Late in the summer, I finally succumbed to pressure from my wife, and agreed to meet with a surgeon concerning a health issue that has been bothering me for the past year.
Unsurprisingly, he confirmed that I needed to undergo, in his words, “minor surgery.” I have since concluded that when a doctor terms surgery as “minor,” it only means that he will not be removing your heart and manually massaging it.
With more than a little apprehension, I asked, “How long will I be laid up?”
“That depends,” he responded. “What do you do for a living?”
“I’m a farmer.”
“Hmmm,” he pondered, “You won’t feel much like stirring around for a couple of days, but you should be able to resume limited activity after that.”
“Limited activity?”
“Yes, but it’s absolutely imperative that you not lift anything heavier than 5 pounds for two full weeks after surgery.”
It was at that point, I knew my doctor was not raised on a farm.
Since the surgery was not an emergency situation, I tried my best to find a date that would coincide with the slowest time on my farm. I decided that a date after the spring calves were sold would, hopefully, allow me to take it relatively easy until I would have to start feeding hay in late November. The date was set and surgery was successful, but I’m beginning to think I might die… of boredom.
I knew that today’s TV programing was less than desirable, but I had no idea how truly bad it was until I was left with nothing else to do but watch a few days and nights of that drivel. And, as much as I love football, I found myself not caring who won the games by the end of the second full day. I wanted to get out of the house and piddle around the farm, but most of my gates weigh considerably more than 5 pounds, so I couldn’t even drive around and check cows without assistance. Tractor activities were out of the question as well since I have to grab onto the handle beside the steps to help lift me up and, believe me, that effort is about 50 times my lifting restriction.
I thought about changing the oil in the lawnmower, power washer, generator and UTV, but the simple effort of removing the drain plug exceeds my “limited activity” so it was back to reruns of Bonanza and Gunsmoke.
Even my daily trips to the coffee shop and feed store were nixed, after the first visit to each were met with ridicule and derision, as my neighbors, who have never seen me wear anything but jeans and boots, saw me in sweat pants and tennis shoes. As one good friend put it, “Really, Jerry, have you just given up?”
Last Monday, I went in for my two-week, post-surgery, follow-up. “I’ve got great news for you,” the doctor proudly announced after examining his handiwork. “You’re getting along so well, I’m going to increase your weight restriction to 10 pounds for the next month!”
“Well, that is good news,” I replied, “My wife will appreciate the fact that I’ll be able to pour my own milk again.”


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