Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
To carry her weekly column in your
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Online Since 1999
always figured I would end up on the orthopedic surgeon's
operating table sooner or later, but I thought it would be for a
knee replacement, not for a cervical disc fusion in my neck. But
here I was, asking -- actually begging -- to have my neck
Shows what pain can do to you.
On the big day, I checked into a tiny room that was as cold as a
freezer locker and received a hospital gown with no back and a
blanket so thin I could see through it . Eventually, a stretcher
arrived for me and I watched the ceiling squares fly by as I was
wheeled down long halls and onto an elevator.
The anesthesiologist put an IV hookup in my arm. I was given
meds that were supposed to relax me, but didn't. "Don't
worry, you won't wake up during surgery, we monitor your brain
waves," he said. What a relief. I hadn't considered the
possibility before that.
I wished they would turn up the drugs.
I was wheeled into what I recognized from TV as an operating
room where masked figures in blue garb hovered over me, fiddling
with various monitors. I felt a hot sensation in my arm and my
wish for drugs was granted.
"Where am I?" I asked.
My eyes burned like fire. I had a large collar around my neck to
support my head. Various medical people came in and out,
checking monitors and doing whatever it is that medical people
do to see if you are still alive.
My chest was congested and I couldn't breathe.
"Cough,"Ě they told me. So, I coughed and coughed and
nothing happened except it made my sore throat even sorer.
When I eventually woke up completely, I felt great except for
blurry vision. I was ready to be discharged and go home. It
wasn't until later that I found I felt great because I was
receiving morphine in my IV. The sneaks.
Breakfast was served --- bacon, eggs and a biscuit. I wondered
why they didn't realize my throat was too swollen to eat.
The nurse's aide came and bathed me with what smelled like
Lysol. I wondered if she was using mop water. I was too weak to
protest the burning disinfectant, but if there is ever a next
time, I intend to be a hippie and refuse baths.
By evening, it was time for my first walk. I was afraid my head
would fall off and go rolling down the hall. Two nurses dragged
me and the IV stand down the hall and wheeled me back when I
nearly passed out. By the following day, however, I would be
able to walk up and down the hall with assistance and without
I continued to cough. I'm not sure how long you can go without
sleep until you become delusional, but given a choice between
breathing and sleeping, sleep does not seem important.
I wanted to go home. Finally, on the third day the doctor came
and discharged me. A mere five hours later, I was able to leave.
I was much weaker than I realized and fell on my knees trying to
get into my house.
The bad news: the doctor forgot to put a date on the
prescription he wrote for pain meds, so the drug store wouldn't
fill it. The good news: I had pain meds left over from
I slept setting up in a chair for the first week after surgery,
if you can call it sleeping. Nights were hell, coughing all
night and trying to breathe. I called my primary doctor for an
appointment, and found that I had bacteria in my lungs
transmitted by the tubes in my throat during surgery.
I wondered why someone didn't think of that sooner.
Not fully coherent, I took pain pills along with other
medications, which must have been too much sedation as I dreamed
of being three people, one who slept, one who floated around the
room on sparkling fireworks, and one who coughed.
The doctor ordered a neck monitor to electronically stimulate my
neck and make it heal faster. I call it a high-tech witchdoctor
necklace and have threatened to decorate it with chicken bones
Surgery is gross. I do not recommend it. Pain is worse and I
recommend it even less.
Next time, I intend to find an easier way to get material for a
Copyright 2009 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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