Joanne, I’m sorry about what happened with your brother-in-law. Despite what is said for legal purposes, my own private review of the literature shows that general anesthesia is pretty safe nowadays, and the monitoring involved looks like the kind of monitoring NASA does for a rocket launch. I’m not all that concerned about dying on the operating table, and since I plan to confess the day before surgery (one of the stops on my pre-op checklist route, including laying in enough frozen meals to last me a few weeks,) as the song says, que sera, sera. I’m at peace with all of that, and honestly, my neuro symptoms of this herniated disc might take off some purgatory time for me!
And yes, every one of us is in danger of death at any time from whatever cause. That point was most dramatically hammered home to me on September 11, 2001 because I was still living in New York at the time. You can be as healthy as a horse, in the prime of your life, and be struck down by a random act of violence. But that’s not the purpose of the Sacrament of the Sick.
I’m concerned primarily about my postop recovery time at home, and am relieved that I can receive communion, and if necessary, confession while I’m immobilized. I’ve gone through orthopedic surgery before (shoulder and hip) with prolonged recovery times, and vaguely recall sitting in front of EWTN back in the early nineties, with my arm in an immobilizer (like a sling on steroids,) stoned up to my eyeballs on Dilaudid that they gave me for a few days postop, and getting into an argument with Mother Angelica’s show while I was sitting in the recliner (I didn’t call in, I was just yelling at the TV for some unknown reason!) I also recall hallucinating that a deer had gotten into the living room (which was funny, since I lived in a third floor loft in Chelsea at the time, and didn’t even have a living room to speak of,) and screaming at my roommates to lure the deer outside with carrots and we had to have some in the refrigerator. Nuts, absolutely nuts! I don’t handle early postop very well, I’m afraid, especially when heavy-duty pain medication is involved.
An old friend of mine who is a priest in New York brought the sacraments to me for a couple of weeks until I was off the heavy duty medication and could take a taxi to Mass. Fr. Greg couldn’t care less that I was wearing a tank top, some capri sweats, and was swaddled with an Indian blanket when he brought the Eucharist to me, and my Catholic roommate was permitted to receive communion as well. Once I was okay to get to Mass, obviously, communion didn’t present much of an issue.
Anyways, it will be a few weeks before I’m going into the hospital. I’m looking forward to getting this taken care of properly. And yes, I’ve modified my diet to include more protein, more iron, and more vitamin D, cut way back on my smoking (hopefully, I’ll be able to quit altogether by then,) and am doing my assigned home physical therapy exercises with all the discipline that I used to rehearse when I was performing.
I appreciate everyone’s prayers and good wishes.
And now, when my TENS session is over, I have to go to the pool and do what swans do best: Swim. I’m doing laps, primarily the backstroke, three days a week, as well as walking a mile twice a day. The doctors want me active, not just laying around.
If you have your health, thank God every day for it. It is one of the blessings that we so often take for granted.