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MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, PT. 8,761: SURGERY IN THE TIME OF COVID

Yeah, that’s right: surgery.

Since the pandemic started, I’ve become an exercise fiend. I have worked out with my trainer three times a week. I’ve tried to improve my golf game—and, improbably, succeeded—by practicing my putting and playing twice a week like clockwork. I take walks up steep hills and, when I’m in Laguna, over oceanside paths. I hoist copies of HITS special issues to build up my biceps.

I have strained my body to the max so I can be strong enough to fight off the virus, should it knock on my door.

The result is that instead of gaining the COVID 15, I lost six pounds and added muscle. I looked at my reflection without cringing too much. Things were going well, and my golf scores were settling consistently in the 80s.

Then I heard a little rip. And lo and behold, there was a bump right above my belly button.

Naturally, I assumed it was a tumor—who wouldn’t? I called my doctor and set up an immediate virtual consultation. (Imagining the session, I hoped to hear Arnold Schwarzenegger’s famous line, “It’s not a tumahhhhh.”) I also took an immensely unattractive photograph of the bump and sent it ahead. My GP saw the pic, asked some questions, had me do some virtual checks and decided it was a hernia caused by … well, see the descriptions of physical exertion detailed above.

After much prodding from me to accelerate the process, my doctor set up a meeting with the surgeon for this past Thursday. My goals were simple after I found out surgery was a must:

  • I wanted it to happen fast, before the next expected COVID surge hit UCLA (check).
  • I wanted it to be outpatient (check).
  • And since the first three days afterward will be painful, I had to make sure I had the right meds (check, check and triple check).

Exactly how painful? Well, the procedure is set for 11/2, and the worst day is always the day after the surgery. Yes, that means I’ll be on serious medication on Election Day, which is something I’d recommend for all of us after voting, as we watch the count begin Tuesday night. But don’t bother asking for any of mine; you’ll have to get your own.

Let me be clear: I don’t want to have an operation. But this is my lot in life in week 8,761 of the endless month of COVIDuary. Or is it COVember?

My week of prep will include dealing with four different doctors to take tests and sign off on the procedure. I don’t want to go near a surgical center in the time of COVID. I don’t want to be in pain now, nor in worse pain next week.

But most of all, I don’t want to see Donald J. Trump re-elected. So on behalf of myself, my family, my community and my hernia: PLEASE VOTE.

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