I wasn’t asleep. But then, I wasn’t really awake either.
I wasn’t dreaming, but I was at that stage where it was hard to tell the difference between a dream I couldn’t control and fantasy thinking that I could control.
Then came the sound of the saw.
At first it sounded like a chain saw, but when I looked around there were no trees. Then, it sounded like one of those concrete saws. Again, no concrete in sight.
I listened carefully and for a second thought I heard the saw screeching through metal. But after a few seconds I decided the sound was closer to the sound made by the concrete saw.
I still couldn’t see any concrete when a voice whispered in my ear:
Those words and the sound of the saw reminded me that I wasn’t dreaming. I wasn’t fanaticizing.
And, it wasn’t a concrete saw I was hearing. Instead, the saw was carefully (I hope) cutting away bone on my knee. I remembered then that I was in the process of having my right knee replaced.
I had been told I would have a spinal block to immobilize the bottom part of my body and anesthetics that would put me under, but not as deep as would be needed without the spinal block. I was assured I would feel nothing.
I wasn’t assured I would hear nothing.
It is actually an interesting phenomena to hear a saw cutting through your bone knowing that that was the easy part. The hard part came when it was time to put the new knee in place.
I don’t know how long it took, but it didn’t seem long after the saw stopped cutting that the hammering began. Even with that sweet voice reminding me to “breathe deeply,” I wanted to open my eyes to see what all the hammering was. I was laying there, seemingly half asleep, knowing that down there somewhere, someone – hopefully the doctor – was hammering steel against steel into my knee.
It might not have been steel against steel, but it was surely metal against metal. Regardless, it didn’t hurt, but with each swing of the hammer, each ringing sound, I knew the artificial peg was being driven deeper into my bones.
– Mike Cooney