I’m mentally preparing myself for knee surgery. I know what you’re thinking — no big deal.

I’m mentally preparing myself for knee surgery.

I know what you’re thinking — no big deal.

It’s merely an outpatient procedure known as arthroscopic surgery in which three tiny holes are placed around the kneecap and, within a couple of weeks, I’ll be as agile as my 10-year-old son.

I’ll be under general anesthesia — meaning for a few minutes I might babble incoherently to my wife and anyone within earshot before going to the sleepy place where I’ll dream of billowing clouds and puppies.

That’s exactly what I thought … until I began the pre-op procedure leading to the event.

I arrived home one night last week following the first of many steps before the actual event, only to be greeted by my son, who wanted to catch me up on his day.

I was somewhere between listening to the highlights of an idea he has for a cartoon and changing shirts when suddenly he had an odd expression, followed by a more odd statement. “What did you do to your chest?”

The word, “mange” was the next thought entering my mind as I looked down where I used to have chest hair.

Standing in front of a mirror, I realized the nurse had carved out a bowling league sign for “spare” across my chest.

During the exam, she said she had to use a razor to make a place for the stickers on an EKG, which was ordered because I exceed 40 years old. Otherwise, she said I would feel the effects of a “waxing treatment,” when she removed them.

I just didn’t realize at the time she was going to work on her calligraphy skills also.

I explained to my son the process for an EKG and how it helps the doctor know my heart is functioning properly.

And since I also had a chest X-ray, I told him it proved I had a heart also.

“They also took some blood,” I said, something I wasn’t aware of happening when I ingested a hamburger minutes before arrival at the appointment.

While he doubted the consistency of my story, he accepted that his dad wasn’t really having sudden, unexplained hair loss and returned to his day’s activities.

My wife just laughed.

Days later, I received a call from a nice lady, known as a pre-op nurse.

She went into explicit detail about what I should and should not do prior to arrival at the surgical center.

I’m not allowed to eat or drink after midnight.

OK, I thought, except the surgery wasn’t scheduled until the following afternoon.

That means for roughly 13 hours I’m not able to eat or drink — except for a “sip of water” in the morning.

I figure the growling in my stomach at sedation time will shake off any effects of anesthesia, and the doctor will end up using a rhinoceros tranquilizer to put me down.

Can’t wait …

I’m not supposed to wear jewelry or anything with metal, either.  And, I should bring an extra change of clothes, which begged the obvious question, “What the heck is going to happen to me and my clothes when I’m out?”

So, reluctantly, I’m going through with it.

I suppose I should be glad just knowing the knee pain I’m currently experiencing soon will be replaced by knee-healing pain. 

But right now, I’m hopeful the sound erupting from my stomach during surgery doesn’t set off any alarms.

Because, if they pull up my gown, they may believe I’m a member of some strange, shirtless bowling team.

Ken Knepper is publisher of The Newton Kansan and The McPherson Sentinel. He can be contacted at kenneth.knepper@thekansan.com.