B, I, N-G-O And Beatdown Was His Name-O aka “Night Of The (Assisted) Living Dead”

I’ve shared this story a few times with my friends. It was only a matter of time before one asked, “Why haven’t you blogged about this one?”

Ok, well, here it is!

Today is April 1, April Fool’s Day, my all-time favorite holiday. But it also marks the 4th anniversary of my second total knee replacement (TKR) surgery. Not that that is cause for celebration. It simply is what it is…

And no, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke.

If you’ve ever had TKR surgery or spent some time with someone who did, you know that the road to recovery is a challenging and painful one. And if you have my orthopedic surgeon, you know that they have you up and walking on that knee THE SAME DAY!

I’d like to take this time to thank whoever invented painkillers. If I could, I would have your baby. With painkillers, of course.

Before you have the procedure and during your consultation, you’re asked how you intend to rehabilitate and are often given one of three options:

  1. In-home recovery with the aid of a visiting Physical Therapist (which I did the first time around).
  2. At a treatment center where you report for Physical Therapy appointments.
  3. You spend your entire recovery period in a home where you get ’round the clock treatment for four weeks.

Not that I’m lazy, but if someone is going to take care of me, they’re going to take CARE of me.

And I met with a rep at the center before making my decision. All those nurses? Dude.

Ok, so the place I chose specialized in transitional care, rehabilitation therapy, long-term nursing and Alzheimer’s care.

Awesome facility with mock setups to help transition back to real life.

A car to enter and exit.
Preparing you to enter a home.

There was only one problem. The rehab side was full by the time I got out of surgery and had been transported after my two-day stay at the hospital. But there was room on the retirement side.

Not a problem. I’ll just hang out with old folk.

Which I did, when I wasn’t screaming in physical therapy…
Or screaming for more painkillers hours later…
Or screaming for more snacks from the pantry…
Or screaming for a rubdown from one of the girls on 3rd shift….

But believe it or not, that ain’t the story.

THIS is…

It was scheduled to be a 4-week stay and, although it was not considered a long-term stay, I was encouraged to spend more time with the more permanent residents.

You see, when I wasn’t screaming in the rehab room, I was in my own room, moaning. When things got better, I’d sit up on the bed and watch TV on my firestick. Did I mention that I had my family bring that over for me to hook up to the facility’s Wi-Fi?

I was also receiving numerous visits from family and friends. Even my longtime friend Tonya drove down from Chicago to bring me some Giordano’s pizza (love you, Tonya!). The place was only about 4 miles straight down the street from my home, so I was never really without family.

When I wasn’t in a visit, I was researching my genealogy and typing blog articles (I was only 5 months in at that point and really excited about it – still going strong!).

So, when the staff recommended I spend more time with the people, they meant for me to get the hell out of my room and mingle!

And what better way to share some laughs than to participate in their favorite pastime.

BINGO! (B… I… N-G-O and “Mingle” was his Name-O!)

So, I got in my wheelchair and wheeled my way to the dining area down the hall one evening and there they were, just like every night.

I said hello and was greeted by a barrage of “Heyyyyy, young buck!” and “Hey cutie/sexy!” from the regulars. I had spoken to them in passing on several occasions, but this was a different arena. I found it particularly funny that one of them told me to park next to her so she could ‘rub me for good luck’.

(B… I… N-G-O “Not Single” was his Name-O!)

The gamemaster aka one of my favorite PM nurses gave me a Bingo playing card and asked me if I was “ready for this”. I told her I was, chuckling confidently. The other players smiled at me as if I was new to the NASA Space Program and needed mentoring.

She raised her eyebrows and cocked her head at me as if silently warning me. I smiled and told her to get ready to bring out the prize basket, which was nothing more than box full of snacks that they normally brought to your room, assuming your diet allowed.

And even though the night nurses always brought me more apple juice, butter cookies and sour cream potato chips than I should have received every night, I was in it to win it.

For honor!
For posterity!
For butter cookies!!!

Note: Most of you know that I hate the heat, so I kept the AC running high in my room. That made it the ONLY room in the manor that wasn’t Hades-hot. The nurses came to my room just to breathe clean air again and you know I took advantage of those visits, keeping them laughing. Even the woman from sanitation, who spoke more Spanish than English, hung out with me. I knew enough to entertain her.

(B… I… N-G-O “Bilingual” was his Name-O!)

I also spent considerable time talking to the nurses from Africa, who were fascinated to know that I took such interest in my cultural beginnings. Especially since I’d just received my DNA results from the gift kit my son and his friend Claire brought me during my stay.

