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Friday, August 17, 2007

Notes from the Recovery Room

posted by on August 17 at 15:50 PM

This morning I had my second and final surgery for this stupid injury. The surgeon cut a hole in my right foot, stuck in a screwdriver, and pulled out a screw that had been anchoring an apparatus—pins, bolts, cadaver bone, tinker toys, chewing gum—that’s been holding my shattered heel together for a couple of months.

Screw You I: From my conversation with the pre-op nurse.

“Can I keep the screw?”


“Do lots of people ask for their screws?”

“Yeah. They do weird things with them because they think the screws are part of them or something.”

“Like what?”

“Use them in their decks or houses. Make jewelry. Make Christmas ornaments.”

Screw You II: From an advertisement in the Time magazine sitting on the recovery-room table.

If you think you’re experiencing the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome, see your doctor. If diagnosed, ask your doctor if Requip is right for you. Requip Tablets may cause you to fall asleep or feel very sleepy during normal activities such as driving; or to faint or feel dizzy, nauseated, or sweaty when you stand up… Also tell your doctor if you experience new or increased gambling, sexual, or other intense urges.

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Or your restless need to blow your money! Being broke makes it harder to sleep at night than restless legs probably.

Or that restless addiction to heroine! Damn restlessness!

Or lots of other "INTENSE URGES"


Posted by mr.ryan | August 17, 2007 4:45 PM

The side effects sound far more interesting than curing "restless leg syndrome". :)

But I still can't believe that we spend millions of fucking dollars on marketing for drugs for fictitious disorders, when the money would be far better spent on researching new anti-malarials or the like.

Posted by bma | August 17, 2007 4:54 PM

I heard the gambling thing for a different Restless Leg drug, Mirapex (maybe it's the same stuff, I dunno), and laughed, but then I googled it and discovered that (a) it used to be a Parkinson's drug and (b) the gambling thing is totally real and totally frightening. All these people who never gambled once in their lives who suddenly ran out and threw away a million bucks, losing their house and everything. Insane.

It makes me not believe in free will anymore. Brain chemistry is the only thing that's real. We are all robots.

Posted by fnarf | August 17, 2007 4:55 PM

"I gots me the Jimmy Leg!"

Posted by Dr_Awesome | August 17, 2007 5:01 PM

As a restless legs sufferer, I usually just wander the house all night until I pass out from exhaustion. I might give Requip a try, though. If nothing else these new urges would give me a way to pass the time in the wee hours of the morning.

Posted by rb | August 17, 2007 5:07 PM

Every drug ever made has had the possible side effects of making the user sleepy and not qualified to operate machinery. (The "your addiction may be exacerbated" [paraphrasing] just seems like an addition to that boilerplate.) Also, from what my doctor who is really cool tells me, Restless Leg Syndrome is real, even if it is trendy.

Posted by S | August 17, 2007 5:39 PM

You seriously have "restless leg 'syndrome'"? Do you ever stretch out? Or do yoga or anything?

Posted by treacle | August 17, 2007 5:41 PM

@7, Yep, I really do. It sucks. Stretching, yoga, etc. don't do much.

The worst, part, though, is having people roll their eyes and say "you *really* have that?"

And those annoying TV ads with the requisite trendy acronym.

Posted by rb | August 17, 2007 6:27 PM

What the super helpful drug peddler's don't tell you about your "syndrome" is that most people who have twitchy, prickly, cramping feelings in their legs have a potassium deficiency and should eat a f--king banana!

Posted by yucca flower | August 17, 2007 8:12 PM

Or up their calcium intake.

Posted by amazonmidwife | August 17, 2007 8:20 PM

@ #9's comments re #5: I was going to write a really hateful message directed to #9 (member of the secret cool clique who discovered potassium!) but then I decided no one could seriously be as patronizingly stupid as #9, #9's just being sarcastic, and I'm quite drunk.

Also @ #4: Jimmy Leg was real: during Prohibition Jamaican ginger liquor was sold as a "medicinal aid", and was commercially aimed at African-American men; it was adulterated with poisons that caused paralysis; a lot of black guys in poverty who liked a drink or three ended up maimed for life. (This is me remebering a New Yorker article from a few years back, and as I said, I'm drunk [legally].)

Posted by S | August 17, 2007 10:02 PM

as funny as restless leg syndrome apparently sounds to people, yes it's completely real. I'm not sure why it's hillarious though... the spasms can be very painful and jarring, especially (as #5 said) when you are trying to get some sleep. A close family member of mine had RLS... it was terrible to watch him suddenly wince in pain because of something that he had no way to control.

so anyway, didn't mean to sound too preachy... just a heads up.

Posted by citrus | August 18, 2007 12:15 AM


I hate those drug peddler's (sic). All this time, I just needed to eat a banana! And while we're on the topic of syndromes, AIDS is simply the result of malnutrition, mental stress and drug use, and Alzheimer's is just a severe imbalance in blood sugar levels. But those drug peddler's will tell you otherwise.

Off to eat another fucking banana at 1:30 a.m.

Posted by rb | August 18, 2007 1:24 AM

So, Brendan, what are YOU going to do with your screw?

Posted by marigold | August 18, 2007 12:05 PM

I don't know what I'll do with the screw. But, just before this post slides off the page and into oblivion, here's the super-secret third part I didn't include because I knew I'd regret it:

Screw You III: An embarrassing scene which I am only relating because the pain meds have hobbled my judgment.

When I woke up in the recovery room, I was crying. I don't know why. It hurt, but not that badly. A worried-looking nurse hurried over and said she would give me a shot of morphine. (Thanks, lady!) The morphine, er, lit a little candle beneath my hospital gown, which I tried to hide. But hospital gowns are not made for hiding. So there I was: in a roomful of strangers, weeping, high on morphine, with a bathrobe on my body and an embarrassment in my lap.

Posted by Brendan Kiley | August 18, 2007 12:24 PM

Brendan, at least you know that the surgery/meds/stress/etc haven't left you impotent or something. It's your body's way of giving you a thumb's up, saying "everything's ok down here, boss!"

Posted by Penility | August 18, 2007 12:41 PM

Frame your screw! Seriously. Mount it to a board with fishing line and hang it on your wall.

Weird. I had a minor surgery recently and I totally woke up crying too. I was really embarrassed but now I'm feeling a little better about it. At least I didn't have a hard-on.

Posted by Gracie | August 18, 2007 2:25 PM

Brendan- I had something similar happen to me, years ago. I was experiencing intense thought-I-was-dying pain from a ruptured appendix, and one odd side effect was a raging woody. Re: my earlier comment about the Jimmy Leg- I was just bein' silly. Wasn't that a quote from Seinfeld from years ago?

Posted by Dr_Awesome | August 18, 2007 4:25 PM

Dang. Wish I was a nurse in *that* recovery room.

Posted by rb | August 19, 2007 6:57 PM

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