invasive diagnostic procedures and changing dressings.
- Hospital gowns are actually pretty comfy, especially the ones that warm up.
- The first victim in health care is dignity. I’ve had relative strangers examine, manipulate and probe areas on my person that I have rarely examined, manipulated or proved myself. I just don’t care anymore. Want to have a look? Move something around? Put something somewhere? Knock yourself out, pal.
- I have a high tolerance for pain, and am a really good healer.
- There’s no greater words to hear from a doctor than “relatively young and healthy”. High praise, and I never got tired of hearing them.
- Never underestimate the healing power of lasagna. Thank you, Terrie!
Mostly, I am grateful. For my repaired hernia, for my snazzy new hip, for a cancer-free hole where my prostate used to be. For fast-healing surgical scars, for great surgeons, for a GP who caught my cancer very early, for caring nurses and therapists, for insurance, and for friends who provided support and love.
And most of all, I am grateful for my sister, who used all of her nursing skills to ensure my rapid return to good health. Alternatively Florence Nightingale and Cruella Deville, she pampered and pushed me on the healing path.You rock, Rhu!
So, with that, let’s hear no more about adventures in health care. At least, mine. I’m bored with my own stories, and I suspect you are, too. No more medical blogs for me; it’s back to the usual menu of random silliness.
And now it’s on to a better year. I wish joy, good health and interesting non-medical adventures for me and for you.
Today’s Fact Cetera
Punctate pruritus is the medical term for an itchy spot.