Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Greet the brand new day

I just had an experience I really want to write about, and when I realized it's been way, WAY over a month since I've written anything on here, I thought what else could I do? So here I sit. Writing once again.

Yesterday, I went through surgery for the first time ever. It was just a minor procedure (or whatever you call it), but I have never been so terrified in my life. The morning before going into the doctor's office, I decided that you know what? Those medieval folks were right all along. Medical treatment really IS an abomination. I mean, going in and messing with someones insides just isn't right. Leonardo da Vinci deserved to be persecuted for all those cadavers he experimented on. Who really needs to know more about the human body? I don't. All this technology is just wrong, and goes against everything I believe in. Or at least that's what I told my mom. She still made me go.

Once we were there, the fear took over. The whole idea of surgery, the thought of "going under the knife" really shook me up. I don't like to be in situations I can't understand... no, understand isn't the right word... situations I can't control. That makes it sound like I'm a micromanaging freak, but that's not it. I'm just pretty independent, and used to being able to rely on myself and handle things. And the thought of being completely unconscious with my fate in the hands of others scared me. Even though I knew everything was going to be fine, even though I knew that my family was behind me, even though I knew I had the care I needed, I was still full of fear. Was it irrational? Maybe a little. But it was there, and I couldn't shake it. And so it was there, right after the nurse had left and I changed into the gown and the slippers and that baggy blue hairnet, that I lost it. Not in a big showy way, but I put my head in my hands and let a series of sobs escape. I felt vulnerable, and small, and alone. The tears were gone by the time the nurse came back, but the things that prompted them were still there.

Then they put the IV in and gave me a run down of things to expect when I woke up. They'd ask me to rate my pain, and if I felt any nausea. I just nodded and tried to smile. The doctor came in, and he must have seen the pure terror in my eyes, because he held my hand and did the whole 'it's going to be fine' bit. Next came the big event. They asked me to take my glasses off (a moment of panic, because not only was I going into this thing, but I was going into it blind) and started wheeling me to what I guess was the operating room. We stopped on the way so the anesthesiologist could squirt something into my IV tube, and I'm pretty sure I was out in less than a minute. Thirty seconds, tops.

The next thing I knew, I felt that warm comforting feeling when your are waking up from a particularly excellent nap. The feeling where you know you are going to get up soon, but sleep just felt so good, so you want to cling to that darkness and not open your eyes yet. The song "Dear Prudence" kept going through my mind, which was a little weird because I hadn't listened to the White Album for a while, but it's a great song and I was enjoying it. Looking back, I guess it was appropriate, with the whole "open up your eyes" lyric. Eventually, I did open my eyes, and after a moment of disorientation I realized where I was. An older blond nurse was standing over me, asking me the questions I had been prepped for in an exasperated tone and shoving a cup of water with a straw towards my face. At least I think it was a blond nurse with a cup of water. All I saw was a blob with a smaller whitish blob. I remember asking for my glasses, and she just said they were with my mom and was there any nausea? I evaluated myself for a moment and realized no, there was no nausea. Pain? Not really any of that either. And then it hit me. It was over! Maybe. I asked the nurse just to be sure. Yep, I was done. Let me repeat that. I WAS DONE! THE NIGHTMARE WAS OVER! AND I DIDN'T HURT! YES! I'm pretty sure the grin on my face didn't leave for quite a while.

The best thing about coming out of the anesthesia was how with it I thought I was. I expected to come out of it all trippy and loopy, but in my mind I felt completely normal, and told my nurse this fact. Except when I told her, I used words like cohesive, coherant, and maybe, but not positively, that I was performing at an optimum level of comprehension. Yeah. I think I was more druggy than I thought. Anyway, I rested in bed for a while and drank water, finally (finally!) got my glasses, and then was wheeled out to our car and went home. All in all, the ordeal wasn't as bad as I thought, and I went home in high spirits. Now I'm just resting, watching tons of movies, and reading loads of books. It's total down time. I love it.

If I were to sum up in one word what going through this taught me, I guess it would be faith. I learned that sometimes, you can't do everything, and that's when the trust comes in. I had to trust in my doctors to do what they were trained to perform in the best way they could. I had to trust that my family would be there after to take care of me. That ability to take a leap of faith (kind of like the one in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), not knowing where you'll end up or what will happen, but believing that things will be alright, is something I don't really have down yet, but I'm working on it. And that's what the purpose is. I mean, the phrase is "exercising faith". You won't wake up one day and have that part of life understood perfectly, but the more you work at it and exercise that faith, the easier and more natural it will become.

So I will try and have more faith and trust in the future. As for right now, I think I'll cuddle up in a blanket, have some soup, and stick in another movie.