Not being able to poop is a hell of a way to start a day where the main event is surgically removing part of your skull.
My mom’s constipation went on for hours, and in between her last poop and the poop she was praying on, we had visitors come and go, my mom open the backside of her gown to moon unsuspecting people (myself included), and some more tears shed.
The surgery was scheduled for 2:30 in the afternoon, but she didn’t get rolled out of her room until 3:30. Prep started about a half-hour later. The neurosurgeon, Dr. Morgan, came by with a coffee in hand to speak with her before going into the operating room. Across from us were a few other people who were either going in or out of surgery—one of the patients near us was a frail older woman who sat alone in bed. Her eyes were sunken and bloodshot, and I couldn’t keep from looking over at her.
I remembered a joke that I had read in Esquire a few weeks earlier, and I thought, hey, this is as good a time as any to tell it. So, two nurses are giving a bath to a woman who is in a coma. As they clean in between the woman’s legs, the woman suddenly stirs. The nurses get an idea and call the woman’s husband. “If you have oral sex with your wife, she may wake up,” they tell him. He’s unsure about their plan, but—
—and just as I was about to tell my mom the punchline, the nurses came to take her in. I hugged her, told her I appreciated her, and that I would tell her the rest of the joke when she was out.
The surgery lasted about three hours, and Morgan found us in the waiting room after it was completed. The good news? He removed “99 percent of the tumor,” and she was in stable condition. The bad? The tumor is cancerous, and we’re looking at a future with chemotherapy and radiation. Though I already knew what “malignant” meant, I read any definition of it that I could find on Google. I read as quickly as my tear-filled eyes would let me in that waiting room.
Not long after, we were able to go in two at a time to see mom in ICU. Her head was almost entirely wrapped in bandages, except for the breathing mask she had on. She was able to talk, but was loopy due to the drugs she was administered. We’ll meet with Morgan again at dawn, and at some point, we’re going to have to explain the news to mom. But not tonight.
Until then, here’s the rest of the joke: Two nurses are giving a bath to a woman who is in a coma. As they clean in between the woman’s legs, the woman suddenly stirs. The nurses get an idea and call the woman’s husband. “If you have oral sex with your wife, she may wake up,” they tell him. He’s unsure about their plan, but they pressure him on, and he agrees. He goes into his wife’s room and closes the door, and the nurses wait outside. A few minutes later, he emerges, and the nurses go in to check on the woman. “She’s dead!” they scream. “What happened?!”
The husband looks at them, “I don’t know!” he says. “I think she choked.”