Fun with Femurs, Tattoos, Hospitals and Mark Twain

Recently, my wife broke her left leg. A displaced fracture, which means the two parts of the bone did not meet perfectly. The medical profession has a term for it. Discomfort. She had enough discomfort to be immediately admitted into a local hospital. They scheduled her for surgery the next day, less than 24 hours since her accident. The surgeons were expert and she is home and ahead of schedule on her rehab.

I was in the hospital, too, for those three days, and I have one observation to make. The room had a private bath, which was nice, but when I attempted to use the facilities, I lifted up the lid and guess what? Some joker had placed a thin strip of paper right over the middle of the commode. Other than considerable gymnastics to keep from breaking that ribbon of paper, I survived our stay.

To occupy my mind, I would occasionally stroll down the hallway. Each room had a frame outside the door with the patient’s name on a strip of paper in one slot and anything else pertinent to their care on another slight just below. There were instructions about food, special diets, and other elements of care. The slips of paper just slipped in and out easily, so, for the heck of it, I would go around and change the slips from one room to another.

Just for fun as she was emerging from surgery (which included placing a 7” steel rod in her left femur), we taped her comments as she awoke. Her observations were quite pointed and colorful; some would call them shocking. A wide variety of observations on specific people, health care professionals, and other Americana were offered extemporaneously. Until that time, I had never seen a nurse, never mind several nurses, blush.

I pulled a little prank on her, explaining that all surgical patients could receive a free tattoo while unconscious, and that we took up the offer of a freebie tat of the bust of Mark Twain. Winking. On a part of her body she could not see. Since she teaches English, it seemed appropriate. She was not initially pleased with that information.

The best thing coming out of surgery was her hearing the surgeon comment to the nurses that my beloved “has the musculature and bone density of a much younger woman.” I wrote that down and he signed it. The first step, and an enduring one, to complete mobility again.