Sunday, September 15, 2013

After Surgery

On Friday 13, I had a small surgery.  I'm not superstitious, no.

My last memories are of the surgeon telling the anaesthesiologist that she likes to get a 'insert name of painkilling medicine' on board before she starts.  "Good plan," I commented.  Realizing that I had understood this (duh!), she turned around and said that usually people talk about something "nice" at this point.  She began a new conversation, waving her arm wildly at the anaesthesiologist.  She said she had seen my picture in the paper, cut out the article and put it in my file.  I laughed about that performance and mentioned that the critic had sat in the front row with his notebook.  We had responded by dancing really close to him and by being as obnoxious as he ...  I don't recall if I finished the sentence aloud.

My first memories are of the surgeon pulling my arm and of her voice urgently, it seemed, telling me about the overall success of the surgery and that it wasn't the surgery we had planned.  She told me why she had changed course, and I remember having difficulty focusing on her rationale.  Did she wake me?  Had I woken before such that people knew it would be OK to give me all the information and that I would remember it and understand?

My second memory is of me staring around and of a voice informing another voice about how much I had peed: critical information that.

After that, I remember some blanket-wrapped bodies lined up in the recovery room.  Then, there was the bumpy transport back to the short stay unit.  We came down the corridor and passed by the waiting room.  On the way in that morning, I had seen several people wheeled through in their hazy post-surgery state; I thought that this moment should have been private.  When my turn came, however, I was glad everything was so public.  I immediately saw the Wizard, sunk deeply into a device.  Several times, I called his name -- no response.  The person pushing joined in, and he looked up.  I was so happy to see him and to hold his hand.  Even though the medical staff had been great, the feel of his familiar hand is more than I can describe.

We've done the surgery thing several times now; we've got the teamwork down.  We know how to advocate for each other, but I also know that practice does not, in this case, make perfect.  Even the littlest of surgeries (as this was) are hard for the person waiting.  And waiting.  And sitting with all that fear.  And waiting.  The person having the surgery cruises through on happy drugs.

I remember the Wizard stepping in through all the history-giving and chart filling out.  He reminded me of things I had forgotten, stressing the importance of others.  I also remember him sitting by my bed checking all the monitors and devices.  I checked out because I knew he was watching over me.  Then, he was finding water.  More water.  And still more water.  He cheerfully listened to all the nonsense (that, funnily enough I don't remember).  And I remember him smiling when I announced that the happy phase had passed.  I remember, too, the way we crawled up our windy hill at 13 mph, pulling over for cars who weirdly wanted to go more quickly.  Wizard has a lead foot, so this was extraordinarily hard; we'd round a bend and all of a sudden, we'd be going 19 mph.

There are always a couple of hiccups that are disability-related, as opposed to consequences of surgery. We're handling them.  Weirdly, there's almost no pain.  Well: that's only true as long as I don't try to move quickly, twist, or bend completely to pick something up.  Certainly, though, there's less pain than I expected.  Unlike previous times, where I threw up for days, I have had very little nausea and only a few moments of dizziness and light-headedness.  I'm breathing into that silly spirometer, my pride a little dented: I'm an athlete.  Certainly, I can do better?  Surely, I have awesome lung capacity?

Wizard's got this covered.  My favourite foods are in the house.  I anticipate much sleep and many hours of Mi-5/Spooks (yes!  again!  more!).  The house is amazing.  It's so peaceful here.  From my window, I'm watching the deer and listening intensely to the silence.  I thought the marine layer might reduce the general risk of fire, but it's still desert season here.  For the moment, I'm resting in the oasis we created.  It's a welcome break from the city.  Call it an interlude, intermission or even an entr'acte.  I'm supported by the inner and outer environments.  I'm safe.  I've returned from that strange surgery world.  The freshness of autumn is in the air -- brisk, clean, clarified, and open.  I'm OK.  And for that, I'm deeply grateful.

1 comment:

  1. As always, Beautifully written! The realities of these types of experiences so perfectly on "pointe", yes pun intended ;-)
    On a more personal note, SO happy you are safe and on the mend! BIG Smiles!

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