At my age?

March 31, 2011

Okay, the cancer scare has faded and I didn’t get much out of it, unless you count the euphoria of the positive outcome and the opportunity to explore melodrama. I have now transitioned into contemplating the transformative power of surgery. Why is it taking so long to get over a little six-inch incision and the removal of one of my psychologically necessary organs?

It has been four and one half weeks since the assault on my self-identity and I am doing pretty well. It is really true, you can live with just one. What I am struggling with is the slow healing process. I blame it on the doctors; they have consistently spoken negative words into my spirit for the past decade or so. It all started when I broke my collar bone. Grimacing through the 15-on-a-scale- of-10 pain, I smiled and asked the pert ER physician how long it would take to heal. She responded with the first volley of recurring negativity, “If you were a young man, I’d say six weeks, but at your age it’s hard to tell.”

My doctor for this latest adventure in healthcare must have used the “at your age” insult four or five times. “At your age, the tissue might be a little stringy making it difficult to cut through without some permanent damage to the nerve that controls your bladder.” (In truth, it was the nerve that controls feeling in the inner thigh. Incontinence was never a possibility, at least not one he mentioned.) And of course, “You should be back to normal in 6 to 8 weeks, except at your age it could take a little longer.”

These prophets of prolonged suffering have hindered my faith and thereby extended my period of recovery. Or, could it be I’m milking it for all I can get out of it?

Actually, I am doing well. Some days I feel very healthy. But I have a tendency to overdo it on those days and pay for it for a few days thereafter. Tuesday was one of those great days climaxed by a less-than-stellar display of my wisdom. I got home and the task was simple, separate some of my cows and move them to a different area for a romantic rendezvous with the bull. All went well until they rushed past the electric fence which was buried under a downed tree.

It should have been a simple application of leverage to move the decaying section of the trunk which appeared to be broken. But just as I reached the point of no return in my upward lift I realized the core of the trunk was still in tack, demanding that I follow through or risk being hurt by its collapse on me. There was a little too much pull on my abdomen. I didn’t feel any pain, but I felt the pull none-the-less. By the time I got to the house I knew I would need an extra Ibuprofen that night. What I didn’t expect was pain the next day and a general sick feeling. And so, I have been doing what I have to do and propping my feet up as much as possible.

I am confident I didn’t seriously hurt anything. What bothers me is that “at my age” recovery is taking its own sweet time. How dare he say I might have stringy tissue?