I had two surgeries in the past couple of months. I'd been putting them off to the point where I was dropping things all the time with my hands. I had never had surgery before, well, not in an operating room. It was going to be a very cold day in $*&^ before I let anybody tie me down and drug me...cut me.
But, okay...I decided, "Hey! This is ridiculous, I can do this."
Just comming off of finally getting hearing aids...which I'ved needed forever, since I was a kid...from getting my eardrums blowed out by my Dad. It was pretty cool...hearing the breeze in the trees, the birds again. The first time I heard the refridgerator come on I jumped, "What's that?" I asked my wife and she laughed. Getting them was one of those positive experiences. Although, they are a constant reminder of my history.
I've had stitches, LOL, lots of stitches, I've got scars all over me...long ones from belts, short ones from spray paint cans getting tossed at me, and ones from my own carelessness. But surgery? Hmmmm...
The first one went very well. Being new to surgery I had absolutely no frame of reference for what to expect. I walked into the Prep room and the nurse just very matter of factly said, "Take everything off and get in bed.." pointing to a bed. I said, "Uhm, no, you don't understand. It is just my hand they are doing." She looked at me as though a little light had come on and spoke to me very slowly as though I had an obvious defect in my ability to assess the situation. "No," she said, "this surgery is preformed in an operating room. Take everything off and get into bed."
Okay then....this might be a good place to bring up my hospital, uhm...quirkiness. I'm always looking for the exits in any room I go into...always sit facing the doors...always imagine how long it might take me to get to the door in case I needed to...because, c'mon, doesn't everybody? LOL But, seriously, hospitals are a whole other thing.
They hooked me up to the monitors and my blood pressure was 135 over 65...my heart rate, 55...and I was having fun making it change...as they came in and out of my little space. Which is an interesting little quirkiness in itself maybe? Because I can always hear my heart beating, which my wife thinks is odd...but I'm getting distracted, in a hospital....do to me what you want, when you want, whatever you want...suddenly there is no anxiety. Not sure why? Maybe anyone else could explain that sometime...it seems inconsistent, but, well, who knows?
Anyway, so now we have an IV going in both hands, one for the pre-surgery sedative, the other for the anesthesia for the hand that is going to get the actual surgery.
I don't do drugs, never have...I had to quit doing caffiene fifteen years ago because it was interfering with uhm, things. Specifically working out. I was having muscle spasms. But the point is that I am very sensitive to any drug. And when they put the sedative to "relax" me into the IV, well, okay....that's it, see ya. Last thing I saw was my wife literally laughing at me as they wheeled me into the operating room. And the discomfort in my hand was gone immeadiately. The pain and any discomfort from the actual surgery was actually less than the discomfort I had been experiencing normally. So...I called the surgeon up the following week, "Let's do the other one!" He laughed, said in his forty years as a surgeon no one had ever called the week after requesting the other hand done so quickly. "Call my girls and set it up," he said.
The second one I was prepared, psyched...and everything went drastically down hill from that point where the nurse said, "Take everything off and get into bed."
Seems I was supposed to be awake and somewhat helpful during this process. Talk to them during the surgery and be alert. The sedative was not supposed to knock me out, just relax me. So they adjusted the sedative...and frankly, I fealt nothing whatsoever as far as the drug at all.
They wheeled me into the operating room and I thought, okay, this is different...this could be interesting. And they literally tied one hand down....put a huge heavy tourniquet on the other, tied it down. And I'm still thinking, okay, okay...right up until the surgeon made the incision.
Now wait, I thought, am I supposed to feel sharp? Should I say something? Scream? Yell? "Uhm, should I feel sharp?" I asked as calmly as I could.
"You feel sharp?" The surgeon asked back excitedly.
"We'll take care of it." He said.
That was it, the crowd goes wild. The heart monitor started beeping and I'm outta here, thank you very much. And everyone in the room was suddenly telling me to calm down. And I heard the surgeon say, "He should not be able to lift his arm..." meaning the one they were doing the surgery on.
"You are going to have to calm down." They kept telling me.
"Find my wife," I said, "Get my wife, please."
That experience...took from me...the ten years prior I had spent in active recovery. I was suddenly just as vulnerable and susceptable...the dreams came back, doubt pushed it's way in...
I am...dissapointed, frustrated, angry...when I went into the Surgeon's office to have the stitches removed I confronted him on the differences between the two surgeries. He was great....listened to everything I had to say....then told me the second one was the normal surgery, not the first. I did exactly what I was supposed to do...told him that I fealt it...he took appropriate action.
The end result is great, fantastic! No discomfort in my hands any longer. But I foolishly went into it thinking I was at that place where I could handle whatever came up.
Some lessons are learned the hard way...and in retrospect, a conversation with the surgeon about my history would have been helpful. But you know? I forget sometimes...want to forget other times...but this is part of me....not who I am....but definately part of me...
There is a place in every heart where fear turns to courage...and courage takes flight.