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Hip replacement surgery, for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing it, is basically a breeze. The worst part of it all came by way of the nurse who shaved the surgical site. She, and I’m being more than kind, was a sadistic, man-hating demon who enjoys inflicting as much pain as possible in a very short period of time.

She tore open a package containing a razor and then came at me with two glowing eyes and a flickering forked tongue, while reciting some sort of Charles-Mansonish incantation.

When the razor hit the flesh, dry, by the way, it felt as if she’d begun to peel away my skin one layer at  time. I asked her to slow down a bit but my tearful pleas only seemed to fuel her fire.

She was relentless, and evil. She was the the love-child of the Grinch and Freddy Kruger with a side order of Dahmer. The woman has issues.

She, while standing there with razor in hand, told me to remove all of my clothing, leaving nothing but a smile or frown. That choice was mine to make. But everything else had to go.

The surgeon entered my room and signed my left hip. He wished me luck, an odd thing to say since the extent of my luck was in his hands.

Nurses popped in and out and each were as sweet as a slice of Grandma’s homemade apple pie. The “Shaving Demon” should take lessons from them.

The post-surgery doctor popped in to, again, wish me luck and to tell me that I was in extremely capable hands. I already know this because we’d done our homework. My surgeon’s track record is excellent. Besides, I really like the guy. His personality is top-notch and he doesn’t pull any punches.

The anesthesiologist spent a bit of time with me and he, like the others, quickly learned my odd and quirky sense of humor. We spent several minutes cracking jokes while he adjusted dials, knobs, and switches on something that looked like the Wayback Machine from the Rocky and Bullwinkle TV show. His one-liners had the flavor of Phoef Sutton’s dialog from the TV show Cheers, a series Phoef wrote.

And then it was time …

Three nurses approached the side of my bed and asked me to sit up with my legs dangling over the side. The nurse in the middle pulled me close, placing the top of my head just above her cleavage. The other two wrapped their arms around me and held me tightly. More nurses stood ready, as backup, I suppose, in the event that I went all Tasmanian Devil. I surmised, being the savvy detective I am, that what was about to take place was not going to be a high point in my life.

The anethesiologist held up a gilded box containing a sword needle that Indiana Jones would’ve given his very life to obtain. To me, it looked to be approximately nine feet in length with a spearhead large enough to bring down a T-Rex.

The nurses, all at once, grabbed and pulled me close in a death embrace. And that’s when the needle punctured the flesh at my lower spine. This injection was to deaden my bottom half to the point of feeling nothing from the waist down.

With all of the pagentry, I was expecting some horrific and unbearable pain. Pain that not even Superman could endure. But no, it was nothing more than the usual stick.

Two hours later I opened my eyes and it was over. My former hip was gone. Out. Done. Garbage. In its place is a manmade steampunkish device that promises to be a welcome addition to my body.

The best part of it all is that the pain was gone. That horrible pain I’d experienced for well over a year …. was no more.

So, how do I feel about health care in Delaware? Well, finding a primary care physician was an impossibility. There’s a real shortage of doctors in this area and the closest appointment I could find was in the summer of 2019. I’d started the search in the fall of 2018. So I tried making an appointment with a nurse practitioner at the University of Delaware. She saw me two days later and my surgery was scheduled asap.

I couldn’t be more pleased with the care I’ve received from the surgery team and from the medical folks at the University of Delaware. In fact, I begin physical therapy tomorrow … at the University of Delaware’s state of the art facility.

So, for now, my cane, Virgil, is getting a bit of rest until the day comes when he’s once again needed. His stand in, Little Johnny “Walker” (Jack Black’s first cousin) will help to get me from place to place.

 

By the time you read this I’ll be inside a modern hospital—pictured above—that’s complete with all the newfangled gadgets, hammers, saws, and big box store power tools needed to complete a successful hip replacement.

My surgeon is currently standing outside the operating door, smoking a cigar while using a clean water hose to rinse dish detergent suds from his hands.

Prior to being wheeled into the operating room, nurses marked the incision spot with a bright red X and then allowed me time to post this quick message. Then off we went with the tail of my hospital gown flapping in the wake of the steel gurney.

