Thursday, December 19, 2013

It Only Hurts When I laugh.

    Earlier this Fall, excruciating pain under my ribs sent me to the little Pemberton health clinic emergency one night. That started a whole round of visits with doctors, an ultrasound, and an MRI down in Whistler. After visits with specialists in Vancouver, endless jabbing, stabbing, bloodletting, and chest hair tugging little deals they attach wires to a decision was made to seek a date for surgery. They  emailed one day with a date that had come open if I wanted it. Friday the 13th. Oh what the hell, what could possibly go wrong. I don't imagine it is too unusual to get cancellations for surgery on Friday the 13th. That could go for some Doctors too I would imagine. She had given me an alternate date, just in case, but I was keen to take the earliest date available and get the ordeal over with.
   I got my firewood caught up and split, some winter improvements done to the intake screen up the mountain, and some repairs to the large water driven pelton wheel generator it initially feeds. Fixed the hell out of my old tractor to plow with, crossed my fingers and prepared myself for the possibility of being layed up for awhile, having the power not working and freezing up the cabin, vehicles falling apart, or any number of calamity than can befall a person out here.
   I don't usually care to leave here if I can help it. Double especially to the big city. Seems the closer I get to one, the more my stress level goes up.
I've become akin to a forest creature, comfortable in his natural environment, although some contented farm animal preferring to be left in his happy pasture is maybe more like it, and the closer Friday the 13th got, the more this critter couldn't help but think he was being led off to market.

Lions Gate Hospital North Vancouver
Friday the 13th.
   The day started early.  Forest creatures seldom sleep in the city, and last night was no exception.
With no little amount of trepidation I presented myself to the admissions desk where I'm handed an identification tag. "I put that on my big toe?" I asked.
Sometime later, the surgeon stood  chatting with me beside the operating table, holding something that I hoped wasn't a 'how to manual'.
"Well, Doc", I said, " guys have worked wonders on me, I've never felt better, so if you can round up my clothes and boots, I'll be heading on back to the old lodge".
"Sir, let me just strap your arm down now", a  young specialist said looking down on me from behind, "...there is important IV's and things, we can't have any movement going on." She pauses for a moment, giggles from behind her mask, then continues working, strapping, tubing, poking, reassuring.
   By now I have had a pretty good look around the operating room and its contents, and she must have wondered if my head was actually attached, and that door with the exit sign on it looked mighty inviting. In fact, I have memorised every step from the front door of the hospital, right here to the green painted O.R. You know,  just in case of fire and I need to escape or something and its every man for himself, but thats just me. The possibility of having to make a run for it dragging several hundred or more pounds of medical equipment along behind I wanted to make sure I was going to take the short route and avoid any stairwells or bottlenecks with the herd.
   The half dozen specialists present stand off studying charts, beeping equipment, and colorful computer generated images of the inside of me, chatting quietly among themselves.
"OK, I'm going to do the same to your other arm now." states upside down girl, who straps the other arm down
 "I'll never get away now." I mumbled to her.
"What was that?" she asks, stopping her work and leaning into view.
I thought for a moment, then said in a matter of fact voice, loud enough for all present to hear, that while they were rooting around in there, to keep an eye out for a set of lost keys.
I had them in my peripheral vision of course, and noted it had the desired effect...each had stopped what they were doing, turned, and looked.
Upside down girl popped back into view. "You swallowed your keys?" she finally had to ask.
"No", I said, letting the moment hang for as long as was suitable at a $25,000 an hour facility,"...but its the only place I haven't looked."
There was a collective shrug and they all went back to what they were doing.
"Goodnight Mr. Trethewey, just relax now, and breath deep." says upside down girl, opening a valve.
"Mooo..." went the inner critter softly, strapped down belly up and helpless, and the next thing he knew, or better put, didn't know, for the next 6 hours, was out colder than the proverbial ham sandwich.

   They insisted on keeping me corralled up there enjoying the hospital hospitality in a room over looking the Vancouver skyline for a few days, looking like the sorry loser of a knife fight, plugged into oxygen, intravenous lines, and several tubes jammed into me that drained off to bags clipped to my hospital gown. "What if I sit on one and squish it all back in again?", I asked a nurse one day, only half joking.
"That won't happen" she assured me, before cracking up.
After a few days I was up and about, hobbling along with my wheeled life support tree up and down the hallway. I was keen to go home and every time I passed a Doctor or nurse in the hallway I would straighten up and try to look as normal as possible and ask them which way to the weight room.
   Eventually, I was unencumbered from any equipment, found myself in my street clothes close enough the entrance to see pasture and made a run for it, skipping out on the bill at the same time.
I was turned loose after agreeing to follow their advice for a suitable recovery period, limiting my work and recreation, and making my carcass available for further prodding and poking.
And then I couldn't get out of town fast enough.

So for the time being, I am begrudgingly restricting my activities, and it looks like I'm going to have to plant myself here in front of the keyboard and behave myself for a stretch. 
So I'll sit back here and grow a new patch of belly fur and see if I can come up with some stories and posts for a bit to keep myself occupied.   


  1. Hope your recovery goes well.

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  3. Another endearing story in your unique style.
    Get well soon, but not before some more stories.

  4. Hope they didn't remove any marbles? Merry Christmas and a happy recovery.

  5. OK thanks for the wishes.
    This isn't going to slow me down for very long.
    We are fortunate here in BC to have such great medical system and healthcare providers.

  6. Uncle J.O.-----good god Robin---what is going on??? I didn't think you would go to that length to get close to a pretty (sexy?) nurse. What 'parts' are you now missing?

  7. breath in and breath out that's all you can do. Love yu CASEY.

  8. I should drop by more often.... keep up the writing... great stuff