The cell has few bars, but you're not going anywhere anyway.

The cell has few bars, but you're not going anywhere anyway.

“Whaddya in for?” asks the inmate.
“Hip replacement. And you?”
“Ain’t none of your bee’s wax,” he says whittling a bar of soap into a hotel-size bar of soap. “Just never you mind,” he says as he rides a goat on a merry-go-round and his head goes Linda Blair in The Exorcist as unicorns dance a jig on hind legs and penguins play saxes and do backflips.

I wake up. It’s another nurse. She wants blood. Tie-me-off-and-jab-and-ouch-and-tape- the-bleeding-hole and I’m back to sleep again. Then woken-up in a couple hours to have my blood pressure and temperature taken.

And I go back to sleepville for a few hours until the nurse and an assistant come to prop me on my side placing pillows at my back for support.

Plus sign = Less pain!

Plus sign = Less pain!

Throughout it all, I maintain a four hour watch for “Daddy’s Little Helpers.” I’m off the morphine drip but I need something to take the edge off.

I had asked to get my pain pills every four hours, but sometimes they will miss a feeding. I learned with my last hip replacement, you never ever ever want to get behind in your pain meds. Once you get behind, it’s hell getting back to the joy of dull pain instead of suffering agonizing pain. The meds are for pain management, not enjoyment. There is no enjoyment in hip replacement surgery–I think some president may have said that.

On my legs are air-powered wraps that work pressure up and down the limbs to keep blood moving. A big danger following any operation is blood clots. These leg-air-wrappies work to alleviate that threat. And they feel good, to boot.

Another thing to reduce the risk of blood clots is giving myself daily shots in my belly with small hypos of a magic blood thinning medicine. I must do these for 30-straight days and the shots do not feel nearly as good as the leg wraps do.

So slow this time does go so slow.

So slow this time does go so slow.

During the day, I face perhaps the ultimate painful challenge– finding something decent to watch on TV. I grip the remote and channel surf up and down like an anteater in search of just one tiny morsel to enjoy. But there is little entertainment nourishment to be found.

Come mealtimes, I search the hospital menu. It reads well, but none of the food delivers on the deliciousness of the thought of said meal. I can’t say it’s bad food, who knows, maybe the drugs have altered my taste buds. I keep playing menu roulette and am served plate after plate of disappointment.

I read. Books comfort me. But I have not chosen happy literature. “Cold Spring Harbor” by Richard Yates, a brilliant writer but not a pick-me-up kind of storyteller. My other book is the last known journal of Richard Brautigan. Not long after writing this journal, Brautigan pulled his own plug. Hmm, maybe I should have packed something a little lighter.

It doesn’t matter. At this point it’s all about serving your time until they spring you. I’m serving hard time, hospital time– where every hour takes four hours to complete.