Right from wrong

We were talking the other night about hospital mishaps — which some of you political junkies will recall the NLM 1999 study showed happen at the rate of 90,000 a year — and we started conjecturing what could go wrong with my knee surgery, because all medical science has been working toward this moment of my ACL reconstruction. Hey, it’s not my ego, people, it’s just the way the world is.

Anyway, so many people who have had issues on one side of their body have had the wrong side addressed that now even the doctors tell you to write on your body and identify which limb or side needs repair, and which should be left alone. This sounds simple at first, but consider:

Writing “NO” could just as easily look like “ON.” On this side? Come ON over here, baby? Baby you can drive my car?

Writing “Not this one” could, if masked by a patterned hospital gown, look like the abbreviated and wholly misleading “this one.”

Writing “GO AWAY” just seems rude.

We also considered drawing a big “X” on the right (healthy) knee, and worried it would look like the final destination on a pirate map. Yes, pirating figures into my medical situation. Pirates are relevant, damn it, and not just the 21st century pirates of Somalia.

We’ve opted for the “THIS ONE” on the left left and “NO” with an underline on the right leg. The underline will help the health providers see which way is up on the wording, since bodies lying on a table don’t really imply north-south very well. We’re also crossing our fingers that our nursing staff are avid billiards players, and so will know how to interpret the underlining correctly, as they have seen their share of 6 and 9 balls. This is why it’s important to teach children the basics of pool, so that they can provide the highest level of care to their craziest customers at some point in the unforeseeable future. Trust me, if there’d been a way to bring bowling into this discussion I would have, but I got nothing.

Anyway, I’ll be back as soon as I can because as we all know from last December, I need to vent my prolific insights when I’m cooped up. Have a great weekend, folks.

Tags: ,

Categories: transplanted


Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

One Comment on “Right from wrong”

  1. January 16, 2009 at 2:21 pm #

    When I had surgery it was on something I only have one of, my heart.

    How did it go?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: