Nate’s Thoughts On My Surgery

Karen brought Nate to Bassett Hospital yesterday, the day after I had multiple surgeries on my spinal cord. You can go to Katz Komments for further details. I was curious to see how Nate would react to me being laid up. My guess is that he was nervous and a bit scared to see me in that setting.

At first, he sat himself in the only chair on my side of the room. Unfortunately he put himself right in the way of all foot traffic. When he was asked to move he wouldn’t and acted out, yelling bits of nonsense. That put me on edge, just a little, but then he settled down when I gave him the TV remote and headphones. He found his house renovation shows and Cartoon Network. He was all set then, especially an early Spongebob.

Without any sense of my comfort and post-op needs, Nate climbed into bed with me and huddled up close. It was very sweet, an attempt, I think, to make things right. At one point he asked me, “Are you dying?” and I assured him I wasn’t. That must be what relates to hospitals: death. I can understand that, though it must be terrifying to be unable to gauge the degrees, that back surgery isn’t life threatening, and that I was OK.

Karen took him to the cafeteria for pizza. Upon his return, Nate told me he saw Chef Brian, who runs the hospital catering and did the food at Robbie’s graduation party. Brian once left a party he was working to run and get Nate some pizza, because there was nothing for him to eat. He takes good care of Nate, and it’s much appreciated. Brian’s got his own reasons in his family to extend kindness to Nate, and he always does. With that, Nate went home, and Karen returned for my check out.

When I arrived, just before I hit the couch, Nate came in.

“You’re not dying, aren’t you?” he said in his garbled way. He gave me a gentle look and a hug. Really, a hug.

He’s been very helpful, not arguing when I ask him to move something for me. He knows there’s a little crisis and he’s got to step up his game. And he’s glad I’m not dying.


About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is the former Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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