#Bionic man 2.2. Monday, March 28, 2016. My son Joseph Mubundi Daly’s 50th birthday. Joe was born on a dark and stormy night in the middle of the monsoon in Nkubu, Kenya. I’ve told the story of that night on Wattpad. To remind Joe of where he was born we gave him the middle name “Mubundi.” In Kimeru, the local dialect, his name means “skilled worker.” The Swahili equivalent “fundi” is used throughout East Africa. Joe’s name turned out to be prophetic since he grew up to be a skilled auto mechanic.
Some physicians refer disparagingly to surgeons as “mechanics.” This manner of speaking suffers from the same high-minded smarter-than-thou attitude that I’ve criticized a number of times in this blog. In East Africa to refer to a surgeon as a “fundi” would be a compliment. Granted I have criticized Laura’s surgeon for poor communication skills from our first meetings with him to the last, but I am only too aware of the mental and physical dexterity of what he did for Laura given the unfortunate outcome of the same type of surgery on a childhood friend. As much as Laura and I complained about the bureaucratic horrors of her last surgery, her surgeon was on his feet operating on other patients the entire time of her wait from 8 a.m. until 4:30 pm. Yet he was still able to take a mass out of Laura’s head without causing her any damage.
My knee surgery the day after tomorrow involves much less risk than Laura’s, but there is still risk. Infection is one of the biggest risks. Medicare and insurance companies are putting a lot of pressure on hospitals to reduce the incidence of post-surgical infection, particularly to avoid the expense of re-admission and additional treatment. Hospitals, in turn, are giving patients the means to take more responsibility for preventing infection.
When I had my hip surgeries in 1997 and 2003, I took a shower in the hospital when I was admitted. A nurse sat down with me for about 15 minutes to explain what would happen during surgery and give me preliminary instructions on what I would have to do after surgery. For Wednesday’s surgery I received a 50 page patient guide just for knee replacements. This morning my “coach” (Gale) and I had to attend a two hour educational session covering all aspects of the surgery: before, during, and after. For the last two weeks I’ve had to shower with antibacterial gel soap, not bar soap. Today, tomorrow, and Wednesday morning before leaving the house I have to shower with a special soap, which contains 4% Chlorhexidine Gluconate, afterward putting on freshly laundered clothes and sleeping in freshly laundered sheets.
This might sound like OCD. It is. Having seen the impact of hospital acquired MRSA on a loved one, however, I’m all for being obsessively compulsive.