As they wheeled her into the operating room where she would have her old decrepit knee removed and a shiny new knee inserted, my mother predicted that Qaddafi (the world leader whose name can be spelled at least 112 different ways, all of them wrong) would be ousted when she woke up from the anesthesia.
Who knew my mother was Cassandra?
A few hours I saw my mother in the PACU (have I mentioned how much I enjoy the hospital acronyms: NICU, SICU, PACU, MICU, FUCU and so on?) formerly known as the Recovery Room and told her that she had nailed this turn of events. (Knowing that she was unlikely to check on the actual facts, I fudged it a bit. Yes, the rebels were in Tripoli, but Qaddafi’s whereabouts were unknown and he had not quite gracefully ceded power.) This news triggered some fond childhood memories.
“Benghazi used to be a popular weekend spot,” she said, referring to happy pre-war days in Egypt. “The best nightclubs were there.”
“So did you go to Libya?” I asked.
“No, my father didn’t like the Libyans. He preferred the Ethiopians, and the Sudanese. He always went in that direction.” Then she fell asleep.
Several hours later found us in her room up on the fourth floor of the hospital, a floor lamentably without any CU’s at all. Her nurse – the charming Mike who wears different colored, but always matching, scrubs every day – asked Mom about any previous surgeries. She mentioned her appendectomy in a Manila hotel room without anesthesia.
I couldn’t help a slight correction: the appendix was already gone - it was somewhere in Indo-China then being overrun by the Japanese - and the surgery referred to was to clean out an infected incision. “They put a cork in my mouth,” Mom added with some pleasure.
The next morning we had the first visit of Brigitte, the occupational therapist. She introduced herself as Bridget, but her nametag was spelled “Brigitte”. My mother explained that her other daughter (my sister) was also named Brigitte, but she pronounced it properly, the French way. She then informed Brigitte that there are 32 different ways to spell Brigitte. I did not add that this barely comes to a quarter of the ways there are to spell the name of the former Leader-for-Life of Libya.