They came to get me that Friday evening. Transport that is. Two women wearing nets on their heads, chatting the whole time about their lives. As they wheeled me into the elevator on the 12th floor, “bump” one of them called out to me. The pain was so overwhelming, shooting through my lower back. My back that had been cut open two days earlier to stop my leaking spinal fluid. Here I was having to come to terms with another surgery. Was I avoiding reality? In denial. Most probably.
We get to the large pre-op room and I am placed in a little cubicle. Two men come forward. One steps close to the head of my bed and informs me that he is a graduate student and has to ask me some questions. Ok I think, here we go. And then he stupidly asks me if I have ever had any surgeries. Umm hello? Are you for real? Have you even read my file, I ask him. He steps back as if a wounded puppy and then the next guy steps forward.
Now this guy looks more seasoned. Not his first time at the rodeo. I ignore him and watch the TV above my head as it silently plays Will & Grace. Alex is his name. He has a faint Russian accent and informs me that he is the anesthesiologist and apologized for his acquaintance. He clearly sensed my frustration. Alex is one of those doctors who emanates bedside manner. He stood there holding my hand and chatting as we waited for my operating room to be ready. He was trying to rile me up, kept telling me to curse if I felt like it. We schmoozed about his family and career and my past surgeries, good experiences and bad. I felt validated and listened to.
Finally the time had come to head to the operating room. They asked me if I could scoot from my hospital bed onto the operating table. I find that table laughable. How is a person meant to actually lay on that tiny board without falling off? I always ask what a fat person does. The operating room staff snicker at my questions and sarcastic comments. I try to wiggle my way but cannot maneuver or bend my back without screaming in pain. Alex and the grad student grab my arms and lift me onto the table. Holding a mask over my face and reminding me to breathe deep breaths. It’s not working, I am still alert. I feel the needle puncture my hand as they search for a vein for a second IV. I wince and Alex grabs my hand tightly while gently rubbing my forehead and whispering that all will be ok and I am doing great.
That is the last thing I remember as I drifted off into a silent reality. I woke up less than two hours later as they pulled the tube out of my throat, me vomiting everywhere. Wheeling me directly to postop, it was then that recovery would begin. The last four months would no longer dictate my life. This surgery was going to be a solution. No longer the bandaid approach.
To be continued...