Tell Me a Good One
Tell Me a Good One
I'm really bad at telling jokes. This character flaw is a big disappointment to my husband, who loves jokes. But I tend to forget some crucial detail or I flub the punchline. More often than not, I can't remember a good one when I need it.
Today I need a good one. Or twenty.
I'm spending the day in the waiting room of our local hospital while my husband of 30-some years has surgery. He has never been sick--really sick, that is, and has only taken one and a half days off work for headcolds in the time I've known him. But today we're accepting the fact that he's got something bad.
He doesn't want me blogging about this, so that should be your first clue. But since he's under anesthetic at the moment, I'll tell you this much: He has been diagnosed with one of those illnesses that guys don't want to talk about. And they certainly don't want sharp instruments in that particular region, if you get my drift.
When faced with the three options his doctors gave him, he kept waiting for the fourth, which didn't come. And the docs were in agreement that surgery was the only real option, so Jeff finally caved.
He did not want to do this, and it wasn't just his Christian Scientist upbringing that made him resist the surgery so adamantly. He just doesn't like the idea of being sick in the first place, or going under, getting carved up and waking up to a bunch of unpleasantness ahead of him. He also hates to take time off work unless a beach is nearby.
Surgery itself doesn't seem like a big deal to me anymore. Maybe women are more accustomed to surgical procedures and medical personnel poking around our most tender parts. In just the last four years, I've had back surgery, foot surgery, breast surgery and a countless number of examinations that involve stirrups. I won't even list the number of gynecological procedures I've had in my lifetime, or the labor and delivery stories. (Except: My second child weighed eleven pounds, two ounces, folks. No C-section, either.) None of these medical events concerned me much. Even the back surgery recovery, which was supposed to be gruesomely awful, turned out to be pretty much a snap. Long ago, I quit filling the prescriptions for post-surgical pain meds because a.) I don't like using them and b.) Tylenol seems to work just fine and doesn't make me want to throw up and c.) I always seem to have a supply left over from the most recent procedure.
For Jeff, though, today is the first time he's had anesthesia. Ever.
You'll notice I'm ignoring the life-threatening aspects of today's surgery, not to mention the illness itself, entirely. I'm not ready to discuss, and he--perhaps as a result of his upbringing--ain't talking much either. This coping technique works for us. But the elephant is definitely sitting here next to me as you read this. Let's just not go there, okay? Not today. I don't need to hear about your uncle or your friend who had this same experience, because . . . I just don't. Tomorrow, maybe, but not today.
My dear husband has been at my bedside every time I woke up from an operation. He brought me snacks when the hospital food was inedible. He purchased newspapers and InStyle magazine. (Still the best mindless reading for hospitals. It requires so few functioning brain cells. Is there a male equivalent? One that won't insult the nursing staff, that is?) He tells me the same stories I've heard dozens of times, but it's comforting for both of us that he talks and I listen. Before he leaves the hospital, he always carefully shows me how to use the television clicker when I'm woozy.
The least I can do is get everything right the one day he's on the other side of the equation.
At home, I have a slew of diversions ready to keep his mind off the grim aspects of his recovery and the prospects of chemo or radiation down the road. I have a couple of seasons of Mad Men (which he's never seen) and various action movies, too. There's always ESPN, of course (still hockey season--yay!) and the NFL channel, which shows games that were played thirty years ago, but he's entralled. When he's ready for reading, a stack of mystery novels and thrillers on his bedside table looks like some architecture in Pisa, but if you have suggestions for more, I'm listening. My daughter sent him DVDs of TV shows he's never heard of and will probably like because they're funny.
But today I need jokes. When Jeff wakes up and needs to be distracted, I want to be able to amuse him. He loves a good joke. He's particularly fond of puns. (I married him in spite of that weakness.) So, c'mon, dear friends. Help me out. Got a good joke?