Im a chicken.
I am scared of needles, pain, and blood makes me queasy. I ask for valium for a cavity filling, and insects...well if you've been reading me this long you know what the hell insects do to me.
I also suck hard at asking for help. I like to be a 100% certified Do-it-yourselfer.
3 weeks ago I flew to Pittsburgh for major surgery. Im still incredibly stunned that I made it TO Pittsburgh, let alone the hospital because let me tell you...I was terrified. Although it may have something to do with my sister Rubia and my friend Chris standing there, arms crossed shaking their heads at my feeble attempts of escape.
Arriving at the hospital before sunrise, I was quickly put in those cute and super fashionable hospital gowns with the convenient fully exposed backs. As each nurse, surgeon, and general hospital staff filed through I asked of each the same: "PLEASE knock me out! I DONT WANT TO SEE THE O.R.!!" I had no shame really. I was a snotty crying mess, trembling in my
gurney bed, even spewing the lame excuse of having to go pee real quick in order to prolong my death-stroll to the operating room. One of the anesthesiologists chuckled lightly as he was giving me an intravenous shot saying that I would soon feel like I had had a nice glass of wine.
"I'd much prefer a bottle!" was probably not what he expected as a reply.
By the second dose of amazingness into my vein-line, I vaguely remember watching the nurse at her desk ask me a question whilst my brain yelled "She's talking to you! Answer her!" but my lips weighed like a pair of bricks.
And then they were shaking me awake.
Cue the frantic post anesthesia face-scratch off.
First I madly wanted to rip off the plastic over my face. My nose was ablaze in itch and I just wanted to tear it apart a little. Bad choice because while I sounded like Darth Vader, that oxygen mask was supplying a good percentage of my oxygen. No mask and I was Buzz Lightyear the first time his helmet was opened: "Gasp! GAASSSSPPPP!!!" But lets be honest here, what can make you forget about severe oxygen depletion like excruciating bone pain? Let me answer that for you....
I mean, yea they just sawed off the blasted thing no biggie. Its nothing pain medication cant help, right? I just have to motion the nurse over nicely with erratic zombie arm flops and useless attempts to what? Hold my leg because that eases the pain? Yeah. That shit there, it totally DOESNT WORK. And apparently neither does morphine all up in my vein system because although the nurse handed me the 'med boost power button' that can give me extra pain killers every 6 minutes lets face it, Im Sherlin. Sherlin would say, press the button, and her body would be all 'Yea that was a good try kid, but we dont do drugs'. You guessed it, my body didn't respond to the awesome power of the fukital med.
Know what did knock me out however? Crying. Crying hysterically and for a prolonged period of time will for sure make you pass out from sheer exhaustion like a 2 year old who threw a tantrum over a lollipop. Like any good parent that sees a tantrum and documents it, so did my sister take a picture of me with swollen eye balls, tear streaked cheeks, and a pout no less.
Ahh...good times good times...
Except, heres where my body declares its hatred for me, once Im fully asleep... I stop breathing. Dont worry though, know what happens when you stop breathing in your sleep but your heart doesn't? You jolt awake. Let me remind you im perhaps an hour post-op and my hip and leg were sliced and diced. Yeah. Those jolt too.
Happens to be that Morphine, that nifty clear liquid doing absolutely nothing useful in my blood system, causes shallow breathing. In my case, too shallow.
It was a fun 5 hours.
Like any good patient, the first thing I asked my sister for after surgery was my phone. Its judgement time suckas...you know whom you matter to by those texts you get while you might already be dead...and yall know who you are. I have text records.
I went under at about 730 am, and was out of surgery around 2 or 3. Thats an unbearable amount of time for a little girl of 9 waiting for her mom to resurface. Her first text asking to Skype was met by Rubia's news that I was already in the O.R. It hurt a little to hear through her typed out words the disappointment she had at being just 30 minutes late. Every hour, 1 or 2 new time stamp inquiries from Iris. Each one a little more impatient. Each one met with Rubia's lovingly patient and G-rated response as to my progress. Its like I had ventured into Space to fight an alien monster and she was awaiting my swift heroic return but taking every lapsed hour as a sign of defeat.
Finally I fat fingered: Hi Baby...its Mommy.
What it read to the both of us was: I did it. I made it baby. Im still here.
Although what it was starting to feel like to me was: "What have I done? Ive made a mistake..."
I cannot sit up. I cannot wiggle my toes. I cannot piss and I sure as shit cant stomach looking at whats under the sheets. My surgeons on the other hand, have a different idea.
Let me tell you something about my surgeons. I have 5 of them. They're all 7 foot some and save for one...unbelievably handsome. Like GQ sent their models to Medical School. I've also spent 7 plus hours fully naked in their presence with no recollection. Thats both terrifying and upsetting.
They also have typical Ortho Surgeon take-no-bullshit personalities that make it infuriating to speak to them when you're in my situation so it all balances out. Some.
With his nonchalant I-cut-people-and-bones-on-a-daily-basis way, Dr. Bill throws back my covers and I have no time to look away. The gauze and surgical tape starts at my hip and ends past my ankle bone with only a short 6 inch break at my knee. There are two valves extracting blood and I am desperately searching for my puke pan.
And yall thought I was brave.
When Dr. Rob, standing at the foot of my bed, has had enough of my whimpering and sissy-fit he looks at me sternly and says:
"Hey. You told me you were tough, that first time I met you in the office. Now prove it to me."
Hes right. They all told me this was a no bull-shit surgery. That this crap right here, it would suck and suck HARD. That I was not meant to do this with no spouse or parent to care for me for a month or more. That I needed to think this through and figure out how the hell I was going to make sure that I didn't fuck it up once we were past the point of no return. It was me who told them I would figure it out. That I was sure, and I didn't need time to think because I had been led here to this ONE opportunity to save my leg and that I was TOUGH.
Well then...lets stir up this pile of ashes.