Anesthesia…sigh. Surgery went very well, no complications…
Other than a MISDIAGNOSIS. Anyone who has known me a few years knows that is my luck. ALWAYS.
So originally I was diagnosed with a benign tumor in my abdomen. Sounds super scary, and it was a little bit. There was a fear it had attached to other organs and that I would have to have a full open surgery and not just a laparoscopy. I got diagnosed while seeing some doctors in Chicago for our next step solving our fertility issues. The doctor was very competent, Harvard trained, we reminisced about Boston, the BU (my alma mater)/Harvard rivalry, etc. He was also WRONG.
When they did open me up they found a large cyst (golf ball size), which is so much less sexy than “benign tumor” but so much more of a relief.
So now I have two new scars on my abdomen to join my appendix scar. Yes, of course, I’ve had my appendix out. I was 16 and NO ONE believed me when I said I felt really sick. Not even the doctors when my Mom finally took me to the ER (not blaming my Mom, I was a drama queen kid, I know that’s hard to imagine isn’t it?)
AND at the hospital they drew my blood and LOST IT and then mixed it up with some guy who was having a heart attack in the next room. So for hours I laid there with moronic doctor after doctor poking my stomach and asking ‘does this hurt?’ and telling me my blood work showed no elevated white count which would indicate an appendicitis. Had they looked at ALL the blood work results they would have realized it showed me as a 45-year-old man having a heart attack. MY LUCK. By the way there is a point to this tangent, just not yet.
So back to my more recent surgery. I was nervous, not overly but you always get those “what if” thoughts. So right before they take me in they tell me to say goodbye to Jacob and that when I wake up he’ll be by my side. Ok, I can focus on that, I will wake up and Jacob will be there saying soothing things and holding my hand. I am a BIG fan of ‘soothing phrases’ like “there, there” and “poor baby”. So I say some hail mary’s (good Catholic girl, I know) as they administer the drugs to make me fall asleep. I’m also less nervous because right after they have me lay down on the surgery table this nurse piles warm blankets all over me. WARM BLANKETS. It is the best feeling EVER. Like when I was little and my Mom would dump the clean laundry from the dryer on us.
That gets us back to the appendix story. So by the time Dr. Moron figures out the blood snafu I am quite close to having a burst appendix and all of a sudden things start moving very fast. I am given more pain meds and I am on the brink of passing out, probably due to shock. I remember being wheeled into some pre-op waiting room, my parents aren’t allowed in. I’m so out of it I can’t even open my eyes but I know one thing for sure.
I am FREEZING.
My feet are so cold that I twist the sheet around my feet. And I start talking to God. Not praying, talking. I tell God that I am pretty freaked out and on top of it all I am freezing. I also tell God that I know it is in His hands but that if He really was going to let me die could I at least die with warm feet? I am not kidding.
The MOMENT I wrap up my little ‘convo’ with God I hear the door open. I still can’t open my eyes, but I hear someone walk by. I try to talk out loud and can’t. Then the person pauses and comes back. She puts her hand on me and ask if I am cold. I nod my head and I can feel tears come down my cheeks. She then puts socks on my feet! At that point I tell God ‘thank you’ and pass the heck out. Apparently after that they let my parents say goodbye to me. I have no memory of that, I had socks and had checked out. I still have those socks.
So I wake up from this recent surgery still in the operating room. I am cold and I realize Jacob is not there as had been promised. I start to cry. The nurse ask me if I am in pain, I shake my head ‘no’. She ask me what is wrong and I mange a very pitiful “Jacob?” I hear her ask the doctor if that is my husband and I blurt out “of course he’s my husband!” Apparently people under anesthesia tend to be very honest and often they call out for people they really want to see, and this isn’t always their spouse.
Back in the recovery room, still no Jacob, I get even more honest when they tell me about the misdiagnosis. I’m still under the effects of the sedation and I interrupt the nurse and say “so basically the doctor in Chicago got it completely wrong?” The nurse hesitates and then says “pretty much.”
“Bastard.” I gasp this as the breathing tube had scratched my throat up, but I manage to convey my sentiments. Then of course I apologize to the nurse for my foul langauge. She laughs and says she is going to get my husband. Then I tell Jacob how I thought the Chicago doctor was a bastard and he very sweetly pats my hand and hushes me.
Story summary? I can get more honest, or at least less censored, under the effects of anesthesia, and I once bartered with God for warm socks. I’m ok with that.