When I woke up on Tuesday in the orthopedic wing following back surgery, I saw the name Don Joy written on the whiteboard at the end of my bed.
I was already feeling very joyous because after a year and a half, the all consuming, aching, burning, twanging misery in my back and leg was entirely gone, but if the doctors felt I still needed more joy before leaving the hospital, then I was all for it.
Who could he be, and what was his role going to be in my recovery? Each time I woke up and saw the whiteboard, I wondered about him, but then I would fall back asleep.
Don Joy must be some kind of ambassador of happiness from Hawaii, I concluded before falling asleep again. He will remind me of my many blessings through song and expressive dance. He probably volunteers his time at the hospital.
Or, the more likely scenario I decided on was that Don Joy would be a young, handsome, kind, competent life coach who would assist me in my recovery by helping me rebuild myself mentally, spiritually and physically.
Yes, for sure. Blue Cross would be happy to pay for someone like that if it will keeps from filing more expensive psychiatric claims down the road, I reasoned.
Don Joy will encourage me to leave behind the negative residue from my bogus orthopedic adventure, and help me reconnect with the real me, the athletic, joyous, devil-may-care gal that got left behind.
Together, Don Joy and I will rediscover and polish my sparkling psyche and work to unlock my true physical potential so that I emerge from this shitty experience better and stronger than ever.
Don Joy will comfort me when I get discouraged by my lack of progress, and he will celebrate my small but significant steps toward recovery. He won’t take offense if I am inexplicably cranky or curt. He will keep pushing me to reach my peak.
Don Joy will let me confide in him, and will accompany me on certain expeditions that My Royal Consort might not enjoy so much, like shopping for clothes, or trips to Knit One, Purl Two to pick out wool. Like me, Don Joy will love the ritual and simplicity of traditional Japanese food, and will understand the urgency of my cravings for sushi and white wine.
Eventually, my pain-free idyll came to an end. I woke up and stayed awake. Vital signs were taken, instructions were given, prescriptions filled, crutches and a walker prescribed. Before I knew it, I was being wheeled down the hall, on my way home.
But wait! Wasn’t I supposed to meet Don Joy before I leave? Or does he come to the house? I asked.
A perplexed look from the nurse. “Huh? You are wearing your Don Joy now, aren’t you?” she asked, and then ducked down to take a peek under my shirt. “Yeah, you’re all set, see?” she said, tapping on the back brace that was keeping my spine from wilting like a dehydrated stalk of celery.
I laughed, ha ha joke, but inside I was thinking WTF? When we got home, I carefully unwound my back brace and climbed into bed. My Royal Consort hung it over the walker next to me, and when I awoke, I saw printed on the back brace a big, white logo that said DonJoy.