written by Norm:
It only hurts when I laugh
Your comments about this column are welcome ~ e-mail Norm at
My friend likes to say; “Life is a River”. I always thought he meant that life just continues to merrily roll along despite some ripples. Recently I found out that he is right.
In early September I was putting my golf bag on the cart in anticipation of a fun round with my pals. I felt myself falling and the next thing I knew I was face up on the parking lot in serious pain. Not “Ouch”, but pain that brings out words you haven’t used since high school. My other emotion was the realization that I had done something stupid and was in for a long day.
Someone called 911 and in no time I was in the meat wagon with a morphine drip on the way to the hospital. After waiting for what seemed like and eternity, I was in and out of X Ray. Yep, a broken hip! No do-overs, no doubt, no excuses.
I wanted to be closer to home so they put me into another ambulance and we were off again. That was Tuesday afternoon. On arrival at my new digs I was told that the surgeon of my choice only operated on Thursdays, so I had a day and a half more to wait.
I quickly learned the ins-and-outs of the American Medical Delivery System (AMDS, as we say). Bells and bongs go off constantly, day and night. There are more nurses, doctors, cleaning people, personal care associates, pill givers, bed pan experts, and assorted others than you see on ten episodes of HOUSE. But, if you need something and push the call button you may see a nurse in 20 minutes. Now, I knew I wasn’t the only person there, but it shouldn’t take that long to stick one’s head in and see what is needed.
The most disconcerting thing was this woman who kept calling out for help. She was very inventive, saying she was thirsty followed by the cry that she was losing her voice followed by the threat that she was about to die. The poor lady just couldn’t get anyone to pay attention to her. I later found out that she was delusional and only has minor problems.
Thursday came and they wheeled me into the operating room. Five people, including Dr. Kildare, awaited their newest challenge. Three hours later I had a new hip. It was a partial replacement, just the ball and part of my lower leg. The fun was about to begin.
Anesthesia does funny things. It happily makes you forget the ordeal you just went through. But it also makes you take leave of the real world. I was convinced that someone had made a mistake and I wasn’t supposed to be there. I thought I was at home on my kitchen sink and I should depart immediately. Fortunately, my wife had seen this condition before, usually, after two Margaritas. She assured me I was where I was supposed to be and told me to stop asking the nurses for their email addresses.
At this writing I have been in a private rehab facility for four days. It is something like a cruise ship: great food, quiet nights and fewer people roaming the hallways. The nurses freely give their email addresses. They are teaching me how to walk again, how to put on shoes without bending over, how to call the nurse who will come in 30 seconds.
I don’t know how long it will be before I will be at home again but I can tell you that I am very impressed with AMDS. I received timely care and people mostly knew what they were doing.
Finally, I want to thank all you tax payers who will foot my bill, which will be around $100,000. I hope to be able to do the same for you some day.
Just remember, “Life is a River”. Keep standing.
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