Had surgery on my right knee this morning. There was no possibility of confusion. Certainty was assured by my surgeon’s preliminary act of omnipotence when he signed my right knee in purple magic marker. I was later given the marker in a plastic ziploc bag, a single-use item in what is becoming a mostly single-use medical system, in an attempt to stem the spread of MRSA, the drug-resistant form of Staph that is terrorizing American hospitals all over the country.
Everybody has a MRSA story and so do I. It’s really my sister’s story, but me and my Reiki mob got into the act so I get to claim it as my own. My sister had breast cancer three times. The third time, the docs woke up, at long last, and decided to remove the offending tissue, her breasts.
The mastectomy was unremarkable and apparently successful, but for reasons beyond my feeble mental powers my sister elected to have a full reconstruction. That’s when things got off on a weird medical side trip. At that time, in the early 2000’s, “full reconstruction” entailed relocating a quantity of muscle tissue from the abdominal area, and using it to build credible breasts on the chest.
This is fine as far as the breasts go, but the impact on the abdomen is another story altogether. Very slimming but leaves the abdomen without sufficient tone to hold the internal organs properly. To replace the pirated muscle tissue, doctors came up with a mesh product that was supposed to provide stability and essentially function like lath in an old-fashioned plaster wall. But it hasn’t panned out as expected.
The mesh has been such a monumental failure in fact, there are law firms dedicated solely to prosecuting damages against the mesh manufacturers and any doctors or hospitals foolish enough to have installed it. In many instances its results have been fatal. Fortunately my sister knows a Reiki Master.
For a few years after her reconstruction, it seemed Barbara was in the hospital no less than quarterly to have fluids drained from her abdomen. This went on and on until finally the doctor said enough was enough. So after draining the accumulated fluids, he admitted her instead of sending her home and did exploratory surgery the following morning to see what in hell was going on. What he found was truly disgusting. The mesh was loaded with infection. So he excised it and to hell with abdominal muscle tone.
So far so good, but the next day a post-procedure X-ray revealed they had overlooked a hunk of the rotten stuff, so they went in again, Now this was the third surgical procedure in as many days and apparently you can’t tempt Fate three times and get away with it. They finally had all the offending mesh out, but now Barbara had a full-blown case of MRSA and off to the Intensive Care Unit she went.
Needless to say, by then she was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted, not how you want to be feeling when you find yourself at Death’s door. Which is where me and my Reiki mob got into the act.
When the odds are stacked against you, and you’re headed down for the last time, Reiki comes into play. Call it Divine Intervention, Inspired Prayer, Laying On Of Hands, hell call it A Miracle (many do) or call it Magic. We don’t care what you call it. If you really push us into a corner, we’ll probably just call it Love.
I called her. Her voice was thin and gave the impression of someone in the process of disappearing. Tired, worn out, fading…I was scared. So was she. I told her we would send her energy, but she would have to let it in. How she wanted to know?
“Just decide to let it in.” She was uncertain whether I had lost my marbles or was speaking in tongues, both of which seemed more likely to her than a literal translation of this simple statement. She wanted to know how exactly one “lets it in.” I explained all she had to do was decide or intend to let it in. Too easy for most Western minds. But under the circumstances, she said she’d give it a try.
The next morning she was scheduled to have a blood test. “We need to see a drop from 12 to 8,” the doctor explained. “We’ll know in a few hours.” I called when I guessed the results would be in.
“Well, do you feel any different today?” I asked. At first she didn’t know what I was talking about. Was I becoming more inscrutable, or was the infection eating her brain? Then it hit her, “Oh!” she yelled the way people shout “Eureka!” when they suddenly comprehend a problem in mathematical logic. “Oh!, that’s what happened!”
That morning she’d woke up early and full of pep, leaped out of bed and started cleaning her bathroom…yes the one in ICU. Perfectly normal behavior for Barbara, so she thought nothing of it. But the ICU nurse didn’t see it that way.
When she came in and discovered Barbara standing on the commode washing the shower stall walls, she became instantly apoplectic. “What are you doing out of bed?!” she demanded to know. It wasn’t a question. “Cleaning the bathroom” Barbara replied in perfect Capricorn deadpan. “Well get back in bed this minute!” the nurse ordered. “You’re a very sick woman and you’re not supposed to be out of bed!” I love it when people state the obvious with such emphasis. It’s like announcing “The sky is blue!” as if you’re noticing it for the first time. “Back in bed. Now!” the nurse demanded.
In addition her count was down from 12 to 7. Not bad for just deciding to let it in. She was discharged the next day due to unexplained rapid remission.
