Blog: Weight of the World

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Burt Ross

Earlier this year, I had surgery performed on my dominant shoulder to repair a tear in my rotator cuff. I truly believe the tear was caused by my bearing the weight of the world on my shoulders for so long.

Like everything else in life, you don’t appreciate something until you don’t have it anymore. It didn’t take me long to appreciate how important the use of a shoulder is. If you don’t believe me, try tying one of your arms behind your back and see how your day goes. I bet you will appreciate that arm real fast.

The surgery was performed on a Friday morning, but it was the call on Thursday from somebody at the Thousand Oaks Surgical Center that got my attention. “Mr. Ross,” the caller introduced herself. “I have a couple of simple questions I need to ask you.”

I was expecting the usual inquiries as to my health coverage, medication, etc., and so I was a bit taken aback by her first question, “Do you have an advanced health directive?” For those of you who are not familiar with this document, it gives your loved ones the opportunity to pull the plug when they have had more than enough of you.

Since all I was going in for was some arthroscopic work on my shoulder, her question was a bit unnerving, but nothing compared to the caller’s next inquiry, “Have you ever awakened during surgery?” This is not the kind of question anybody going into surgery ever wants to hear.

I am happy to report nobody pulled the plug, and I was completely elsewhere during the surgery. Thank heavens for the little things.

The written instructions to be followed after surgery were as strange as the questions asked me preceding it. For one thing, they recommended I have a companion with me for a few days. A few days — are they kidding? How about a few weeks! I was in a sling for five weeks. Try tying your shoes, putting on socks, cutting your meat, driving a car, etc. with only one hand, and not your dominant one at that. The fact is, you need a companion for at least a month.

I suggest that if you are contemplating this kind of surgery and you do not have a companion, fall in love quickly. You don’t have to be discriminating and don’t even have to worry about gender. You can dump the person in 30 days.

The best part of the protocol was its recommendation to take ambien if you have difficulty sleeping. I don’t like taking medicine without first looking up the side effects. One of the side effects of ambien is an increased sex drive. I read something on Google which said that for some folks, ambien can bring about the most explosive sexual experience, so long as the participants do not fall asleep first.

After I read that, all I could do was picture two people in a most passionate scene, reaching greater and greater pleasure, and just when the two of them were about to reach the heights of Mt. Everest, they begin to snore in perfect harmony. It gives a whole new meaning to beating the clock.