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Tuesday, August 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Ammi Midstokke: Impending surgery brings out the farce of last temptations

Ammi Midstokke is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review writing about living off the grid. (The Spokesman-Review / SR)
Ammi Midstokke is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review writing about living off the grid. (The Spokesman-Review / SR)
By Ammi Midstokke For The Spokesman-Review

Some months ago, I found myself in a surgeon’s office paying top dollar for his expert advice.

He said lots of smart things, most of which I ignored until I could find a surgeon who said the things I wanted to hear. The latter are harder to come by than I expected, leading me to think that medical institutions are at least consistent in their education, what with all that empirical evidence.

As a science-based practitioner, one would think I’d appreciate stuff like peer-reviewed, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies. But I couldn’t find any in which someone grew a new leg, so it was back to the witch doctors for me. If that failed, maybe I’d even try some essential oils.

Having exhausted all my hippie sauce options and being unable to do anything rad all winter long (shoveling snow and chopping wood don’t count), I found myself back in the surgeon’s office. This time, I tried to say smart things to him like, “Now here’s how I would go about this surgery if I were doing it.” In that appointment, I discovered the only people more patient than mothers of triplets and people in line at the DMV are surgeons.

Having appropriately informed said professional on progressive techniques for hamstring reattachments, I suggested he practice on a few cadavers before our March procedure. Then I immediately set out to get my money’s worth.

This whole lockdown nonsense (sometimes referred to as ‘rest and rehabilitation’) was making for the longest winter. No skiing, no running, snowshoe at your own risk and, for the love of avoiding the ER, don’t slip on the ice. Approved activities: baking cupcakes, knitting, complaining, attempting to get a medical license on Web MD. I am adept at all four.

Once they decided that repair was imminent, it was like a free pass to let the throttle out. Why not just see how much this baby can take? This can actually be calculated by reading the back of an ibuprofen bottle to determine the lethal dose, then establishing an activity level that requires slightly less.

Since then, I’ve been like a junkie trying to get that last fix. “Just one more five-hour snowshoe,” I say. “Then I’ll settle down.” I’m guessing showing up to my pre-op in my ski gear might seem like I’m not a particularly compliant patient. I don’t want them to figure that out until after the surgery.

So to prepare for the inevitable rehabilitation period, I’ve been working on my arm strength. The top half of me is starting to look like I might make some money in an arm wrestling competition, while the bottom half is resembling a retired circus elephant that just won a weight loss challenge and is fund raising for cosmetic surgery.

Within a few months, I expect to be transformed into something similar in constitution and appearance to a jellyfish – with blond hair and biceps.

Before that happens, before I am Percocet-drooling on myself, before I am relegated to hobbies of the maimed, like playing bridge or reading, I’m going to sneak in one more good hike.

“I am booking flights to the Grand Canyon,” I confess to my person, “I just need one last hurrah.

“That’s what you said last week.”

Ammi Midstokke can be contacted at

Wordcount: 561
Tags: outdoors, Sports

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