The last thing I remember was being wheeled into the operating room. I had been asked to answer the following questions on eight different occasions that morning in the hospital: What is your name, your birthdate, and what procedure are you having today?

My left hip and left foot were marked with a Sharpie Marker. All of this advanced technology was to alleviate mistakes, something like accidentally getting a lobotomy instead of a total hip replacement. Comforting, this modern medical science.

The Wedge of Truth, Strap On In!

The Wedge of Truth, Strap On In!

I remember the operating room being cold. I recall the operating table being metallic, cool and narrow. I remember someone saying something about... and I was out as the doc did his dirty deed for the next two hours, placed in the recovery area and monitored for an hour, and finally assigned my post-op home: room #405, Piedmont Hospital, Atlanta.

I awoke to numbness, a loving wife, my legs strapped to a foam wedge placed between my thighs (to keep my new ball joint at the proper angle, I guess), and a morphine drip. I was told that the operation was a success and my hip that had been replaced was “in bad shape.” Well, I could have told them that.

I was also told I could hit my morphine drip plunger every 8 minutes, if needed. I knew from past experience my brain is very good at calculating life in 8 minute intervals and issuing urgent commands to the right thumb to plunge away.

I was done. The nastiness was done. I had a 12-inch gash on my butt sealed with a row of 33 pretty surgical staples. Now came the really hard part– avoiding the catheter.