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Suburban Island

The Keys Are in the Car
Sunday, Nov. 23, 2003, 7:36 p.m.

QUESTION: Where are my car keys?

WHAT I LEARNED: Look before you slam.

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I need to make something clear right at the outset – I am not a nurse. I have never longed to be a nurse. I never read any of the Cherry Ames books growing up. I have never loved science beyond loving the idea of passing the science classes I needed to fulfill school requirements and then getting on with other things. I once passed out in a greenhouse during a botany class and everybody bought me ice cream afterward and asked me what it felt like to pass out - but that’s a different story. I admire nurses though and it’s an admiration brought on by true awe of their ability to do something important and valuable in an urgent environment and do it in an organized way. I do things – important and unimportant - in a quasi-urgent environment in a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants way. I am indeed envious of the clipboards, their seemingly unending patience, neat high tech gear, the cool uniforms and comfortable shoes they get to wear.

My husband had to go into the hospital Thursday for some prostate surgery. His prostate was enlarged and causing him some trouble. It is a pretty standard surgery but my husband is not a big fan of surgery and hospitals – both a component of addressing his enlarged prostate. I took a couple days off to hang out at the hospital with him and do what I could. That required some good pre-surgical pep talks, hanging around for hours in hospital waiting rooms drinking overpriced bottles of diet coke, sitting in the most uncomfortable chair in the world for hours on end for my bedside vigil, and buying a $35 flower arrangement in the gift shop for good measure.

It also involved a pre-surgery adventure. I call it the Keys Are in the Car Adventure. What happens in this adventure is that you place your purse with the car keys hanging out in plan sight on the back seat and then slam the door shut – locking your purse and keys inside immediately prior to the surgery. There are three great things about the Key Are in the Car Adventure:

  • The patient has no time to fixate on their surgery fears,
  • You get to ride in the security truck with the nice hospital security officers back to your car,
  • Someone breaks into your vehicle with good intent and you get to witness it,
  • You miss all the paperwork portion of the hospital check-in process.

This goes to prove that even when life bites you in the butt, you can create a successful outcome. For instance, my husband was gratified to know that his prostate is the largest enlarged prostate his surgeon has ever seen in all his years of practice. It almost makes it worth the surgery just to be able to tell that to all your pals. At least that’s what I told my husband to make him fell better while he was lying in the hospital in one of those gown with no back, looking at a $35 flower arrangement that could fit in a coffee mug, and eating a liquid lunch that featured little squares of red Jello for dessert.

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