Entries tagged with “morphine”.


After hip surgery, my dream buffet line is short, unsatisfying and unfulfilling.

After hip surgery, my dream buffet line is short, unsatisfying and unfulfilling.

At the end of every day comes a little something I call ‘nighttime’— when Mr. Sun punches out and passes the baton to Mr. Moon who comes center stage in the sky and works it hard.

It’s the dark time. The time most people eat, watch some TV and go to bed for restful sleep. But for myself and the post-surgery set, the promise of sleep is problematic.

I nibble at an hour or two of sleep here, an hour or two there– but there is no feasting at the dream buffet. There’s no uninterrupted blast of eyelid exploration. My bladder wakes me and wants to go for a walk. Suddenly a big production is underway.

I need help hoisting my surgical leg out of bed. I need a walker for support. I need bat-vision to move through the dark on my way to Porcelain Swirly Town. I may even need another painkiller (is it time yet?).

Sleep hides in the basement.

Sleep hides in the basement.

I have gotten into a post-surgery sleep routine. I work two short shifts in bed, then slowly hobble down two flights of stairs (32 of them) to the basement where I have a pillow-topped La-Z-Boy chair. I plop myself on top of the chair like an astronaut preparing for lift-off. I pull the lever for full recline and I’m soon taken to slumberland for my third and final sleeping shift.

I awake, not necessarily well-rested but somewhat rested. So begins another day.

“Hello, Mr. Sun, you’re up awfully early today…”

The sun doesn’t talk back. Nor does the neighbor’s dog. Seems everyone’s crabby this morning.

I need the drug that drips. Not morphine– caffeine. Strong, hot, black coffee love. And maybe a painkiller chaser (is it time yet?).

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.