About the proximity, I mean.
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, then you also know there was a minor complication that required me to stay overnight for observation, which is something I’ve come to expect when getting my annual psych exam for the fire department — but not when it comes to surgery.
What most people DON’T know is that I was manscaped by a nurse named Vern.
And no, that wasn’t short for “Laverne.”
Over the last few days, the question “How’d it go?” has been asked by many thoughtful people. I realize they are referring to the surgery in general, and not if I’m “parting my hair” differently after being manscaped. However, this seems like a good jumping off point since, once the electric razor started buzzing, I felt like jumping off the hospital bed. Keep in mind that most people are relatively anonymous when they go in for surgery. But Vern opened our conversation like this:
“You probably thought you could get by without me knowing who you are, but I’ve been faithfully reading your colum for years, Ned… Can I call you Ned?”
“You’re the one with the razor, Vern,” I said. “You can call me anything you want.”
“Ha! After all these years of reading your stuff, I feel like I know you!”
“Well Vern,” I said between razor swipes, “you certainly know me now.”
Vern laughed, which I quickly discovered is NOT something you want to have happen when someone is trimming anywhere near your [censored].
When Vern was done, we shook hands and sealed our friendship with hand sanitizer before he left to prep someone else. That’s when I began to overhear a conversation on the other side of the curtain in the recovery area. Keep in mind the drugs I had been given were starting to take effect. So instead of hearing the doctor say “Well, we managed to get rid of your bulge,” it sounded like “Well, we managed to get rid of your balls…”
I don’t remember much after that because I passed out. I’m still not sure if it was from shock or the drugs.
When I woke up three hours later, I saw my family, smiled at them, and immediately checked for my testicles.
Not necessarily in that order.
My doctor was also there, and explained how I had begun coughing during surgery and aspirated, forcing them to intubate. As a precaution, they wanted to keep me overnight. That’s when I noticed my “E.T.” finger and asked if I could just heal myself with it.
After an awkward silence, Dr. Park told me everything else went really well and, as far as he was concerned, after a few days of rest I could return to work. I briefly considered the idea of getting a second opinion about that last part, but realized it would mean more hospital time — so I accepted his prognosis.
Later that evening, I was told not to get out of bed or use the restroom without the help of a nurse. So naturally, in the middle of the night, it felt like I had consumed a 55-gallon drum of Gatorade. There was no time to wait for a nurse. And since I was now hooked up to portable monitors, there was no reason why I couldn’t make it to the commode on my own and take as much time as I wanted. Especially since the A&W chicken fingers, curly fries and large chocolate malt my wife had smuggled in were also ready for departure. Because I knew it could be a while, I also grabbed my iPod so I could listen to music or, if necessary, watch a two-hour documentary on PBS.
As expected, I made it to the restroom unassisted and in the dark without any trouble. With a sigh of relief I locked the door, flipped on the light and immediately discovered why a nurse might’ve been helpful.
After spending the last few days on the couch, it actually feels good to be back in the newsroom sipping coffee, listening to AC/DC and tapping on the keyboard. In fact, my editor stopped by my desk and, in a rare display of affection, told me it wasn’t the same around here without me.
She then added, “I could get used to that.”
As you can see, things around here have pretty much returned to normal.