Healthy and wise


_by Terri Winder_

Recently, I awoke from having abdominal (or more appropriately, abominable) surgery to find my tummy held together by 14 industrial strength staples.

I was appalled to discover I’d been impaled without forewarning. In this day of super glue and duct tape, staples just don’t make sense.

I mean, think about it: if someone accidentally got a staple in their finger, what would their first inclination be? To remove it, of course!

And yet here I was, expected to meekly wear this hardware as the swelling went down and the staples remained rigid. From my perspective it looked like silver railroad ties overlying a single track or a Mona Lisa style smiley face with braces. Weird.

However, there are a lot of things associated with medical practice that seem weird to the patient, and it all begins at birth. No sooner is a baby born than his information-rich umbilical cord is discarded and his nearly bloodless heel punctured for a blood sample.

If anyone but a nurse were doing this, it would be rightly regarded as child abuse. And this is just a predicator of injustices to come.

My children have been gagged by tongue depressors and long-handled swabs; mortified by requests for samples in little plastic cups; and horrified by shots in the backside (what a cheeky thing to do!)

As far as my sons are concerned, all this pales in comparison to the Scouting and sports physicals with the accompanying “unmentionable” exam. Our doctor assured one very apprehensive son, “It’s okay, you have nothing to worry about; I never even remember who I see.”

Several months later, this same son contracted strep throat. When the doctor came into the exam room and greeted him by name, my son looked alarmed and blurted out, “I thought you said you wouldn’t remember me!”

Without missing a beat, the doctor replied, “Oh, I just remember you from the neck up.”

I’ve read that, “After 50 it’s just patch, patch, patch”.

I got a taste of this when about 10 days after my initial surgery, I woke from a second surgery to find an infection drain hose, complete with a sill spout, attached to me. The staples were nothing compared to the extensive plumbing I had now acquired.

Where had I failed to mention that I wasn’t into body piercing? And yet, I am one of the lucky ones.

At least I don’t set off alarms when I walk through airport security. Some people are walking hardware stores what with artificial joints and pins holding bones together.

I know medical personnel do their best to keep us happy and healthy, and it’s not their fault that the end of the exam tables always face the door, or that hospital gowns leave much to be desired. (I’ve often thought this must be where the phrase, ‘Keep your backside covered’ comes from).

Still, I think it’s weird when they counsel us to eat healthy, and then the first meal we receive after surgery is sugary Jell-O and salt-laden broth.

We’re told to get our rest, and then we are awakened around the clock for vital signs and blood tests and x-rays.

I’m inclined to believe that hospitals could eventually do in the healthiest of souls, if given enough time.

It’s also unfortunate that the medical bills start arriving just about the time people start to recover. I wonder how many setbacks can be attributed to the contents of those envelopes. However, I know of few people not willing to trade in their wealth for health. And I don’t find anything weird about that.

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
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