In our morning standup meeting at my office, our team recently talked about the art of Storytelling.
Grace, one of my co-workers, was telling us about a short, online class she had recently taken on the subject. She said that while she could maybe see herself building a Stage Setter, World View, or Hero into her content, she was definitely struggling with how to include a Villain into a business piece.
Instinctively, I reached into my Writer’s Bag O’ Tricks, and suggested that she try to think about the villain not as a person, but rather as a wicked and diabolical concept like weather, time, and money, or a tangible evil abstraction such as slow Internet connections, or train crossings.
This of course made me think about my Countdown to my TKR series, and how I could include those very concepts to make these posts less clinical and more like a story.
I was thinking about that on this frigid, snowy April morning as I got ready for work, when the phone rang. It was a Nurse, calling to talk about my surgery on Monday.
I’d had my pre-op check-up and blood labs done last week, which, by the way, minus extended waiting room time, lasted all of 10 to 15 minutes. The phone call from the Nurse lasted 35 to 40 minutes!
The Nurse and I went over everything in great detail, from what to bring, what to wear, and what I can and cannot eat and drink between now and then, to whether or not I had a walker, and someone to drive me to physical therapy.
I was able to answer her questions, as well as get answers from her about my own questions, which, thankfully, left me feeling more prepared than I had felt earlier this week. Her excellent communication skills were putting to rest some of the fear I talked about in my last post… until… with five days left until my surgery, she introduced the villain!
“Oh,” she said, almost as an afterthought. “It is very important that you not catch a cold, or have any open wounds between now and then. Because of the risk of infection and bacteria, your surgery will be cancelled if either of those conditions are present.”
I looked out onto my driveway, which, at the time was barely visible through the sleet and snow blowing sideways. I thought about the accumulation of at least two inches of frozen, slippery, slush that was at this very moment, creating what now seemed like a perilous, danger fraught journey to my office, to lunch, and home again. I broke into a cold sweat.
My Nurse warned me, “Don’t shave your legs either, you don’t want to risk a nick.”
A nick, I thought, would be puny, compared to the portent of gravel-filled scrapes and abrasions that loomed before every step and turn I would take on the treacherous streets and roads during the day.
“And try not to get chilled or over-heated, or be in the same room as children. You’ll want to eliminate the risk of catching a cold.” Said my helpful Nurse.
At this point, I could almost see the scenario play out before me… I’d drive carefully to work, get out of my car, but slip on the icy street, and fall down, deeply scraping the palms of my hands and my knees. I’d land between two parked cars, out of sight of anyone and lay there hemorrhaging, unable to move for hours. Pneumonia would set in and I’d have open bleeding wounds, both things I’d been warned to avoid. And to top it all off, I’d have to wait another six months to get this surgery.
Now, instead of me, the hero of this story, striding confidently, albeit gimpily through the rest of my week, it was starting to look like I would be facing down my twin nemeses, the wicked diabolical winter weather, and its evil henchman, the germ infested, over-heated air of my office.
Yes, I made it through today unscathed. I can only hope to be as lucky tomorrow.