Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Procedure

Everyone kept calling it a procedure. Why doesn't anyone call these things operations anymore? Is that unacceptable? Is that old fashioned? Maybe referring to it as "a procedure" makes it sound routine. Maybe they just follow a check-a-box sheet of a TODO list? It seems euphemistic. Isn't a procedure defined as "a surgical operation."

The doctor said: "It couldn't have been more successful."

I think success is a binary term. Either you are or you aren't. Either you're successful or you are well, in the vernacular, a looser. In my mind success is a light switch. It's ON or it's OFF.

"How did you do with that light switch? Were you successful?"

"No, I had a little problem. I was less successful than I wanted to be. It's almost on. I did better last time. I could have been more successful."


At least he was "more successful." "Less successful" would have worried me. Of course, I was hoping for "wildly successful." Now that's a term I can understand. Wildly successful works for me. Wildly successful means of course you had fun getting to success. It gives the feel of wild abandon in reaching success. I was hoping he'd say: "The Procedure was wildly successful."

And so ends the worst of it all. Of course, the doctors and nurses never tell you everything that they'll need to do to you. You wouldn't submit to it if you knew all the details ahead of time.

And so we were up until 9:30 last night with dad. They were pulling out tubes and administering pain drugs in ICU. He had been under for about three and a half hours.

I remember my dental operation and the feeling I had coming out of the stupor. I simply thought I had nodded off for a few minutes after the "sleeping drug" had been administered. So when I cam to I asked if they had started. "Oh, you are done." It had been an hour and a half. You have no sense of time. You have no idea of the time of day.

Dad was slightly alarmed when I told him it was 6:30 p.m. His last recollection of time was 12:30 when he went in.

But the Procedure was wildly successful.

Many doctors pay their grocery bill with the money of folks who have eaten too much.