Posted by: donrhymer | September 26, 2012

Surgery Day

I know a lot of you have never had the privilege of having a major neck surgery of your own, so I thought I would keep a detailed diary of the last twenty-four hours so you would feel like you were right there with me.


1:20 pm – Arrive at pre-op, quickly disrobe. Staff informs Don it was not time to disrobe and briefly considers calling the local authorities.

2:17 pm – Don finally allowed to disrobe, but is disappointed because he feels the moment has somehow lost its dramatic impact.

3:00 pm – Anesthesiologist injects Don with something to help him “relax.” He indeed immediately relaxes… like a co-ed after twelve “fuzzy navels” at a TKE party. By the time he is wheeled into the surgical suite he is already on the second verse of Lady Gaga’s “Telephone.” He is frustrated when his attempts to choreograph a big finale with the OR nurses seems to fall on deaf ears when someone points out he is actually talking to a surgical lamp.

5:51 pm – Don comes out of surgery in tears mumbling something about death and dying, the loss of innocence in the world, and the impossibility of finding good Mexican food in Manhattan. This goes on for oh… a good hour.

7:33 pm – Don is wheeled upstairs to find he is roommates with a 73 year old man named Javier and 63 members of his extended family.  When the Charge Nurse realizes Javier is not an actual patient just a proud grandfather looking for a unique venue to hold his Granddaughter’s “quinceañera, she quickly clears the area, leaving only Don, Javier and Javier’s wife who will apparently be joining them for the evening.

10:45 pm – After three hours of sharing his life story with Javier and his wife, it ultimately occurs to Don they speak no English. Don is initially embarrassed, then decides to do the whole thing again crafting puppets out of used syringes and surgical tape. This version goes over much better and Javier and his wife treat Don to a standing ovation. 


12:01 am – Desperate for sleep, and feeling that counting sheep has “soooo been done” Don decides to count the positive reviews of the movies he has written… four seconds later he asks the Night Nurse for three percocets and a wine cooler.

4:14 am – Don awakens to find Javier and Javier’s wife having a big fight. Javier’s wife responds to the unpleasantness by immediately sequestering herself in a “blanket fort” she builds using two chairs, an IV stand and a pile of surgical scrubs she found in a supply closet.

5:00 am – Javier manages to coax his wife from her blanket fort and the two successfully reconcile. Javier turns to Don and using a sophisticated combination of broken English and hand gestures, informs Don it is time for him to take a walk down to the cafeteria or something, “Cause it’s about to get weird up in here.”

7:31 am  – Don’s surgeon stops by to check in on him immediately informing Don that unfortunately he has very little time to chat. Seems he is performing a liver transplant later on, but they ran out of liver and are going to try and make do using an extra kidney they found lying around the warehouse last week.

8:11  am – Told he is finally being discharged, Don is so excited he immediately disrobes. Wrapped in strategically placed gauze, he is wheeled out of the hospital and court ordered to next time… please take his cancer somewhere else.




  1. Awesome. Welcome home! (again)

  2. HA!!! Damn – you had me in “stiches” ! Heal FAST my friend. PS: Gotta love those anchor baby families.

  3. You idiot. It’s “STITCHES”. You’d never pass the UPS driver’s academy.

  4. Who wrote this — you, or the Percocet?

  5. Although this culture class comedy has all the trappings of one more Hollywood derivation, the hi-jinks and cheeky asides prevail. Written by Don Rhymer, “CANCER, AGAIN?” is hilarious. It rejuvenates the romantic comedy with heart and aplomb in a season of otherwise dire, brand-driven movies. Thankfully, there are no zombies here, nor any residents of evil. Javier and his wife are a delight, and as protagonist, Don’s impulse to disrobe in the face of crisis, is hands down, the funniest thing to come along since Apatow revised what it means to do it “doggy style”. Please, please, give me my own blanket fort, and a bit more of that percocet-flavored ribaldry. –September 26, 2012, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

  6. Silly. Loved it. Madey day.
    You suffer, yet make others happy.

  7. So so glad… good luck to you my friend

  8. Don got his mojo back! Good to hear you are back home so you can putz around the house again. Take the trash out, pull weeds, be silly.

  9. Hugs and warm fuzzies from Charlotte 🙂

  10. Don, I want you to know that I don’t comment to all of these entries but I am reading them. You are in my thoughts and prayers every single day. I love you all.

  11. I laughed, I cried, I made a blanket fort! Don strikes again!

  12. Javier turns to Don and using a sophisticated combination of broken English and hand gestures, informs Don it is time for him to take a walk down to the cafeteria or something, “Cause it’s about to get weird up in here.”

    Hmmm at what point in this festival of weirdness did Javier think things were normal?

  13. You make my burdens of ninety plus years lighter and each day brighter. thank you, my friend. Hope to see you soon. Love from both of us.

  14. Bet that OR nurse never got over her regrets on not taking the lamp’s place in the choreographed grand finale!

  15. I will be reading very slowly, through tears! Tears of laughter. I just found out about your blog and I know through my cancer that laughter is the best medicine. We have been fighting about the same amount of time. It looks like I will be needing to get the boxing gloves out again, I will definitely get some abinormal comfort from your story.

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