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Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Knees 'R Us

Shortly after our 1600 mile drive
From Venice, FL to Yarmouth Port, MA,
My elderly love blew out her left knee
Which had been troubling her for some time.

Thereupon began our tortuous adventure
In the replacement of bone with steel.
Our local trained mechanics in such endeavors
Were booked until September.

So off we went to a rendezvous with
A cocky young orthopedist at a Boston hospital,
Which specializes in joint installation,
To be scheduled for an operation in three weeks.

On the way, though, we suffered
A fender bender on the streets of Boston
And had to be towed the 75 miles
All the way back to Cape Cod.

Our next visit, via the proletarian bus
Was for "pre-screening," wherein six persons
Grilled us for four hours, to ascertain
Any reason why the surgery should be verboten.

Having run the gauntlet successfully,
We reported a day before surgery for a "stress test."
She has a heart as strong as a mule, so the
Test was clearly aimed at revenue and liability.

Pre-op preparation began at six a.m. the next day,
And involved the same amount of form entries.
The anesthesiologist was particularly suspicious
About coping with an 82 year old lady.

The operation was a grand technical success
According to the surgeon, and so it may be.
Then the recovery process, being so short,
Was what used to be called "intensive care."

A two day recovery before discharge was
Clearly insufficient, so another day was added.
Record-keeping rivaled personal care
For the attention of the nursing staff.

The surgeon has a policy of
Sending his patients home rather than to rehab,
On the theory that they will be motivated
By circumstances to get up and be active.

In theory going home directly makes sense;
In practice it makes difficult demands
On caregivers, in our situation,
A capable daughter and an elderly husband.

But we coped, and managed to comply
With the mass of discharge instructions,
And subsequent advice and directions from
The doctor, nurses, therapists, and hospital staff.

Yes, the patient is progressing nicely.
She shows true grit in
Performing the required exercises
To restore mobility and flexibility.

(One curious footnote concerns transportation.
Medicare will only pay for an ambulance to rehab.
I insisted on hiring an ambulance to take us home.
Then we learned it may be covered as a "necessity.)

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