Turn! Turn! Turn! To everything There is a Season Pete Seeger
Most of us boomers know that Pete Seeger’s “Turn! Turn! Turn! To everything There is a Season” (my favorite version was by the Byrds) was taken almost verbatim from the Book of Ecclesiastes. Well, the Bible and Pete missed a season – the Surgery Season, which is taking hold in Casa Twitchy right now.
I wrote about Mr. Twitchy’s shoulder surgery a couple of weeks ago. This week it was my turn. I have been having difficulties with my right hand for a couple of years. A stubborn trigger finger came back – worse – after 2 cortisone shots, accompanied by carpal tunnel in the same wrist. At first, I thought the numbness and tingling in my fingers when I woke up was from PD, but wearing a brace at night did not help. After several visits to a hand surgeon over the last two years, the consensus was to fix them both surgically. That it was my dominant and Parkinson’s side was of some concern; that it became difficult to hold a tennis racket or a pen was what really ticked me off.
My hand doctor is very young. VERY young. But very highly regarded and I had gained a lot of confidence in his judgment. (OK, very handsome, too.) He kept referring to what we were doing as a “procedure.” Seems to me that, if you are dealing with a scalpel and anesthetic you are talking “surgery.” But, if it has to be done, a rose is a rose. Or whatever.
All of us have been through this drill, even for a mere “procedure.” Arrive early. Fill out paperwork. Wait to be called (even minutes seem like hours). Go in for prep. Change into the stupid-looking gown. Get the IV started. And on and on. It all went smoothly, and as the very nice volunteer who was helping me (turns out he’s a retired lawyer who had represented many of the doctors at Cedars) assured me that my doctor was outstanding, there he was, walking in with his backpack and . . . breakfast[!!!]. That visual made him look like he was about 18! Had he gotten younger? Or had I aged another 20 years in the last two weeks? Or ten minutes?
I settled into my hospital bed and the nurse went over all of the details and my meds with me. I mumbled something about the cocktail of PD meds that I think is overwhelming but she sweetly assured me that, in the scheme of things that she sees, this was nothing. (Fortunately in this regard, I was able to take my Sinemet that morning, so at least I was shaking only a little.)
The bottom line is everything went fine. The “procedure” took less than an hour by my count. My now under-aged doctor assured me that both procedures had been unquestionably necessary and I would feel much better. And he said I would be close to fully recovered in about three weeks. More importantly, I could get back to tennis again soon. My hand was wrapped in gauze, and I was given a sling with orders to keep my hand elevated. Mr. Twitchy and I went home with our matching slings.
The perspective came the next day. Mr. Twitchy’s cousin (separated in age by 29 days) saw the post and called to check on us, but also to use the occasion to reveal that she has been dealing for several months with a very nasty cancer situation and that her husband has had some recent significant and challenging health issues as well. Perspective.
So I joined Mr. Twitchy in the ranks of the disabled. We had to schedule our surgeries so close together (2 weeks) in large part so we would be recovered enough to attend the World Parkinson’s Congress and a pre-trip we had scheduled before it. I know my sling will be gone; he will probably have his along for protection while traveling. But the next couple of weeks will certainly be interesting.
And it all made me think about Mr. Twitchy’s words in the guest post he wrote couple of months ago about our sacred duty in these matters:
Each of us has to accept that, as long as we are on THIS side of the sod, something is going to get us. And that it is our duty to deal with whatever that is as best we can, to stay on THIS side of the sod as long as we can, and to be as happy about that as possible.
Humor and perspective. The sword and shield to guide us through the slings (pun intended) and arrows of aging.