Cont’ from Facing My Greatest Fears
My little “quickie” day surgery for the endometriosis was scheduled for a Thursday morning. I had to be at the hospital for preparation by 6 am.
We arrived on time but the clerk wasn’t there to start admitting people.
Is this a sign?
A red flag?
You’re being paranoid Suzanne.
The clerk turns up about 20 minutes late and starts checking people in. Apparently she had lost her keys.
You can always tell the people that are the ones having surgery as opposed to the people there supporting them. The patients faces are slightly grey, a clammy layer of perspiration clinging on their tight faces.
Having been checked in I’m trotted off to the first station where they take all your personal belongings and put them into a large plastic bag that says “Personal Belongings”.
The thought crosses my mind that my life is now in a plastic bag.
You are given your wardrobe for the day, 2 hospital “gowns” (whomever chose the word gowns to describe these things must have been high) to wear. One facing so your butt hangs out the back, and the other you wear like a “robe” as to maintain your so-called modesty.
Oh, and you’re wearing socks. Socks to protect your feet from germs and socks to help keep your feet warm on the bleach scented icy tile floors.
When I glance around the room the *lucky ones* having surgery have been transformed into ghosts wearing socks. Nothing to identify us other than our plastic arm candy, a series of bracelets with a UPC code for good measure to insure we aren’t mixed up with any of the other ghosts.
I’m told to say goodbye to my loved one as he will no longer be able to wait with me.
This is quick. I don’t like long goodbyes and everyone else is watching.
I am lead into another room and seated in my own large easy chair with extra wide arm rests. How kind I thought. Then I understood this was for all blood drawing, IVs and tubes.
Let the party begin I thought.
IV inserted, blood taken, vital signs recorded, questions asked.
The anesthetists came by and had a chat. Do I have any loose fillings in my teeth? What are my allergies? These were the same questions the nurse asked 15 minutes ago and the same as my pre-op appointment I’d had the week before.
After that I had to wait for the surgeon to show up.
I kept my cool. I even read the paper a bit. I didn’t run.
The surgeon was on time. I took that as a good sign, meaning she would be precise in everything she does.
She described again what she was going to do and then another nurse came by and told me she would be assisting. They asked the same questions I had been asked before. I could feel a bit of fear creeping up inside from the pit of my stomach. Why doesn’t anyone here know what is going on? Why are they all asking me the exact same questions?
I wasn’t allowed to dwell on it too long.
I was lead into the OR by the anesthetists who seemed so tightly wound I thought her springs were about to burst. I could barely keep up with her long quick strides racing into the operating room.
From there everything went at warp speed.
Five women were in the room. My surgical team. GO Team Suzanne. Everyone was masked. Three nurses stood off to the side with their backs to me, busily preparing instruments and glanced over their shoulders when I came in the room. One gave me a slight nod of the head as if to say, “so this is our next victim”.
What I assume was the head nurse started directing me.
Climb up on the table…come down a bit. Bum needs to be lower. Put your legs up. Open. Relax down.
She raises my gowns.
The anesthetists takes my right arm. She starts describing the first sleeping agent she has injected into my hand.
It’s freezing my hand and hurts something terrible. Maybe they made a mistake and mixed it with antifreeze?
The surgeon takes my left arm. She is strapping it down.
Cold antiseptic is being washed from my upper thighs to above my bellybutton.
Everyone seems to be talking at once.
The surgeon takes my hand perches herself next to me on the table as best she can, looks down and dictates,
“Now this is the time you get to decide where you want to go on your dream. Somewhere hot? Or exotic? Where do you want to go?”
I was supposed to be in France when this whole mess with the endometriosis started I explained.
That’s all I remember.
I wanted to be in Paris.
But I wasn’t so lucky.