I carry a list of medications, past surgeries, and emergency contact numbers in my wallet and I was updating this list yesterday, just to make sure all the meds were current. It’s a bit sobering to note that my list of past surgeries is longer than the litany of current medications.

Since 1980 I have had 16 surgeries requiring general anesthesia, and three eye surgeries that were done with local anesthetic. Six of the major surgeries and two of the eye surgeries have occurred in the last five years.

Included in this list are the usual suspects — tonsils, appendix, gall bladder– along with various X-rated parts that I’ll leave to your imagination. Then, of course, there are the couple of chunks of bone that I lost during the hip and shoulder replacements.

So that got me to wondering — what happened to all that stuff? I know, because I’ve seen the charges on my EOBs, that it goes from surgery to the pathologist (no more tonsils sent home in a jar of formaldehyde). But then what happens? I mean I used to be pretty fond of all those pieces and parts. It would be nice to know.

Depending on what you believe in for the afterlife, it also makes me wonder if that stuff will show up in my next incarnation — or perhaps I’ll be limping around without a hip joint.

And while I would like to think that my poor, overworked gall bladder got a second life as fertilizer in a flower bed somewhere, I suspect that it got vaporized into smoke and ashes in the hospital incinerator.

I’ll have to ask my doctor the next time I see him. In the meantime, it’s kind of weird to think of all those pieces and parts of myself that are scattered around … somewhere.

Hope all your pieces and parts are both doing well and are firmly attached. Thanks for checking in.