The anesthesiologist promised a turbulence-free flight and I just heard the doctor telling everyone to watch for my nose to light up. If so, he’d remove the Black and Decker drill he’d received as a Christmas gift from his kids, and try again.

Off we go.

See you all when I’m back at home!

It’s a new year and soon I’ll be the proud owner of a brand new, shiny left hip. Yes, tomorrow is surgery day.

I’ve endured a couple of years dealing with pain that grew increasingly worse as the days passed by. Routine tasks and chores eventually became difficult to perform, at best. Things I enjoyed eventually became an impossibility—biking, hiking, kayaking, yard work. Even sitting at my desk to write now sometimes hurts badly enough to bring a tear to the eye.

I made it through the 2017 and 2018 Writers’ Police Academy and all the walking it entails, but it was tough, especially the event in 2018. I finally gave in and simply sat in the lobby or in the office areas. I caught rides to workshops that were easily within walking distance when I was able to do so back in the day.

I’d called on the assistance of Virgil, my trusted cane and new friend who now never leaves my side, while maneuvering and limping through airports during the trip to Green Bay and subsequently to Delaware. Airport officials provided a wheelchair when I could no longer make it to a gate or down a jetway. But while at the WPA, Virgil took a break. Couldn’t show that crack of weakness. It’s a guy/cop thing, I suppose.

The painful hip also caused me to go missing during nighttime mingling and networking at the WPA. It prevented me from hanging out with everyone in the bar area. I was unable to participate in many aspects of the event(s). By the end of the day I was in agony. Basically I was AWOL from an event I started and host.

Fortunately, the WPA, thanks to a wonderful and extremely hardworking all-volunteer staff—Linda Lovely, Howard Lewis, Cheryl Yeko, Denene, our fantastic group of core instructors who travel with us wherever we land, a host of other volunteers, and the outstanding staff and police academy instructors at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC), the WPA flowed as smoothly as melting butter.

This says a lot considering the enormity of the event. The WPA is a massive hands-on conference to plan and produce and to do so while in constant pain would’ve been impossible. So I thank everyone involved for taking nearly the entire load from my shoulders.

The 2019 WPA, as many of you know, is a special event—MurderCon—and will be a different format from our previous ten years. We’re extremely excited to have the opportunity to host the event at the Sirchie training facility just outside of Raleigh, N.C.

Sirchie, was founded in Philadelphia, in 1927, to provide fingerprinting materials. Then, approximately 30 years ago, the company started training the experts who used their products. Now, each year, over 700 law enforcement professionals receive training at the Sirchie campus.  These experts come to Sirchie from  sheriff’s offices, local and state police agencies, federal agencies, state prison systems, airport security, FBI agents whose focus is primarily on counter terrorism, and Treasury and Secret Service agents.

Yes, writers will definitely receive the exact same homicide investigation training as those law enforcement officers/investigators.

“When writers graduate from MurderCon, they’ll have the knowledge to describe what really happens—and doesn’t happen—in a homicide investigation. When MurderCon attendees leave, they’ll know what it feels like to conduct an investigation.

Having first-hand experience will allow them to portray crime scene details realistically; and it will let them share with their readers how it feels to investigate a homicide. ”

~ Dyer Bennett, vice president of Sirchie’s Product Development and Training.

So today I’m sitting in a recliner, a new one we purchased to allow me some post-surgery comfort, listening to the buzzing of saws and the in and out flow of contractor foot traffic as they try to finish our bathroom. I’ve also been working with Sirchie and hotel officials today to plan and coordinate the 2019 event schedule.

Now, during a break, I’m thinking about tomorrow when, at this time of day, my faulty hip will be in a hospital garbage bag waiting for disposal while a new manmade hip is in its former location.

I’m truly anxious for the surgeon to rid my body of the intense pain I’ve experienced, especially over the past few months. And I know Denene is anxious to no longer have to put my socks on my feet (I can’t reach them), take out the trash, go to the grocery store, pick up Virgil after the seemingly thousands of times a day I drop him and, well, to not have to wait on me hand and foot.

And, I’m anxious to tell you about what happens “After Midnight.” Yes, in addition to the super exciting MurderCon, another BIG surprise is on the way!

So, the next time you hear from me will be after I’ve returned home from the surgery. Until then …