[Every once in a while, we have to go something that blows. Something we’re not prepared for. Something, that at least, makes a good story…]
I walked around my apartment, touching things, pulling my blankets tighter around my bed, staring at the window, and then eventually sitting down on my couch. The TV was playing in the background, Olympic synchronized diving, and I tried to concentrate on what was happening on the screen, but besides a few thoughts about how synchronized diving is an odd sport and how did it get into the Olympics? — I couldn’t keep my head clear.
In a little less than a week, I’ll find myself lying on a hospital bed, hooked up to beeping machines, and wheeled by a bunch of masked people I don’t know into an operating room. The surgery is either simple or complicated — nobody can seem to decide — and all that’s clear is that there’s something foreign that needs to stop renting space on my 9th rib. I’ve been thinking about the surgery for a few hand-wrung weeks, and the closer it is to happening, the fuller my brain gets with every. possible. horrible scenario.
To combat my irrational fears, I’ve been watching a lot of TLC, because TLC tends to have shows like “Face Eating Tumor” or, “The Boy Who Had His Skull Broken Off Than Reattached”, and those types of programs make my surgery seem like a paper cut. I feel better about my prognosis after watching a 5-year-old kid get his skull hacked away and then put back together again — and totally recover. If the kid with the broken face was fine, I say to myself as the credits roll, the girl who needs a benign tumor removed from her ribs should also be fine.
Besides TLC and glasses of red wine, there really isn’t anything else I can do to keep myself from freaking the f*ck out, especially at night. Lying in bed, watching the clock tick down, every good piece of advice melts away and I’m stuck with thoughts that include: I will not wake up after surgery, the doctors will make a mistake, the pain will be really bad, I’ll get sick, I’ll wake up during surgery, I won’t be able to move for days...the list goes on for basically a mile (possible 1.4 miles). It’s amazing what a sane person’s head can do to them when they’re alone and it’s 11 PM. I now understand crazy people. Because I go a little insane every night.
I’ve been assured by everyone that the surgery will go fine and recovery won’t be that bad. And while the normal part of me is sure they’re right, the psycho part of me thinks they’re all lying. It’s bizarre to be in your 20’s and feel like a 5-year-old child. All I want to do is scream “No needles!” and yell until someone gives me ice cream and pets my head.
And if they just want to give me ice cream, and skip the head-petting, that’ll work too.
[What about you? Facing surgery? Faced down surgery? And tips and tricks about how to cope?]