Picture a rainy morning in Georgia. The hubby and I are up at 4 a.m. for a 5:15 arrival at St. Joseph’s for his hip replacement surgery. The streets are wet, dark and eerily quiet when we depart the house at 4:45. We pass a solitary deer and a group of four before we get to the end of our street and another two strolling on their own on Mt. Vernon.
We see a few other cars only when we get to the Peachtree Dunwoody underpass near the hospital—you know the spot, right? The intersection that’s been under construction seemingly forever, the place where traffic backs up no matter what time of day. Not today.
I turn into St. Joseph’s at 5:10 and proceed to the orthopedic wing, where I drop the hubby off. That’s right. I drop him off. I could get out of the car, escort him in, wearing my mask, and be handed a piece of paper with contact information, but I can’t wait for him. The waiting room isn’t open, and no one is allowed to wait inside as prep, surgery and recovery take place. Instead, he goes in and returns with the information I need. At 5:15, I’m headed home, and it seems fitting that “Eleanor Rigby” is playing on the Beatles channel, it’s refrain, “All the lonely people,” appropriate for the times. With no traffic, I’m home by 5:40. I encounter a bit more traffic and a herd of three deer on the way.
I think to myself, “This experience is worthy of a column.” I have visions of going back to bed, but after several cups of coffee, I’m not drowsy. I lie down to read, hoping my kindle will send me off to sleep. I turn off the bedside lamp around 6:45, and the first call from the hospital comes at 7:45. “Your husband asked me to call when his surgery started. It just did. The next call will be from the doctor.”
I roll over and try again. The call from the doctor comes at 8:48. “This is Dr. Hanna. Everything went well. Recovery should take about three hours.” Okay, I think, do I attempt one more time to snooze? The dog and cat raise their heads, but they’re not getting up, so I give it another try, thinking I have until at least 10:30.
The phone rings at 9:30, and I think, “Already?” This time it’s the recovery nurse with instructions for once I get the patient home. The hubby is awake, drinking soda, and eating crackers, and the nurse assures me the information she’s about to convey will be in the booklet I get when I pick him up, and I should expect another call telling me to hit the road in about 45 minutes.
So here I sit as I await the final call, writing about what I guess is the new normal of elective surgery. Could this become a “thing?” Drive-up or drive-thru surgery? To quote Bob Dylan, “The times, they are a-changin.’”
Author Kathy Manos Penn is a Sandy Springs resident. Find her cozy mysteries on Amazon and at the Enchanted Forest. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.