As I mentioned in my last entry, I was to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery last Friday at Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket, RI. I did, and I live to tell the tale. It really is remarkable what they can do these days. I arrived at the hospital on Friday morning at 6:30, and was home by noon. After checking in, going against the advice of my “friend” Joe Dias- “Get there an hour earlier” he said. “It’s going to take a while for them to shave you down.”, I nervously waited for Dr. Dubois to do his thing. It seemed like an eternity, but in reality, it was about an hour. In that time, at least 7 people asked me name, date of birth and what I was there for. I was a little too agitated to give a “wiseguy” answer, so I played it straight. “Steve Hyder, August 14, 1961, my left knee.” Finally the good Doctor showed up wearing a Celtics surgical cap. “What did that mean?” I wondered to myself. Would he do a good job for the first three quarters of the operation and blow it in the final minutes? Was he, like KG, Ray and the Truth, getting older and not as good as he was in 2008? I needed to relax. Dr. Dubois is a tall, sophisticated, dashing and debonair looking dude with a nice relaxed attitude. He took out a “Sharpie” (one like I’d use to sign autographs if anyone ever asked) and put a big star on my left knee. I guess surgeons are no different than ballplayers or broadcasters. Guys look out for each other. He was talking me up to the anesthesiologist, a good looking gal who was getting ready to “gas” me at any moment. “Did you know our friend here Mr. Hyder is the radio announcer for the PawSox?” She politely smiled, looked at me and said “Clay Buchholz used to live in my apartment building. He was my neighbor when the tires were stolen from his car.” Instant connection! Guys are a very different breed. Moments away from surgery and you’re lying there wondering if she liked you. What’s not to like? The partially shaved leg. The hospital gown. The terrified look on my face. That was the last I saw of her. Another “medical type” informed me that my surgeon was a Yankees fan and the Celtics hat was a rare departure from his usual NY cap. I asked if it was true. He just smiled, winked at me and said “You have to know your audience”. I didn’t delve further into the topic because I passed out. Next thing I remember I was lying in a bed, left knee wrapped. It was over. I was elated that I lived through the operation. I was thrilled that he performed the surgery on the correct knee (couldn’t say right knee because it was the left one…get it?) I felt surprisingly good. The anesthesia wore off, they gave me a couple of saltines and a can of ginger ale. A fellow named Don came in and showed me how to use crutches and suddenly a wave of nausea hit me. I’m not sure if it was because the medication was getting to me, or if I was getting sick listening to his story about his sons’ baseball career. (It was the coaches’ fault.) Anyway, I was ready to be sprung from the place. I got dressed, they put me in a wheelchair and this 80 year old candy striper started wheeling me through the halls of Memorial Hospital. I wished I was back with “crutch guy” hearing another tale. I felt another wave of nausea and I warned the old bat that I needed a “Barf Bag”. She honestly asked me why. I told her that it might have something to do with her trying to break the sound barrier with my wheelchair. I felt like Chuck Yeager. She frantically searched for a little basket or pan, frightened that if I did “lose my saltines”, she’d have to clean it up. “You do look a little green around the gills” she admitted.
The knee continues to feel better every day. I’m starting to get around without the crutches. The throat is still a little sore from the intubation (breathing pipe down the throat) The anesthesia and Percoset are happily out of my system so I haven’t been “sick” in a couple of days. I am saddled with another terrible affliction, however. BOREDOM. I’ve watched as much TV as humanly possible. Done every croswsword puzzle I can get my hands on. Logged onto every website I know of. I even watched every single moment of the Oscars (Congratulations Jeff and Sandra). I am going stir crazy. My daughter Eva suggested I take a cruise in my car around Ocean Drive in Newport with the windows open and an Eagles CD blasting in the stereo. It sounds like a really good idea. She knows her dad. So now you know what it’s like for a 48 year old guy to get knee surgery. Thank the Lord for Spring Training and my upcoming trip to Fort Myers.