A Walk Through a Surgery

September 18, 2007 at 12:44 pm (story telling, surgeries)

Picture yourself here, in this situation.

****

Your parents gently shake you awake. It’s early, 5am in the morning. You don’t want to get up yet, you barely slept at all last night. All you kept thinking about was the big operation today. Now today is finally here. You shiver, feeling cold despite the average temperature of your room, and dress in comfy, warm clothes.

There will be no breakfast for you today, as you aren’t aloud to eat. Your stomach rumbles, but you ignore it and continue to pack your book bag of your CD walkman, favourite book, and notebook to write things down. Maybe you’ll feel like writing a letter to your pen pal at some point during this long day.

Your surgery is scheduled for 1pm, but the hospital wants you there early. Your parents – usually late for everything – are on time. You go up to the room instructed by your doctors, where you will do the first step of surgery prep. The nurses make you change into a scratchy, uncomfortable hospital gown. The kind that shows your bum. You request another one so that you can wear it as a house coat. You wait in the comfortable waiting room, tapping your fingers. Finally, after what seems like forever, it’s your turn. You go into the room with your mom and the nurse. She asks the standard questions, such as have you eaten anything today? How much do you weigh? Are you a smoker? Etc etc, you’ve heard it all before. You answer almost monotone – your thoughts far away. You’re thinking about something completely different.

Before you know it, the questions are over and you are free to make your way towards the blood department. They need to insert an IV and pump your body full of the medicine it needs to avoid bleeding problems before you can go under the knife. They don’t want any repeats from your first surgery. The IV medicine drip process takes about an hour or so. Your parents take turns sitting with you and going out for a smoke break. You figure they also go out to grab something to eat…they don’t do it in front of you because they know how irritable you get on these mornings.

Your stomach is growling, and it’s difficult to ignore now. The parents of the girl beside you have bagels from Tim Hortons. It isn’t helping. The aroma of herb and garlic cream cheese is making your stomach protest the instructions of no eating. You have skipped out on breakfast before, and don’t understand why it’s so difficult today. Usually it doesn’t bother you too much. As you wait for the medicine drip to finish, you ponder this. You conclude that it’s because you absolutely can not eat or you’ll ruin the surgery, and that’s what makes it harder. A part of you wants to ruin the surgery, but that’s just a tiny, childish part that is scared and worried. You switch your train of thought to avoid thinking about that, and instead wonder what your classmates are doing.

You lucked out, there is a huge math test today. Although math is your worst subject, you would rather be in class writing the test. You know you’ll just have to make it up when you go back to school. You miss your friends already, and you wonder if they are thinking about you.

Finally, the medicine drip is finished and you can go wait in the OR waiting room. You wait for a long time in the OR waiting room, listening to your CD walkman and watching those around you. They are all young children with their parents, there are a couple of babies even. You feel bad for them and wonder why they are here. You also feel bad for their parents; it must be hard to go through. Then you think of your own parents, sitting just beside you. It used to be a ritual that your dad would play the hockey game with you while you waited, but another family is playing it and you are both a bit too big for the seats anyway – although that had never stopped your father before. He would play anyway.

You vaguely wonder what your parents are thinking about. They are probably just as bored as you, and just wanting the waiting to end. That’s about the worst part of a surgery – the constant waiting. Finally, your doctor appears and talks to the three of you about what today’s surgery is going to consist of.

He draws on the bone tumours on your right leg as he speaks about what ones they plan on removing. He tells you all how long he figures the surgery will be – four hours – and tells you that the nurse will be along shortly to bring you down to the operating room. You smile and nod, barely listening, and he goes his marry way back to the operating room to shine his sharp tools. You snicker at that mental image and push it from your mind and turn to look at your parents.

They both are looking at you, with slightly worried expressions on their faces. They know that with every surgery there is a risk, and your track record for speedy hospital stays has never been great. They are probably wondering what you’re thinking about as you sit there wondering what they are thinking about. The three of you make small talk for a couple of minutes, then the young too-cheerful nurse approaches.

It’s time for you to go on without your parents. They will leave the OR waiting room and go to the parents waiting room down the hall. Your mom has told you before what it’s like there; too quiet and strange. Parents crying, worried about their children who are in the operating rooms as they wait. You feel more sorry for them then you do yourself, at least you’re unconscious for the four hours. It will go by fast for you. You hug and kiss your parents goodbye and tell them you will see them shortly, and caution them not to worry. They smile and kiss you on the cheek and watch as the nurse leads you away. They know the drill and know exactly where to go. You wonder what they will do for the next four hours.

The nurse leads you down the wide hallway to the operating room where your surgery is going to take place. You follow, dragging your IV pole along beside you, all the while debating on running away – just for an instant. Even though you’re nearly 17, you still have those childish thoughts of running away from all things scary. You can see the operating table and the huge overhead light, and your stomach does a nervous little flip. You hate this part, but you walk in anyway.

The anaesthesiologist asks you what your flavour is. This question would throw a first timer off, but you know he’s just asking what flavour you want your “knock out gas” to be.

You tell him you don’t care, and request it to be through the IV they have already inserted in your left hand. He nods in understanding. Your secret reason for requesting the gas through the IV is because the mask scars the living daylights out of you. You hate feeling suffocated, and that’s exactly the feeling you get the moment the mask is stuck to your face. It’s easier this way.

You lay down on the operating table and take one, deep calming breath. Within seconds you begin to feel the knock out gas kicking in. You are then in a deep sleep. Your last thought was that you hoped nothing goes wrong and that you aren’t in too much pain afterwards.

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2 Comments

  1. Karen said,

    You are so brave. I love you.
    xo

  2. Jessica said,

    Aw thanks Karen, I love you too 🙂

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