I am feeling many Feels today, and this is not what I want to write. What I want to write is about “lazy learners” and faith transitions and the dissent of zealots, but I am not quite ready. So today, just continuing yesterday’s story. Sort of. Not even really a story, but a list of microstories, little things I want to remember about the day of my surgery:
- The day before my surgery the surgical center called to confirm what time I should come in. She told me and I thought “I should write that down” but then I didn’t because I also thought “that’s not any earlier than getting up for a race, so no big deal.” BUT THEN. Then I woke up at about 2:37 in the morning in a panic. Did they tell me to come at 6:00, so I should get up at 5:15? Or to come at 5:00 so I should get up at 4:15? (Both are times I’ve gotten out of bed to run a race.) So then I fretted in bed for awhile and castigated myself for not listening to that “write it down” wise voice and I imagined all sorts of scenarios of what would happen if I got the time wrong. I even got out of bed, found the number of the surgery center, and called them. (It’s a same-day surgery center. No one answered at 3 in the morning.) Finally I actually woke up Kendell and said “what time did I tell you I needed to be there?” and he said “six, stop worrying, get some sleep” and you know? I’m STILL not sure what time I was actually supposed to be there, but if it was 5, no one said anything about me being 45 minutes late. (But then they also didn’t say anything about me being 15 minutes early, so…)
- Just this moment: walking from the car into the building. It was still midnight-dark at 5:45 in the January morning, and so cold, but the stars looked so bright. They calmed my nerves and made me feel like it would be OK.
- I intended on painting my toenails. I did not paint my toenails. I went into foot surgery with naked toenails, which is kind of obscene...
- When I was changing out of my clothes (I wore flannel pjs because that seemed like the easiest thing to put on after the surgery) into the surgery gown, there were nurses standing outside the changing room. One of them said “today is a cool date, January 12, 2021. 1/12/21” and another one said “it’s like…ummmm, there’s a word for it? Like mom or wow?” and they couldn’t get there so after thinking ahhh, cute, science people trying to do word things!” I said “it’s like a palindrome” through the changing-room curtain. (It is almost a palindrome, but not really, but that’s OK because at least I had the word they were searching for, if using incorrectly.)
- I had to pee in a cup so they could do a pregnancy test before my surgery. I had a four-minute panic thinking what if it’s positive? I mean…I love babies and I love my kids but I’m almost 49 years old. It’s someone else’s turn to test positive. (I was not pregnant.)
- The usual compliments about my gorgeous veins when my IV was inserted.
- The doctor had me write “yes” on the foot he was supposed to operate on, just to be sure. I found this to be oddly positive so I added an exclamation point. I wish I would’ve also drawn a smiley face.
- It was so strange to be the patient instead of being the patient's spouse. SO WEIRD.
- The anesthesiologist came into the pre-op room to talk to me. He was awesome. He told me about every step of the process and what I could expect. He told me that he and my surgeon had discussed my case the night before, and decided they wanted to ask me if they could do a nerve block on my leg. Apparently this is a new thing they do, both the anesthesia and the block so that there’s no pain for 18-24 hours after the surgery. I told them that was great, but what really struck me about this was imagining them talking on the phone the night before about me. It made me feel like they both really wanted to make sure they surgery went well, like I was a person who mattered instead of just a patient.
- There were a bunch of people in the room before they wheeled me out and down the hall to the surgery room, so Kendell stepped out to make room. Which means I didn’t see him or tell him goodbye or hear him tell me good luck and I was just high enough on whatever they put in the IV to calm you down that I thought about turning around and shouting “where the hell are you, Kendell!!?!?” but not so high as to actually do it.
- I did not believe I would actually go under with the anesthesia. But my last memory is of them telling me to scoot onto the table and I said “aren’t you going to 1-2-3 lift me?” If they actually had me count down from 10 like you see on TV, I forgot!
- My first thought when I woke up: I HAVE TO PEE. RIGHT NOW. Those were also my first understandable words. Luckily the nurse believed me and got me there in time. I’m totally OK with being the nerdy patient who knows stuff about words. I am NOT ok with being the patient who pees the bed!
(You can read Part 1, where I explain how I got to the point of needing surgery, HERE.)