Point of View: Couldn’t Go Before I Went

“They wanted to know that all systems were ‘go,’ ”

   “Did you see ‘Trouble With the Curve?’ ” I asked the nurse following my hernia operation at Southampton Hospital.
    When she said she hadn’t, I said, “Well you wouldn’t quite get it, but the scene at the urinal, during which Clint Eastwood remonstrates with his reluctant-to-pee penis, was as nothing compared to what I’ve been going through.”
    Initially, they said on the recovery floor I wouldn’t be able to go before I went. “Because they wanted to know that all systems were ‘go,’ ” an inquiring cousin from Pittsburgh was to say later during a phone conversation I’d engaged in after first saying “hello” into the TV remote and getting no response.
    “It was as reluctant as Romney when asked if he’d make his tax returns public,” I told Penelope.
    Standing there in the hospital, I had visualized all sorts of things: I was at the Augean Stables urinal at the Yale Bowl alongside hundreds of others in 1960, unselfconscious beer drinkers all; I was in the Yankees’ locker room during game five with the Orioles and Joe Girardi’s piped-in voice was saying it was my turn next at bat; I was listening to Durell Godfrey, who had said, with a self-satisfied grin, the day before the operation, “Did they tell you about the catheter. . . .”
    Another nurse said I was putting a lot of pressure on myself with all of the above, and that I should simply relax and deploy it.
    Finally, my doctor made the decision five or six hours after the procedure that I could go with or without the flow. He told me there had been three holes. I had been patched up like an inner tube, and since I was riding high on Marcaine, I took with equanimity his diktat that there’d be no tennis for me till Thanksgiving.
    I hadn’t even known I had an umbilical hernia in addition to the others when I went to the doctor’s office, I told my cousin, who replied that she had been similarly surprised years ago by a bulge while showering the morning after she and the other bridesmaids had wrestled down the bride’s girdle on her wedding night.