Imagine yourself in a multiplex movie theater. Curiously, no walls separate the half-dozen theaters that form the multiplex. Miraculously, you are watching six different screens all at once, thoroughly understanding and enjoying every scene, word, character.
Welcome to ADHD.
[You in the Real World, be sure to click on the red underlined hyperlinks!]
“Am I supposed to be awake right now?”
The figure in blue scrubs stops his frantic motions. He shoots a surprised look at someone across the operating table, and then looks down at me. “Y-e-s-s-s,” he says slowly, hesitation in his voice. “Yes, I guess that would be OK.”
I cannot get a clear view of the moment’s events. “So, what’s going on?”
“We’re just finishing your surgery.”
“Yes, Mr. Blackwell. On your right leg.”
I point to something elevated straight up in the air. “Is that my leg way up there?”
Several people in blue scrubs apply what look to be wet brown towels at high speed to the extended leg. “Yes, we’re wrapping it now and putting last touches on everything.”
Screen Six laughs, Looks like the operating staff is using paper mache to put you back together.
“OK. Thank you. I think I will go back to sleep.”
And sleep I do, but only for the few moments needed by Dr. Christopher Foetisch and his first-rate surgical team to complete their part of the process, then wheel me over to the recovery room.
Even as I sleep, I am unable to be quiet. Screen Three pretends to be the Scarecrow in the “Wizard of Oz” and serenades the staff with “If I Only Had a Brain.” Staff members, wearied by the day’s fourth surgery, laugh and accompany Three’s version.
My eyes re-open in recovery, where I learn of my operating room stunts. Embarrassed, I apologize.
“Oh, please, “ assures one nurse, “don’t apologize, not at all! We found your song delightful. You’ve been very easy to take care of” – she exchanges winks with two other nurses – “unlike some of the other patients we’ve had today.”
“Are you talking about when I first arrived?”
“What do you mean?”
Let me tell it, pleads Five. Anesthesiologist Kyle walks in, picks up your chart and studies it intently. He shakes his head, says, “This won’t do,” and asks to see EKG results. The head nurse says, “We don’t have results. Somebody decided Mr. Blackwell is so healthy we wouldn’t need to run an EKG, though the last was two years ago.
So, pipes up Four, Kyle walks over to you and asks how you’re feeling. “Fine,” you say. Honestly, I’m not nervous about this at all.”
“Yeah, I can tell.”
Screen One laughs. You thought that was going to be good news.
Four resumes. “I’m not afraid,” you said. “Seriously. I’ve got many friends praying for me. I’ve got Dr. Foetisch working on me again, and he’s the one who did the excellent job on my shoulder after the dog attack. I’ve got my beautiful brown-eyed bride right here with me. Why should I be afraid?”
Then Kyle asks, “You an athlete?” and it catches us all offguard.
Not me, boasts Six. Maybe the other screens, but not me. I know you’re an athlete because I work hard to keep you motivated and in shape.
Four continues, Anyway, Kyle follows that surprising question with another. “What’s your heart rate normally run?”
You ask, “Per minute?” and when he nods, you say, “In the 50s.” All the nurses stop their work and look at Kyle, who says, “EKG. Now. I want those numbers!”
Kyle answers your unasked question. “You’re in the low 30s. I get you’re calm and so forth, but we don’t operate on anybody running with heartbeats like that. What can we do to accelerate your pulse?”
Six cheers, You asked them to bring Laura in, have her lift her shirt and give you a kiss! Two assures me, Don’t worry. He whispers, Laura never even knew you said that. They gave you a shot instead.
The narrative halts as my bed gets rocked by the unexpected blast of the heavy curtain separating me from the next patient. Three smiling nurses dive out of my view into the curtained depths as an angry voice roars to life.
Well, says Three, after trying different dialects, he’s clearly not responding to English, French, Spanish, German or even Papua New Guinean.
As curtains boom and female voices call for security, Five suggests the language barrier isn’t the real problem: You are beside one very angry man and you can’t move a muscle.
Six growls, “Still got our teeth!”
“There!” shouts an exhausted nurse’s voice, “snowed him!”
Offers Four in doctor tones, She is saying she’s just sedated him.
”Cancel security,” rasps the same tired female. “That shot would knock down a horse!”
Rustling sounds suggest nurses pull themselves together, collect their thoughts and brush back coiffed hair that went astray in the struggle. Three women peer back around the curtain with faces far rosier than moments before.
“He,” says a flushed-looking smaller nurse to me, “is ‘the other patients’ we’ve had today.”
To speed their personal recovery from the Recovery Room, I tell them ADHD Powered stories about the Blackwell family. As most listeners do, the nurses laugh in disbelief, question how Mom ever made it through six high-energy children, and then –
Dive back onto the screaming patient! shouts Six. Your roomie must be a Clydesdale – the shot to “snow” him lasted just seven minutes!
Despite brief difficulties with pain management, I get released a day early. Lovely Laura takes me home, waking herself every two hours to maximize my pain management.
With her shirt on, beams Two.
We conquer physical therapy together. I breathlessly, arduously move through the motions she directs while reading from our PT instruction sheet. I break into sweat and moan from start to finish of my Herculean effort.
“Done!” she commends me. “That’s one down!”
Our only mishap this first day comes as my Angel of Mercy carefully extricates me from a glorious shower. All obstacles are removed from my path. The floor is certified free of moisture. I am toweled dry. My walker, precisely positioned, awaits my solid grip. I shuffle my “lifeless” right foot into place and Laura steps intimately close to help.
Unnnnggggghhhh! shout all six screens, fighting pain as I shake in place.
“Honey,” Laura says, winsome face full of worry, “use your words. Tell me. What hurts? What should I do?”
“G-get …off … m-my … toes.”
Postscript – I slept through the surgery. The good doctor did not knock me out (he administered a block that numbed a large section of my leg), but he did give me something to send me off into what my friend Gina calls “La La Land.”
Probably for the best, really. Insurance had insisted I see a trio of videos to prepare myself for the surgery. While all three were informative, the third detailed nearly a dozen different ways in which death might result during the operation or as a result of post-surgery complications.
Among that list of unpleasant endings was this item: “Cavities or gum problems can increase the risk of getting an infection in your new knee.”
I laughed and laughed until Miss Laura explained such infections spread rapidly because they travel in your bloodstream. So, let me leave you with this advice before your next operation: brush your teeth well. Sleep through your surgeries. And practice up on your singing.