So he, the historian, and I spent today at a hospital in Park City, where his surgeon prefers to do this particular surgery. As days spent in hospitals go, it wasn't bad. Of course the historian and I weren't the ones getting surgery.
We drove up the mountain first thing in the morning, got him checked in, then had conversations with many, many medical personnel, all of whom seemed smart and competent and great. All of us agreed that it was the left knee that had the ACL problem, an agreement that was cemented by the surgeon writing "yes" on that knee. It's kind of amazing what's possible these days, surgery-wise. I myself have never had any surgery of any kind, so I'm just an observer, but the fact is, there are splendid techniques and technologies in pain management, anesthesia, surgery, and recovery. I appreciated these techniques and technologies as we sat in a consulting room with my son, laying on a gurney in a hospital gown, cracking jokes, as one after another medical person came in to discuss this and that aspect of his ACL, the surgery, and the upcoming recovery.
And then, his knee thoroughly shaven and scribbled upon, the anesthesiologist wheeled him out, and we set about waiting.
We had some food in the cafeteria. We sat by a roaring fire (only one of several lovely amenities at this hospital, including a harpist in the main lobby, which was both lovely and possibly a little hilarious?). I had imagined that I might grade while I was waiting, a notion I should have dismissed from the outset. I did read a few e-mails. Tried not to worry. But of course, I worried.
We were called back into the consulting room to talk with the doctor. He showed us this:
These are pictures taken by the scope, I guess, various views of the pristine parts of his knee--all the parts, in fact, except for the Anterior Cruciate Ligament. To me, they look like views of far-off moons, or planets.
When the nurses wheeled him back in, they had already sung him "Happy Birthday," and he was making everyone laugh. "Hello, party people," he called to us from the hall, before we could even see him. He's downstairs right now with friends, holding court, his knee in a massive brace and elevated on pillows, so that it's higher than his heart.
Happy birthday, Walker. Wishing you a great year and a speedy recovery, and full use of your knee in a basketball league by next fall.