Our dinner stop was longer than I anticipated and I got home at 4:00am.  My father rose at 5:00am to take me to the surgical center and I didn’t bother trying to sleep.  As per the doctor’s instructions, I took a very long shower with an antibacterial scrubbing sponge and washed my nails and in between my toes as indicated.  I knew my shower was long when the hot water started giving out and I dressed in lose clothing after a final rinse down.  I packed a back of clothing I had from a past life to wear after surgery and my father drove me to the surgical center.  It was quiet there and I extended this quietude by turning off the television.  I posted to Facebook and changed into an examination gown.  The doctor marked where the incisions would go with a purple marker and provided a courtesy shield so I wouldn’t see it.  I felt like I was about to receive a tribal tattoo or face a microtome.
Me: Done this before?
Him: More than you know.
Me: Well, let’s see, you seem to be in your mid-fourties, you probably finished your surgical residency in your early thirties and you seem to operate four days a week.  Assuming one of the two procedures I’m getting constitutes a quarter of your business that comes out to about 50 a year for say 15 years.  You probably weren’t fully scheduled to start, so let’s say you went at full speed the last ten years and half that before.  You’ve probably done this about 500-600 times then.
Him: Actually, I hadn’t thought about it.  Sounds right, though.  You’re an actuary, right?
Me: Yeah.
Him: Makes sense.
I don’t remember the injection that knocked me out, but I woke up later and everyone was looking at my toes.  Somehow I had stubbed my toe during surgery and it was swollen and sensitive. The doctor asked me how and I mentioned that I wasn’t awake for it.  My abdomen hurt and I very much wanted to cough.  I tried to do so and I was warned that it might hurt.  I hugged a pillow and coughed.  This probably stands out as the most painful thing I’ve ever forced myself to do.  I felt like my insides were on cinders and that each movement of my diaphragm would rip it from my abdominal wall.  I was told I needed a gallon of intravenous water before surgery to raise my fluid levels and suddenly the “no fluids including water” mandate of my surgical prep period seemed odd.
I was offered a wheelchair to make it to the car and I refused.  I pivoted in the bed and tried to avoid using my abdominal muscles. It hurt like hell but I was on my feet.  I shuffled out to my mother’s car and noticed that I was wrapped up tightly in a compression garment, a secondary compression wrap, and that I had four vacuum drainage bulbs attached to me.  I made it to my mother’s, issued a single painful cough and planned to sleep.  My bed needed to allow me to stay jack knifed.  It would be a month before I could stand upright.  Sleep  involved bunching up pillows behind my back and beneath my knees.  Getting in and out of bed took about 10 minutes.  I went to sleep after taking a pain killer.  Day one of recovery had begun.