Thursday, January 1, 2004

The Life of a Patient

© June 2004
By Dr. Tim Maggs

It was just about one year ago, July 1, 2003, that both Kobe Bryant and I spent the day on an operating table having our torn meniscus in our knees operated on. For me, it was the first time I'd ever been admitted into a hospital. For Kobe, it was the hangover from a night gone bad. Probably the only day Kobe Bryant wished he was Tim Maggs.

But, that's not the point. The point is, I was a patient for a day, and boy I loved it. I was so unfamiliar with being "the issue". My aches and whoas were everyone elses' concern for this one day, and I just couldn't enjoy it enough. "Can I get you a glass of juice?". "Are you comfortable enough?". Foreign territory for me.

I clearly remember laying on the operating table on this virgin voyage, and the surgeon saying, "just pretend you're winning Boston". I laughed, told him I'd already used that dream to get me to this point, and that was it. Lights out. For about 3 hours. When I awoke, I was somewhere with a bunch of people busily running around. I felt like a hunk of ground beef thawing on the counter. Now, don't think I'm complaining. I was still laying down, which is unnatural for me in my life, and still feeling pretty good, as a result of whatever they gave me.

As I began thawing a little quicker, all of a sudden, they were forced to have to deal with me. "Are you okay? Can I get you anything?". I still can't believe that somewhere between walking into the hospital that morning and this nurse asking me these questions, someone cut open my knee and cut out the "bad guy", beginning my recovery back to freedom. Wow, this wasn't bad. I used to feel for those people going through surgery. Forget that. I'm going to be looking for reasons to get under that knife. But, getting a little ahead of myself, I still hadn't come down from the drugs, and the 6 weeks of no running hadn't even begun. So, I decided to slow down before asking about my second surgery.

Colonoscopy Time

I love my brother-in-law, Dr. Peter Purcell. The only down side to Pete is, he wants everyone to get a colonoscopy. Pete's a gastro-guy. Well, I must have forgotten my enjoyable trip through knee surgery as I cancelled at least 3 appointments for my first colonoscopy. Let me tell you, the heat was on me to get one, from family to friends. Once you hit 50, it's a lot easier to just give it up and sign on the dotted line.

So, May 13, I walked into the hospital under entirely different circumstances. My thoughts immediately went back to Kobe. I wondered, if Kobe were going through a colonoscopy today, I can guarantee you he wouldn't have been charged with anything last night, except loitering---on his toilet. He never would have bothered anyone else. My smile was probably a little out of place for the average guy getting his first scope, but I also thought of my prior night, with my 4 year old getting everyone worked up, my 10 month old screaming wildly, and Trudy and my older boys just doing damage control while I sat helplessly preparing for my scope. For those who haven't taken this trip yet, don't let anyone tell you how bad it is. It's really a breeze.

I can still remember after one of my Boston finishes, my running partner Doug Griset and I shared sink and toilet for at least an hour. The prep for this scope involved no one else. The toilet was all mine. Most runners have been well beyond "the night before a colonoscopy".

The next day, I was right back into being the patient. "Are you comfortable? Can I get you anything?". The good stuff just didn't end. As they had me robed, on my side looking at the monitor to witness that I had a colon, Pete walked in and said, "Welcome to my world". He was so happy I was there, as he's been such a part of my world for years. I don't know if I said it or thought it, but "Pete, be kind" were words that flashed through my brain.

As I awoke about an hour later, realizing I got to watch nothing on that monitor, word came back to me that everything was perfect. No problems. I don't know if that good feeling I was experiencing was the fact I was healthy or the fact I was the patient. I didn't care. Both were good as far as I was concerned.

And, when Pete told me, "We won't need to see you again for another 5 years", I wondered if it was time to consider a vasectomy. Oh well..I'll keep you posted.

My final note, all kidding aside, is to get your colonoscopy sooner rather than later. Knowledge is power. Until then, have a great month.

No comments:

Post a Comment