So there I was in the hospital, surgery scheduled for the next day, and suffering all kinds of indignities. The prep for one thing. The anesthetist, for another. She had a severe speech impediment, and I could hardly understand a word she said. I was afraid I might never come out from under the anesthesia because I wasn't sure I answered any of her questions correctly.
Then the big day came. The rolled a gurney into the room. The orderlies told me to lie on the gurney. I did, and they covered me with a sheet and told me to remove my gown, which was easy enough. I untied the knot at the back of my neck, and pulled the gown right off.
Now that I was naked under the sheet, they wheeled me down the hallway. I'm not sure, but I think there must have been another gurney beside me because we must have been racing it. I mean, we flew down that hallway to the elevator. Soon we were in the operating room.
There was a nurse who explained to me that when the anesthetist slapped the thingamajing on my face, she (the nurse, not the anesthetist, thank goodness) would tell me to count backwards from one hundred. I said I wasn't good with numbers, but I'd try.
The doctor came in, told me everything would be fine, and said that he was ready. The nurse whipped the sheet off me. There I lay in all my glory, and she said, "Aren't you the guy who runs down Ninth Street every afternoon?"
"One hundred!" I said. "Ninety-nine!"
She got the hint, hit me with the ether, and I was gone. Believe me, I was never so happy to pass out.