Thursday, July 03, 2003

I turned 35 today. I am now closer to my 40s than to my 20s.

Your birthday is supposed to be the one day of the year that you get to do whatever you want. Some people go out to fancy dinner. Others go to a club, or a movie, or bowling. As for me, I go to the hospital for a consultation about my hernia surgery.

My mechanic treats my car with more care than people in the healthcare biz treat patients. The waiting room was a cross between the DMV and a McDonalds Drive-thru. Rather than a nice open recpetion desk, they had this claustrophobic 2-foot window in the wall that you walked up to. If you weren't standing directly in front of it, you couldn't see anything on the other side. Pretty much the only thing the receptionist said to me was "Name?" and then handed me a bunch of insurance forms to fill out.

The nurse brings me into the exam room and tells me that I'll need to change. I assume she'll give me a hospital gown to put on. Instead she hands me - a tablecloth. You know those disposable paper tablecloths you buy for picnics or birthday parties? I swear, that's exactly what she gave me. How the frak am I supposed to change into a tablecloth?! I give her a strange look, as if to ask "how the frak am I supposed to change into a tablecloth?" She looks back and says "um, I guess maybe you can just cover yourself with it or something." And leaves. Well, I was not about to sit in an exam room for 20 minutes wearing nothing but a tablecloth, waiting for a doctor to show up. I defiantly refused to wear the tablecloth, and stayed dressed. The doctor would just have to wait for me to take my pants off. Ha. (there's a strange sentence I never thought I'd say.)

The doctor comes in, starts the exam and is asking me general health questions. He asks how old I am, and I say "well, today's my birthday and I just turned 35". I expected maybe a little "Happy Birthday" or the obvious joke "gee, what a great way to spend your birthday, in the hospital." Instead I get "uh-huh... so you're generally healthy?" Thanks doc.

The good news is that most hernia operations today are done laproscopically. That's where they just make small incisions and insert teeny-tiny cameras inside you so the surgeon can disturb as little of your guts as possible. The procedure is quick, relatively painless, and has a short recovery time. The bad news is that I have a large hernia, so I need to have the traditional chain-saw surgery. It will leave a much larger scar, will have a much longer recovery time, and will be much more painful.

Happy Birthday me!

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