Share the experience…

I was going to completely shut off the blog plans during my hospital stay because honestly at first I didn’t think it would be appropriate or even the slightest bit interesting.  Who wants to read about someone’s boring stay in a hospital bed? Then I got thinking that one year ago I personally had never been admitted to a hospital for anything and practically never went to the hospital, only when my grandparents neared the end of their lives.  What could possibly be interesting to share?  I decided to bring a pad of paper and pen anyway, just in case something interesting happened, I didn’t want to forget about it.  So I am going to blog about my operation experience, even though it’s the 3rd one and getting to be old news.  If sharing my experience helps just one person to see things in a more positive light, then it makes this whole blogging healing process worthwhile for me.  Whether that person is an ill person going through a similar experience, or a friend that doesn’t feel comfortable asking questions when they really want to know the answers, or even a nurse or other professional friend in the hospital environment.  This is my experience and I will share it with all from a patient’s point of view.  Here goes… just a little teaser to start things off.  I am only going to share the hours just before the operation with you today… they are so profound & meaningful and need to be displayed on this wall with the most beautiful frame.   Please step into my shoes…

Awoke at 5:15 am as we have to report at registration for pre-op at  6 am.

No fluids at all.  No lotions, deodorant, no pretty smelly girlie stuff.  My hair is let’s say, gross!  No mousse, it has no style to it yet, I feel so ugly.  Rick loads my bag in the car while I give my dog C.J. a kiss good-bye and assure her that Mommy will be home and not to stress herself out.  Off we go.

Rick drops me off at the front entrance of the hospital because I was wearing flip flops, which are not snow friendly. I wear flip flops because they will be my hospital slippers during my stay.  I meet a lady (who I will see a bit more in the days to come… more on that later).  Her name is Joan, she is 80 yrs young, but I do not know this yet. 

We get myself registered and off to pre-op we go.  I am so glad that Rick is right by my side.  I am trying to look calm, cool and collected but I am screaming inside.  This is scary stuff, but I am not going to let him know what I am feeling, I am a big girl, I’ve been through 2 operations already, done this before, I can handle this… internally.  Strip down to gown & footie wraps, now I feel even uglier and my body temp is cooling. I am cold.  Warm blankets on the way.  Rick is still right by my side. Nurse’s questions answered, time to set up the I.V.  The veins in my hands and arms have disappeared because I am cold.  Brace myself this is going to smart. I suggested to run my hands under some hot water to see if these veins will come to the surface.  We see Joan again (the lady in registration area).  She is getting prepped too.  I joke to her that she is ahead of the race, we share smiles.   Rick & I wait for my veins to cooperate.  In enters Nurse Mike on a mission that he is looking for something or someone.  Mike is the first nurse I met a year ago when I was first admitted to hospital before we were aware that I had cancer.  He is my age, super nice and has the same quick wit & humour as Rick so we both feel comfortable with him.  He was walking quickly with another nurse, right beside where we were sitting, I wanted to make sure I said hello to him so I called his name.  He stopped and sat beside us and said “oh there you guys are”.  He recognized Rick first, yep like I said I look and feel ugly.  I look nothing like I normally do.  Did I mention no make up too?   He was actually looking for me to wish me good luck.  He works up on the 2nd floor in the surgery wing and he said he noticed my name on the list so he decided to come and see us to let us know that after the operation he will be around and that he was working today.  What a nice guy.  Truly a nurse that has that special gift of “caring”, not just “providing”.  He, Rick and I spoke briefly, my mind was away from the pending big event for a few moments, we smiled, laughed a bit and time to get to business.  See you later Mike, thanks so much for coming down to pre-op to say hello.  I am so blessed.  I hop on to the bed now, and my other nurse puts this inflatable blanket infused with warm air on me and then a heavy blanket.  I look like I am in a space suit and headed for the moon, but I am warm!  Now we wait until the operating room calls for me.  Okay… anxiety is building and a few tears escape my eyes.  Rick says “what is wrong with you?”.  I told him I don’t know.  I should be happy that my body is being put back together.  No sooner did I think this, he says to me “snap out of it, think about it for a second, a year ago you were told you are dying and look at you now”.   He always keeps me on track, never babies me and tells things as they are and how he sees them and this is what I love most about him.  I never have to guess about what he is really feeling, he let’s it known.  He keeps me grounded and focused.  Thank you Rick.

My name is called.  Good-bye Rick. 

Flash forward to the present moment, today, my first full day at home as I work on this post you are reading.  I was on Facebook this morning to see what my friends had been up to last week while I was in hospital and I see this beautiful, most tenderful post from Nurse Mike on his Facebook page.

This is where the beautiful wall frame comes in… I am hanging this on a special place on my wall and sharing with you all.

Here is his post.

 (the time stamp on his post was an hour after he left Rick & I and I was in the operating room yet again)

“…today that person came back into my life. she had that big infectious smile, and still laughs at my stupid jokes. good luck today and i will be there for you when you come to our floor. you will have your angels there and i can already see the wings on you. the cry i had for you was well worth it. good luck karrie….”

There a few reasons why I decided to share this.  This is the main reason.  You see we get so wrapped up in what we are going through that we fail to see sometimes what is right in front of us, what other people are going through.  I had no idea that my cancer journey affected Nurse Mike in this way.  

He cried.

He cried for me.  

I barely know him.

 I thought that he just wanted to say hello to us and good luck.  I come to find out that he has lost some family members to cancer.  Thanks for not running away from me Mike, I appreciate you.

Now I wonder.  Does Rick hide feelings just to be strong for me?  I may never know. 

One of my most beautiful things in life is when a man allows himself to cry. 

I am now in the operating room, stay tuned.