I had braces when I was a teenager. I don’t have any clumsy tales of braces to share, honestly I only wore them for about a year and the time went by fairly uneventfully. That is, until I went to get the braces off. I sat down in the chair as he grabbed a glorified pair of pliers and told me something that you don’t ever, and I do mean ever, want to lie to me about. ”This won’t hurt a bit”. Oh, well if its not going to hurt then I can relax and just…
Holy Mother of God did that hurt. As I held my jaw and stared at the man in disbelief he made the next fatal mistake. ”See, that didn’t hurt me a bit”. And that’s when I took a swing at him. Fourteen year old kid having to be restrained by a nurse and my mother before I ripped that old man’s arms off and clubbed his head with them until his skull caved in. Needless to say the mood turned somber from that point forward. Old man had good reflexes, I’ll give him that. Makes me think I’m not the first kid who had that reaction.
There are things in life that are going to hurt. I don’t have a problem with that. But don’t ever tell me its not going to hurt when it is. For whatever reason, I see red when that happens. Had I been two years older then I was at the time of the braces being removed, my mother and that nurse wouldn’t have been able to hold me down. I don’t know why I react to that extreme on it, even way back then when I wasn’t facing day to day pain. I strongly suspect it has something to do with that time in my life when I was very small and witnessed God knows what in that house of horror my grandfather ran.
Fast forward to my knee operation. In recovery the rehab folks show up the day after the operation to get you up. That’s about all you’re doing at that point is just standing up, sitting down in a chair while they change the sheets, then standing back up and getting back into bed. Let me tell you, its not a fun endeavor at that stage of the healing especially with both knees healing. So the guy who comes to help me with this is little compared to me. We’re having all kinds of trouble getting me up and it takes me a few seconds to figure out why. He’s terrified of me. All his weight is on his back foot like he’s ready for me to punch him when he needs the weight on his front foot for leverage. So I stop him, tell him to hold on and lets have a quick talk. Here’s what I tell him:
Look, you’re going to hurt me. That’s your job. Your job is to come in here and help me rehab these knees and that’s going to come with a certain amount of pain. So long as you don’t ever say the words “This won’t hurt” when it is going to hurt, you and I are going to get along just fine.
And from that point on, everything was fine. From what I gathered from the nurses, most young men who come in and have an operation like I had are pissed off. They are just angry at everybody and throw blame around like crazy. They just got used to seeing someone who was young and just expecting that reaction. For me though? Hell, two days post surgery I was feeling better then I had in over a year so yeah…I was pretty happy with the whole thing.
Quick aside, there was a pair of identical twins who were obviously of Amazonian descent that worked at the hospital. One was a rehab specialist in recovery, the other worked in the actual rehab wing. These women were huge, almost as tall as I am. It was hard at first to keep the two of them right in my head, especially considering the amount of morphine I had in me early on. And to make matters worse, they would switch the two out depending on the amount of patients in each area. They had fun with it and would wear their name tags in places where it was hard to see them. I can only imagine the mischief the two of them got into considering how much fun they had switching identities at work.
As the clock ticks closer to the 7th I imagine I’m going to be remembering those days in the hospital more and more. All of it was a positive experience so at least I got that going for me.