By about 8:30 that morning I was ready to go home. All I needed was the doctor’s OK. That was the problem.
Doctor’s are certainly some of the hardest working people I know. In some places they may have a reputation for strolling around the golf course all day, but I tell you, the ones I know spend half their lives at the hospital. They just never come to your room went you want them too.
I got a few kind visits from the nurses but that was the sum of it. Nurses can do a lot, but they can’t get you out of the hospital. Finally, around 12:30, a doctor whom I had never seen in my life burst into the room and said, “Brian?”
“How are you feeling?” he was a young-looking man, with an air of a young-looking Antonio Banderas. Maybe it was the way he let his hair fling back.
“Good. You’re going home.”
I blinked several times. That was the end of his examination? I mean, in a sense, that was what I was expecting him to say, and that was what I wanted to them to say, but I was kind of hoping for something more thorough before they let me loose out in the cruel world with just a bandage on my belly and a handful of ibuprofen. Didn’t he want to at least take a look at the wound to make sure it wasn’t festering or something like that? Didn’t he want to ask a question like what my favorite soccer team was so I didn’t say something suspicious like Barcelona?
“All right,” I agreed. “But I have some questions.”
“That’s fine. Let me get the release form ready and when I come back you can ask all the questions you want.”
He did come back and I did make all sorts of enquiries but once again this is where the medicine world tends to get kind of vague on you. Maybe it’s because they think you are too stupid to understand them, which is possible, or they can’t be bothered, but something keeps them from making you privy to vital information.
“Just take care of yourself. And don’t overdo it. Especially with weights.”
“Could you be more specific? Can I go bowling, per chance?”
“Kick box?” I was kidding.
“Not for a few weeks.”
Not for a few weeks. I couldn’t even urinate with any ease, and the man was giving me a month before I could break a person’s arm? Hmm.
“You can pick up light things, like a laptop. Just don’t pick up babies and things like that.”
And things like that. Check.
“What about my medical leave? How long?”
“Where are you from?”
He chuckled. “Listen, here things are done differently. If you work for someone else…two months. If you are self-employed, two days. Get it?”
I did, and I found it amusing, but not especially informative. “And what if I’m a teacher?”
“At least 15 days. And then see how it goes.”
Aside from the joshing, the doctor wasn’t entirely off base. A hernia repair recovery period is one thing, but your job is another. If you work out of the home and especially out of the computer, and if you can prop yourself up, then there is really no need not to do something. If you haul around sacks of cement all day or pole vault for a living, you can forget about seeing action for probably six to eight weeks. I had to deal high-strung eight-year-olds, which was a high-risk occupation for anyone anytime, so I would have to wait and see.
And that was that. He stuck out his hand and said, “put it there”, which is not what I expected from a man who repairs digestive tracts, but what the heck, this was getting more surreal by the second, so I timidly shook it and departed shortly afterward.
My time there had been pleasant, but I was looking forward to seeing how I could handle it on my own.