I had worried about having gallbladder surgery for the past month. I worried that something would go wrong. This inspired me to clean out closets, drawers, cabinets etc. I threw away a lot of crap that I had accumulated over the years. Such clutter. I didn’t want to leave such a mess for my family to have to deal with if something went wrong during surgery. I had voiced my concerns with close friends and family. They all told me “Don’t worry,” “Everything’s going to be ok,” “You’re going to get through this,” “Nothing’s going to happen to you,” etc. Deep down I knew they were right but you just never know when something might go wrong. I wanted to have things in order just in case.
I wrote letters to my children, my Dad, my sisters and a few close friends. Letters to be opened only in case of my death or in the event that I couldn’t speak for myself. These letters were hard for me to write but I did it. I wanted them to know how important they are to me. I couldn’t assume they knew. Sometimes we get so busy with life, we tend to not say things we should and sometimes we say things we shouldn’t. I wanted the last words from me to them to be what was in the letters.
I also made lists of things like internet accounts, bank accounts, etc., so that my family would know what needed to be done and how. I made a list of certain belongings that I wanted my family members to have. I made a list of special requests if I end up in a nursing home. Yes. I did that.
I know, it sounds ridiculous now but I really was worried about leaving my family behind.
My Dad and my son accompanied me to the hospital and I kept it together quite well. I didn’t want them to see how scared I was. They were with me up until I was moved into surgical waiting.
The surgeon was about an hour behind. This led to even more stress and I could hardly wait for them to give me that sedative they had promised! When they did, I felt some relief, but it wasn’t as great as they said it would be. I was rather disappointed! When Paula, the surgical nurse came to see me, I had to go to the bathroom so she helped me wrap a blanket around me because my giant butt was peering out the back of that very fashionable hospital gown. Then she walked me to the bathroom with my IV bag in one hand and the other across the small of my back. She was very nice, as were all the other nurses, but she was my favorite of them all.
After I finished my business in the bathroom, Paula walked me back to my bed and then rolled me out of surgical waiting, through a set of closed doors and down a long corridor. I thought of the song Hotel California by the Eagles. Maybe I would never leave this place.
The operating room was freezing and everything was huge and sparkling clean. Paula helped me onto the thin, metal operating table. She put warm blankets over me. I farted. I thought to myself, “Oh my God, the surgeon is going to be so distracted by my bodily functions he’s not going to do it right!” Paula got my blood pressure cuff settled on one arm and a finger probe on the opposite hand. The anesthesiologist, Dr. Flock, came in and put probes on my chest. His name struck me as funny and I tried not to laugh but all I could think of was my Dad being silly. I know Dad would have jokingly said, “Get the flock out of here.” Paula strapped my arms down and also placed a strap across my upper legs. I was really scared at this point. Dr. Flock said he was giving me something in my IV bag (I don’t remember if he told me what it was) and that I would feel warm and sleepy soon. He put a mask over my face and told me to breathe deeply. I started to cry. Paula comforted me and I said something that I can’t remember now. My voice was very low and slow…
As my lights went out, Paula wiped a tear from my cheek and said, “It’s going to be ok.” THAT was the last thing I remember and all I can say is that Paula is a very, very special person.