Friday, September 12, 2008

I had knee surgery this morning, so I'm feeling a little small and clumsy. Not that it makes much difference at the moment, as I'm trying to write this on a beautifully corrugated concrete stretch of Interstate 45 in the back of a Suburban, which is making my laptop behave like a breast implant on a vibrating trampoline. Spell Check will probably explode after the first few paragraphs, unless there actually are three sixes and a percentage sign in the number 45.

I'm on my way to Houston to do a corporate outing for AT&T and Nokia, at the TPC at the Woodlands. A clinic in the morning, followed by one hole with each of their 18 foursomes, and a wee speech at the prize-giving. Simple as that.

At least it would be if it wasn't for the knee. Up until a week ago, I thought the meniscus was an extinct Olympic track and field event, but then I learned I'd split mine. I'd had a sore knee for a couple of months, and had been dealing with it in my usual manly fashion -- painkillers, Grey Goose, and some pathetically exaggerated limping. But no one even noticed the limping, so I bit the bullet and went for the last resort -- a visit to Dr. Racanelli in Dallas. Next thing I knew I was scheduled for surgery.

I don't know about any of you, but I'm not fond of the thought of someone slicing into my personal self, and grinding, sucking, or scraping at my insides. I've been a professional golfer for 26 years and I'm proud of the fact that up until this morning, the only surgery I'd had was my circumcision. Most men have no memory of this procedure, but mine is burned into my frontal lobe like a cattle brand, as I was 36 years old at the time.

It's enough to say that this was a part of my anatomy that didn't need to be shortened. I remember waking up in the recovery room, and taking my first peek at Little Davey. He was a pretty impressive sight at first, kind of like a tennis ball on a piece of string. I had 18 stitches and I remember wondering if it might be possible for the doctor to take away the pain, but leave the swelling.

As it turned out, the doctor told me that unfortunately, just the opposite was liable to happen, and he handed me a bottle of pills with instructions to take one each night before going to sleep. Dubious, I looked at the bottle. The pills were female hormones, which was too much for me to get my mind around.

"Hang on there a minute, doc," I said. "Let me get this straight. First, you lop a half-inch off the mast on the old wedding rig, and now you want me to grow a pair of knockers? What the hell are the female hormones for?"

The doctor looked down his nose at me sternly, and took off his glasses. "Mr. Feherty," he said with an exasperated sigh. "You have the equivalent of a small barbed-wire fence around your todger. This fence will not expand. Therefore, it would be a very good idea if you were to ensure that the property that it currently encircles does not grow any bigger either, at least for the time being. My advice to you is to take the female hormones as prescribed."

That night, I swallowed two of them, watched Oprah, and took up knitting.

Okay, you're probably thinking, what the hell has this got to do with knee surgery, and a corporate outing in Houston? Well, nothing really, except for the fact that after both my surgeries, I had to get straight back to playing golf. In other sports, injuries such as these would put players on the day-to-day list at best, and maybe have them sitting on the bench for weeks. A pitcher gets a little blister, and he's out, but if a golfer has 18 stitches concealed in his underpants, he'll be walking 18 holes just the same. We are the true iron men of sport, and tomorrow, I'm going to prove it at the Woodlands. Over and out, we're pulling into the hotel parking lot. I'll talk to y'all tomorrow.

Fourteen hours later:

Well, I'm guessing that Dr. Racanelli injected my damaged wheel with some kind of anesthetic, which wore off while I was asleep. When you factor in the fact that I had to share a room with Terjesen, my idiot agent, who snored like a chainsaw half the night, it¹s safe to say I was a little stiff and grumpy this morning. Still, after two Vicodin, a Vioxx, a bagel, and 12 cups of coffee, my one-legged clinic went well.

The best part about it was that everyone felt so sorry for me. I was careful enough to leave the black marker, "No Cut," on my good knee too, for added sympathy. The carts had to stay on the paths, but not for yours truly. It¹s good to be a temporary cripple!

Everyone is so nice to you. Nobody cared that I hit six inches behind the ball a few times, and I couldn't drive it more than 200. At the prize giving and speech, people laughed harder than usual, and everyone said how good it was of me to come and do this, even though I was so badly hurt. They all seemed to forget I was getting paid.

Damn. When the left one heals up, I hope the right one explodes!

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