Jude Law, Athena, The Anesthetists & The MorgueThursday, May 24, 2007
I am cheating a tad. Today by 6:30 A.M. I will be in the waiting room of VGH emergency for surgery on my left elbow. I wrote this yesterday.
My last meal (yesterday Wednesday) consisted of two soft boiled eggs (3 minutes 45 seconds) seasoned with Maldon Salt, Malabar pepper and unsalted cultured butter. Ditto the fresh corn (two cobs, 6 minutes, high setting in the microwave ) Rosemary bought for me before she flew to Brockville to visit her sister Ruth, Wednesday morning.
Tuesday I fell down some concrete steps and landed on my rib cage with the timely contribution of my left elbow. I decided it was first important to get Rosemary at the airport the next day slightly relaxed. This I did and then I spent most of yesterday at the doctors, at the X-rays and waiting to be admitted to emergency.
A handsome young man (the orthopedic surgeon's assistant, looked like a cross between Jude Law and a sculpture of a Greek athlete) indicated all was not well but did not go into details. The surgeon (I quickly visually undraped her and she looked like Athena's equivalent to Jude Law's athlete), explained that I had a little scrap of an elbow bone lodged where is should not be. Someone had to take it out.
It was here that I made a felicitous question, "Why is orthography all to do with writing and orthopedics all to do with bones?" Athena wisely knew the answer. "In antiquity we orthopedic surgeons straightened out crooked (physically) little boys and the name stuck. Ortho means straight." I was guessing that orthography had all to do with writing well and straight and with all the right punctuation. Athena added, "It is our hope that when we finish with you, you will again be able to straighten your left arm just like you do your right."
And then it got to the basics. I was warned that I might bleed and that I might get an infection. "There are always...risks." I signed the waiver and asked her if I was going to be put to sleep. "That's between you and your anesthetist."
Since anything is possible I hope a third option (local anesthesia) is the available one. Here are the two others. The first is my photograph from an operating table of a couple of anesthetists and the other a photo I took at the VGH morgue.
Generally I am not afraid of doctors or hospitals as long as I don't see blood. But I was a bit shaken, nevertheless. Just when I was about to leave, Athena pulled out a black marker and put some marks on a spot on my left elbow. She looked at me and told me, "Don't remove that, we want to make sure the surgeon knows where to go."