And So I Wait
In the holding cell, I worried. I even paced. I had big anxiety. Surgery was set for Thursday, confirmed by the good doc on Tuesday.
I felt like I was waiting for my
execution. That sounds a bit dramatic and no matter how much I knew I had to resign myself to my fate, it ain't easy to relax in the meantime. Some of you may have bigger balls than me and I respect that, but I needed meds.
And I got them. Thank mercy for Xanax. Thanks to my cardiologist! There was a funny moment when a resident (She was attractive, of course. I know that's tedious to some of you, but I make no apologies.), all gleaming white coat with embroidered name on the front, came in to talk about
the big op. The topic of the Xanax to combat anxiety came up. The gist of the convo went like this.
"We don't want you to be so medicated that you don't know what's going on. We don't want that."
"Listen, I don't want to walk around like a zombie either, but I'm talking about taking some of the anxiety away until my surgery."
More argument from the intern until I countered with this factoid:
"Do you hear that I received six doses of Versed during the heart cath?"
"Yes, I heard." I doubt she did, but she played along.
"That shows I have a high tolerance for meds."
She thought, she figured out HOW to ask me and then she dropped the bomb:
"Have you drunk a lot of alcohol in your life?"
Oh my little chickadee, my petite flower, thou spring chicken-if you only knew.
My answer was measured:
"I've had my share in my life."
Does an eight hour rum extravaganza count? Naw.
She was judging me, no doubt, as "drug seeking"-a term that medical pros use when the patient gets a little too insistent about pain meds. I was given a 1.5 dosage. I am supposing that the intern set the low bar on that. Hardly a gnat's ass to a 220 some pound man. I asked my doc about why the low dosage and she, knowing my cowardly nature, upped it to 5.0. Perfect.
So I waited, talked to friends on the phone and those who stopped by, called my cousin to whom I hadn't spoken to in probably 40 plus years (Not a riff, just that we are not by nature a close extended family. I believe we have love for each other, but we just don't stay in touch.), read, listened to music and generally tried NOT to go batty while I waited for the knife.
I looked out those huge windows and could see my house. I live a stone's throw from the cardiac
This was both comforting and a total bummer. I wanted to run home at night to get a good night's sleep (thoughts of escape loomed), but knew I couldn't go anywhere but the fucking bathroom. It was that whole double edged sword. Urg.
This Won't Hurt a Bit
When you are a prisoner in a hospital with the date of surgery set, the wheels begin to turn. You can expect to meet different people at all hours of the night-people you probably are not going to see ever again. Around 3 or 4 AM, a pleasant young man rolls in with a portable scanner and says he needs to scan the arteries in my neck. Later in the morning, a woman rolls in and needs to put in a pict line. Oh boy. This damn thing sticks into your left arm, but a line snakes up into your chest real close to the ticker. Creepy, yes? It didn't hurt when she was putting it in, but became a nuisance immediately afterwards.
One older nurse named Delilah (God love older nurses because I do.) came in to give me meds and ended up giving me a mini-religious lecture about worrying and anxiety (no doubt another who frowned upon the Xanies. Hey, it's my chest they are going to saw open, ok? I have a damn right to worry,ok?) She gently, as only an experienced nurse can, took out some I.V.s. She used this liquid to remove the tape painlessly and as she did, she told me some really personal things.
As a younger woman, she found herself about to deliver her first child with the real snafu that she might not survive the delivery. I cannot remember the nature of her illness, but doctors told her husband that they didn't think she would survive the night.
"It was God's will. I didn't have but a 20% chance of surviving the night. Here I am now and have never had any problems since. No where in the Bible does it say to worry. Fear not is what God is telling us."
Hey, I'm going to be honest here. I can no more get the Bible, God, Jesus and all the scriptures out of my being than I could drain all the blood from my body. They are all thoroughly ensconced and despite any clever rhetoric or despite all the sense that Joseph Campbell makes, it all follows like a shadow.
"God has a purpose for you. You will be fine in surgery." They don't pay that woman enough money. So far, I'd have to say that the odds were in her favor. I was precariously close to the Big One and had avoided the disaster. This all because my wife had insisted that I reschedule the CTA. Even my cardiologist wasn't looking to find major blockages. I had skimmed under the wire by my balls, boys. Who in the hell would be ungrateful for that?
Ok, we end here. The really awful, fucked up shit comes next. That's a promise.