That’s my MRSA story. For the record, Barbara was in a hospital on Long Island. New York. I live in Washington State, and the Reiki Masters were from such far-flung places as Ankara, Turkey; London, England; Sydney, Australia; Bangkok, Thailand; India; Germany, and the list goes on. I believe about a baker’s dozen of us participated. Don’t be alarmed, though, we only work for the highest good of all concerned. A great thing about Reiki is that it can’t hurt you. If it hurts you, it wasn’t Reiki.
So this morning, Richard and I got up at 5:30 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time so the Doc and I could meet at Valley Hospital. It’s always a pleasure to see him, but today was very special. Today, he cleaned up my knee cap joint and did a lateral release of the Patella, which shifted the movement over to the remaining bit of cartilage and away from the area without. I hope I hope this relieves my knee pain and alleviates the need for a knee replacement, which should be avoided at all costs. We shall see.
Before the surgery, while I was conscious and after the surgery, while I was conscious I was very clearly aware of my fellow Reiki Masters around the country and around the world generously flooding my physical, emotional and spiritual space with beautiful clear Chi, Qi, Universal Life Force, Christ Light or whatever you like to call Love, which is Light, which is Source and which is capable of healing anything you or I can come up with to be afflicted by.
Earlier this week, I made an appointment for accupuncture on Sunday, two days from now. When he heard I was having surgery today, the reception person asked if I really thought I would be able to get there so soon after surgery. “Oh no problem” I said. “I have no doubt.” My Reiki friends will see to that.
In 2005, I had my left Achilles tendon lengthened, a post-polio fix. Tendons are slow healers, so they put my lower leg in a plaster cast designed to last six weeks. My friends sent Reiki. I was painfree, so of course I was up and about in the house, unaware that my level of activity was shall we say excessive under the circumstances? The next day I was back in the doctor’s office getting a new cast because I had broken the thing in three places and it was falling off.
Last Spring, I had a tendon reconnection in my right shoulder. When I went in for my 8 week checkup, the doc looked me over and began his standard discussion for 12 week rechecks. “So,” he began, “you’re at 12 weeks now and you’ll be wanting to begin to increase your level of activity…” I interrupted. “Eight weeks. I’m at 8 weeks” I said. “No” he corrected, “you’re at 12 weeks.” “No Doc” I countered. “Look at my file. I’m at 8 weeks.” “What??” He looked at my file. “Wow, you are doing really well.”
I could go on. Another time.
So, back to today. The anesthetic lasted exactly six hours, wore off practically all at once at precisely 3:00, and I am painfully aware of the physical insult as I write this. It didn’t take me long to decide to take my analgesics! Whew! This is some pretty sharp pain, even though I am certain it is much less than it would be without Reiki.
I prepared for a long tenure on the living room couch, creating for myself a comfy nest with many books and possibles, computer, iPad, chargers, Bose remote for iPod, etc. intending to enjoy my time with the ice pack on my elevated knee joint as much as womanly possible.
The whole day has been fun. The nurses and doctors were all in good moods … I know because I checked with each and every one of them. My surgeon stopped by to sign my knee and asked how I was doing today. “Fine” I replied, “but more to the point how are you doing today?” Well it was one jovial exchange after another, and then I went to sleep and missed all the nasty, bloody business of a lateral Patella release.
It’s all so neat and tidy for the patient. I awoke to find my leg wrapped in a clean ace bandage, had some coffee and toast, got dressed and rode the wheelchair express to the front door where Richard picked me up and took me home. Then he went and picked up my three prescriptions, two for pain, the “pain twins” and one for inflammation, the “poison pill.”
By the time he got home with the medications, the anesthetic had worn off and I was disabused of any notion that I could get through this without narcotics. As soon as he got here, I took the meds as directed on the labels. Then I settled down to read the patient information. This is where they scare you out of taking the stuff. Fact is, I’ve had the “pain twins” before so no surprises there, but the third medication was a new one. The doc had called it “super Motrin.”
The label information reads like a list of all the worst ways to die from modern medication. Bleeding ulcers, heart attack, aneurysm, bloody stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, blood in your urine, confusion, dizziness, disorientation, hallucinations (well that doesn’t sound too bad), red/swollen/blistered/peeling skin, seizures, severe headache, vision or speech changes, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face … essentially it’s fatal in three major body systems and annoying in all the others. But if it doesn’t kill you outright or damage you permanently, and if you take it no longer than five days and don’t mix it with anything else, maybe it will reduce your inflammatory reaction to having the membrane that controls accumulation of fluids in your joints frankly severed … aka lateral Patella release.
Oy vey. Pass the pain pills would ya?