10 Days Ago Today
Posted on September 14 2018
Unbelievable that 10 days ago today I was faced with anxiety producing uncertainty as I lovingly hugged and kissed all my people goodbye before heading off to have major spinal cord surgery.
My Mom and Dad, Bob and Toshiko, and Sheela and Mike came in the first couple of waves of goodbyes. Their reassurance and confident reminders had me feeling like I could conquer anything and everything.
Desperate to be upbeat with each of my girls, I fought back my tears as they came in two by two to say goodbye. I smiled, and told them I loved them and that I couldn’t wait to see them when I was all done. I couldn’t take my words any deeper or I’d break and the last thing I wanted was for them to smell my fear. Kids and dogs, they have that innate ability to read and sense all emotion even if they don’t fully understand it.
Then, one last final goodbye for my guy, Mickey. I squeezed him tightly, kissed him hard, and then looked him in the eye and through tears said, “Promise me you’ve got our girls. I need to know you’re there for them always. Be present. Be engaged. Promise me. I love you so much” “I will. I promise. I love you, too,” he said. One last hug and then the tears turned to sobs. The nurse then took me by the elbow and said, “Ok, we have to go now. It’s 7:30. They’re ready and waiting for us in room 17.” All I could think was, “how many rooms could they possibly need?”
I felt like a child being led off to be punished for something I’d be unfairly accused of. The nurse held my hand and walked me through the doors of operating room 17. My tears immediately dried up and were replaced with raw adrenaline. I glanced all around at the sterile scene with bright lights, two gurnies, tables covered with countless shiny tools and instruments and it all felt so surreal. The team in the room introduced themselves to me, turned to each other and then discussion ensued about how I should lay down on the table. Suddenly, it was as though, I was no longer present, like I was floating above the entire scene before me. Uh, hello? Anyone? “Lay face down right here,” one of the guys said with a pat of his hand on the table. This looked like one hell of a rock hard massage table with a shitty two inch foam donut for my face. No plush cushy face cradle in sight. Just as I start heading for the table a woman chimes in, “no, she needs to be face up for right now so we can... you know.” “Oh yeah, right, I forgot,” he replied with a chuckle. He patted the table again looking at me and I was looking at him like a dog at the vet. Me? Up there? Right now? Try again. “So, I’m sorry. Up or down?,” I ask. “Up, please,” he responded. I slowly approached thinking they just might change their minds again. They didn’t so I climbed up and laid down, face up. “Hey guys, any chance I can get a little something in my IV for my nerves?, I asked. One of the nurses walked over with a syringe in hand and said, “Of course! This will absolutely help!” And that’s the last thing I remember. Nine hours and 18 minutes later, surgery was complete.
I blinked open my eyes in recovery and immediately started rotating my wrists and ankles and wiggling my fingers and toes. My upper back and neck hurt wicked bad. The nurse walked over and I asked, “Why does my back hurt so bad?” She replied, “Well, you just had major surgery.” “Uh, no. I’m still waiting to have surgery. I haven’t gone in yet,” I said. “No, it’s all over. It’s all done. You’re all finished,” she reassured me. “Are you sure you’re not fucking with me right now?,” I pleaded as I continued to twirl my wrists and ankles and bending my knees and elbows. She very calmed replied, “ No dear, I’m not fucking with you. It really is all over.” I felt a small smile dance across my lips. I was okay. I could rest easy knowing all my limbs were working and I happily drifted back to sleep.
I’m ok. I made it.