[If you’ve been reading my blog for some time and can remember, you might be putting two and two together and have realized that this tale overlaps with my Ancestry DNA story, “Learning My Country(ies) of Origin: Cameroon”.]

So anyway, I had the snack and (rub) back hookup! But like I said, I was in it to win it and I was about to give these folks the early Christmas gift of disappointment at the hands of a “young buck”.

(B… I… N-G-O “Kris Kringle” was his Name-O!)

Note: In Bingo, It takes five plays at the absolute lowest to win.

Guess who did it in 8?

“BINGO!!! Bring me my chips!!!” I yelled, hand raised triumphantly.

(B… I… N-G-O and “Pringles” are their Name-O!)

Complete silence. I looked around the room and everyone was looking at me like I was a Klan member whose car broke down in the middle of Harlem.

I slowly lowered my hand as the game master came over and sat the basket down before verifying my card.

“That’s right, bingo, you won…” she said kindly. “Pick your prize.”

I surveyed the room.

Continued silence. Breathing.

I looked down and chuckled nervously as I rummaged through the box. Looking back, I’m sure that only served to agitate the situation further. Through the crinkling sound of my fingers on the snack bags, I heard what sounded a lot like the word “Bitch”, mumbled from an older woman.

And then I realized, looking at the faces.

This was a game I was never meant to win. At least, not SUPPOSED to.

“You know what?” I concluded, placing the chips back in the basket. “I’m not very hungry. Someone else can take my prize. This isn’t what the doctor would want me eating anyway…”

Continued silence. And then I realized something else.

It wasn’t about the prize. It was about the PRIDE. I had stolen it. I was a newbie, a young’un and an infidel. My presence was welcome in any domain but this one. This was their fellowship. This was their serenity. And I had thrown paint all over it.

“I should go to my room. My leg is hurting…”

Kenny, you sounded like a punk kid, tellling a bully that you think you heard your mother calling you. Straight BIZ-nitch…

I put the bag back in the box as the nurse smiled quietly. And all of a sudden the room didn’t seem as bright anymore and for some reason, it felt 30 degrees colder.

“Goodnight, everybody!” I said enthusiastically to an unresponsive audience. I pulled on the wheels just enough to clear the table in reverse before pushing on the right wheel to pivot 180 degrees.

The chair never felt so heavy and the tires never seemed so resistant.

I don’t know if it was the medication or the general fatigue from the days “let’s amp it up” workout with my physical therapist or my lack of sleep the night before. Maybe a combination of all these things and more.

I pushed slowly, not saying anything, hoping to make a faster exit.

I slowed suddenly, hearing what I thought was the squeaking of wheel hubs from multiple tires. I stopped and so did it. Laughing it off (internally), I conjured whatever strength I could and wheeled as fast as I could, three rooms down, to my room (I swear that 50-foot trip felt like it was 50 yards).

I rolled into the room without looking back and closed the door. Creeped the hell out!

I’m sure you can imagine how I looked the first time my door opened and one of night nurses entered to check my vitals.

Wait. Let me stop here. I know you all are laughing at me and calling me a punk, but let something like that happen to YOU! To HELL with you all!

Now remember, being in a managed care facility, going through rehab after major surgery, you don’t get a complete uninterrupted night’s sleep. They check on you throughout the night. Normally, it’s the worst part of staying there.

That night I welcomed every woman “walking”.

…and promptly, yet politely, refused, every time she offered to help me into bed.

Thank God there were no night sessions in the Physical Therapy room.

Cause I DAMN sure wasn’t going outside of MINE.

Cause like my Latina friend in housekeeping would sing…

(B… I… N-G-O “Dead Gringo” was his Name-O!)

Ok, as I warned at the beginning, it’s April Fool’s Day and everything AFTER the returning of the prize snacks was obviously untrue. Still I’m sure you had as much fun reading it as I did writing it.

The real ending:

After gazing at all the angry faces, I took TWO bags and an additional packet of butter cookies and wheeled my happy ass back to my room, laughing all the way…

Like what you read? Leave a comment in the section below. And be sure to sign up at the bottom for email notification of future posts from Kenny’s Camera, Cooking and Crazy Confessions at ZootsBlogSpot!

Happy April Fool’s Day!!


  1. I didn’t know it’s taken so seriously, something new. Everything is like a surprise because you have never grown up there or know it’s culture. Hmmm.. very interesting 😊 enjoying every blog Kenny, always something new to learn.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LOL How many posts have you read so far?

    Thanks again for reading! Although I was joking about them trying to kill me, I meant everything I said about their frustration with me winning.

    Thanks for reading, Jyotsna!


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