Inhale, exhale, repeat…

It is present day, Mon Mar 7.  It is 4:00 am.  I expected this to happen.  After the other two operations my sleep pattern was all messed up so I knew this was coming.  Anesthesia can do this, apparently it’s a side effect.  (I am able to get 4 or 5 hours of sleep at a time and it only lasts a week) I know it’s not because of medications because at the moment I am completely medicine free, not even a tylenol.  I am not trying to be a hero in the pain department as a doctor would say, I just know that for me, it’s better to feel.  It keeps me on track so that I don’t overdo things and it forces me to listen to the cues from my body.  I do not want any set backs with this recovery, I’ve worked way too hard to get here.  I have made myself a green tea, I am comfortable in my lazy girl chair, the house is dark except for the glow from the t.v. that is muted, my dog is snoring near me, it’s a perfect time to continue my journey with you.

Let me take you back.

My name is called, my bed is moving.  It’s a very short ride until the double doors open and I am parked along side a wall and a new nurse introduces herself, asks me all kinds of medical questions again.  This is done for safety.  It’s about a 10 minute wait here and now my bed is moving again to the premium parking spot, right outside the operating room.  Operation room #3 is on the door.  There is another patient in front of me and she is parked in another premium spot, she is discussing the operation with a doctor.  In enters a nurse with a lovely cap for me to wear, I happily tuck in my hair to hide how ugly it is, so you know how much I hate it if I think I would look better in a shower cap type cover.  In enters a new face.  She introduces herself as my aneasthesiologist.  She is young & pretty.  She asks a few general questions and says don’t worry, I will be there to take care of you throughout the entire operation,  you are in good hands.  Phew.  I feel good… I think.  

Oh boy, my bed is moving again.  No turning back now.  I hear tools clanging, nurse chatter, things are being prepared in an efficient manner.  My bed is rolled right against the operating table.  I am asked to slide over to it.  The nurses make sure that I remain draped with gown, blankets, warming inflatable duvet, etc.  I am nice and cozy except for my back.  The operating table is cold.  The room is cold, but I am not.  I am not shaking anymore.  I am told that they keep your body warm now because it reduces infection rates.   Interesting.  My arms drape over the sides of the table for a brief moment because it is very slim.  A nurse pulls out these extension arms just made special for arms, now I am comfortable.  I am too busy looking around the room and listening to the nurses ask me a few questions and chat with each other to do the last preparations that my nerves are now okay and I know there is no turning back now.  I am going to be just fine. 

Okay says my surgeon.  Everyone (about a dozen nurses & doctors) are standing at attention around the perimeter of the room.  All I can see are their eyes.  Their faces are covered with masks and their heads are covered with caps.  They are ready to get this show on the road.  My surgeon says, you already know me, and this is doctor so & so, and introduces a couple more doctors and then he approaches closer to me with his hands behind his back and begins a few questions for their new safety checklist that is done verbally out loud so that we all know what is going on and what the plan is.

Tell us your name.  I tell him.   Tell us your date of birth.  I tell him.   Tell us why you are here today.   I don’t know where this came from, but out of my mouth comes this reply…. I am here for a breast lift and a tummy tuck.  I am thinking, boy am I in trouble now.  Well, the saying goes that if you don’t ask you don’t get right?  I could hear the tension in the room drop immediately with the giggles that instantly happened after I said it.  I obviously couldn’t see them smiling behind their face masks, but their body language and shrugging shoulders confirmed they found my comment humourous.  Even my surgeon who is a very serious man, seemed to smile just for a second with his eyes and then we focused again.  Okay, now tell us the real reason why you are here.  I reply, I am here for a colostomy reversal.  I wanted to add this to the end of the sentence… “F–K  CANCER, I’M BRINGING SEXY BACK”.  Not that I ever had it to start with, but oh well.  I feel the colostomy “equipment” on my body to the left and just below my belly button, and think to myself, thank you for keeping me alive this past year, but good riddance, I could have easily lived with you forever, but I am so excited to become my old self again, my new old self. 

My new old self.  The oxygen mask is being placed closer and closer to my face, inhale.   Deep breath in, exhale.  The story stops here for now. 

Inhale, exhale…. repeat.

I wish the operating room staff could continue this post, I am curious what they talk about during the two/three hour surgery.  I am sure it’s regular chatter like have you tried those delicious new chocolate chip caramel sauce infused muffins at Tim Horton’s?  What did you do last night?  Any plans for the weekend?

Inhale, exhale… repeat.