Posts Tagged ‘surgery’

Smooth Operation

Posted: May 14, 2022 in Poetry
Tags: , ,
Not my operation. Photo is a U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Feddersen/ RELEASED)
                 Smooth Operation
                    By David Allen                 

Nurses sometimes make all the difference
between worry and confidence you'll be all right.
Despite a weird recovery after my fourth spinal operation, 
when I tripped on a cocktail of meds that threw me 
into a disjointed world, where dead friends visited 
my hospital room and doctors sought to study my rare condition,
I began the fifth assault on my spine somehow sure
operation, where the surgeon would make 
a four-inch slit in my back and scrape the bony growth 
exerting pressure on my nerves, and strengthening 
my spine with rods and pins, couldn’t be any worse.

Any qualms I might have harbored were 
allayed by my recovery room nurse. 
She was young and perky and had a smile 
that destroyed any concern I might have.
“My name is Tara,” she said. “And I’ll be 
with you before and after the procedure.“
(“Procedure” seems less threatening than surgery.)

I relaxed and smiled when I read the card 
that she wore on her blouse. 
“How do you feel?” she asked.
“Better than a minute ago,” I answered. 
“Tara, You’re gonna make my pain Gone With the Wind.”
“That’s what I’m here for,” she said,
My wife, laughed and told the nurse I was a punster and a poet 
and often made such strange observations.
“A poet?” the nice nurse asked. “I wrote some in high school.”
She shared what she learned to the sleep doc 
when I was wheeled into the operating room.
“Oh yeah?” he asked, placing a rubber mask over my face.
“Who’s your favorite poet?”
“Today? Bukowski,” I said. “But don’t ask me why.”
“I like the classics, Whitman and Frost,“ he said.
“Now breathe in deeply.”

I awoke several hours later with a new four-inch slit
stitched over a decades-old scar.
 I smiled at a nurse hovering over me.
 I read her name name card on chest and laughed.
“Destiny? “ I repeated her name. “Really?”
She asked if there was anything she could for me.
“Can you tell me what’s my destiny?”I quiped. 
She laughed. “Honey, I don’t even know my own destiny.” 

“Whew,” one of the voices in my head muttered.
“This is going to a cakewalk.” 
And the voices argued throughout the night,
over the meaning of a cakewalk.


By David Allen

Something’s wrong.
Why am I lying in this hospital bed
when I was transferred to a different hospital
just two days ago?
You see, I have a rare disease
commonly called
Vitamin d resistant rickets
and I was flown from this hospital
to a university hospital in Indianapolis
for a new study on this rare disease,
which shortened and bent me
bowlegged and soft boned.
It affects maybe 1 out of 20,000 people.
The doctors were excited about the study;
other patients were being flown
in from around the country.
So, why was I back in Anderson?
Sure, the operation didn’t go as expected.
There was a lot more cutting
to free the nerves being squished
by the growth of the soft spinal bones.
but now I was back in the bed where I had to lay still for two days
and then starved without food and water for three days
when my stomach swelled as
the meds fought each other instead of
healing me.

“Why am I back here?”
I asked the nurse who came in to take
my vital sighs.
My voice was weak, raspy.
“Back?” she asked. “Honey you never left.”
“No, I was transferred.”
“What day is it?” she asked.
“Thursday,” I said.
“No, it’s Tuesday,” she said. “How do you feel?”
“Confused, I croaked.
“You’ve been hallucinating,” she said.
“There was a bad reaction to post-op drugs.
But at least you sound a bit better today.
and you can start eating again.
Just then my wife walked in,
“How are you, my love?”
“Confused. The nurse said I’ve kinda been out of it.”
“I’m so glad that’s over,” my wife said.
“You were acting crazy.
Sometimes you lost words,
Replacing them with
sounds that made no sense.”

In the following days
I spoke with friends who said
I was “out of it”
when they called or visited.
I thought about those days
and realized I had drifted back decades
to a time I purposefully
lost my mind with mescaline
to examine the me behind this all.
And I didn’t find an answer.
Just like the last two days.

Hello Tuesday,
How’d you like being
Thursday for a while?



MISC PIX 2 011


by David Allen

It’s interesting to watch
the blood and pus drip
into the plastic bottle,
the “grenade” pinned
to my chest like some
live purple heart,
attached to a tube that wraps
over my shoulder and into a hole
in my back, draining the cavity
where the cyst existed.
It was huge but harmless,
my doctor declared.
It had been there for years,
attached to the spine like cement.
It took him more than three hours
to carefully gut it out.
It was a part of me
but, as the Buddha’d say,
like so much in life,
totally unnecessary,
extra baggage just growing
there until, concerned, my love
pushed me to see the doctor,
or she’d start calling me Quasimodo.

“Big but benign,”
the doctor diagnosed.
Of course,
why would I want
to harm myself?



Like my poetry? Then buy my book, “The Story So Far,” published by Writers Ink Press, Long Island, N.Y. You can find it on ( in paperback and Kindle formats, or by sending me $10 at:

David Allen
803 Avalon Lane
Chesterfield, IN 46017