By Kay Knox
A few days after being invigorated throughout the weekend of the fun Carpet Bowling Tournament, and so happy I had not missed out, I came down to earth with a thump. Through no fault of mine, I was not able to keep a long-awaited medical appointment. Not being reticent about my cranky hip, I had let friends and family in this country and elsewhere know that the date for replacement surgery was September 13th. “No trekking or golfing for me for a while,” I told everyone.
I had followed every instruction to the letter, gone to Vernon for classes and check-ups with the surgeon as required. I’d been delighted when Dr. Helmcken Hospital here in Clearwater had the paperwork on hand when I showed up on the assigned dates to give blood. The lovely, local Red Cross ladies at the old ICBC office willingly handed over crutches and other equipment on my list. I tested the magical sock aid, and practised with the long-handled picker-upper. I even started doing the post-op exercises so I would know what to do after I had my new hip. I was ready – but definitely not for what actually happened.
All was going according to plan at our friend’s place in Vernon on the morning I was to go to the hospital. Tough as it is for this gal, I skipped breakfast and my morning coffee because that’s what my instructions said. The time to be at Vernon Hospital was 11:10 am. Then, at 9 am my cell phone rang. “I have bad news for you,” a voice said. “Your surgery has been cancelled.” No words can describe how I felt. “You’ll be phoned on Monday about your new date, and she will work around your calendar.”
“I was expecting to have my hip replaced today!” I expostulated in disbelief. “There is absolutely nothing on my calendar for the next three months.” While pleasant and apologetic, this lass had no idea of the blow she was dealing out.
But yes, after four seemingly endless days, the phone call came as predicted and I have my new date. It turns out an anesthetist was sick and an operating room had to be closed. “You’re not special,” chuckled this friendly voice when I asked if others had been similarly affected, “and we aren’t picking on you!”
Well, I had some brekkie and coffee and soon after that first devastating phone call, John and I packed our bags and left. “Let’s go to our favourite fish’n’chip place in Enderby,” I begged, trying desperately to get something enjoyable out of an unbelievable day. Even better, one of my former students now lives in Salmon Arm. She had been planning on visiting me in hospital, but instead we were able to catch up with her during her lunch hour. Sensing my distress, she held my hand throughout our short time together.
Back in Clearwater, friends looked at me strangely. “What are you doing here?” they asked. “We didn’t want to see you here!” they would continue with warm hugs after hearing my tale of woe. My sympathetic Friday hiking buddies were a tower of strength as I once again joined them for our usual energetic outings.
And so, the time between the two dates is passing. It’s time to start practising those post-op exercises again – with diligence and optimism. Another trek to Vernon only to be sent home again would be more than I could handle…. Besides, my golf clubs await a newly bionic me, and maybe I will try carpet bowling again.