Once dressed we all met downstairs and then walked across the street to the hospital. It was maybe 50 feet from one revolving door to the next but it felt like a mile. My leg still hurt but I declined the wheelchair. I’d had enough of those yesterday. We checked in first on the ground floor of the hospital. I showed my I.D. and was issued my hospital bracelet and then sat down to wait. That’s another thing for anyone about to have surgery to keep in mind. The process leading up to you actually going under is very similar to Dante’s Inferno. You have to keep passing through different circles of hell called waiting rooms to get where you are going.
Once we were finished with the ground floor waiting room we were ushered into the elevator up to a nurses’ station. We entered a small room with again not enough chairs for my entourage and what looked like a teal version of Joey and Chandler’s Barca loungers for me. A dark haired nurse who was probably about my age came in and handed me a hospital gown, a shower cap, no-skid socks, and a plastic drawstring bag. She looked at my family and then at me and started giving orders in a southern accent which was somewhat soothing after hearing the high-pitched and nasal Minnesota accent all week long, “Okay men you’re with me, I’ll be showing you the waiting room and how you can track you’re little lady’s progress from the surgical floor to PICU to her hospital room. Mom if she wants you to stay and help her change you’re welcome to.” Then she turned to me and looked at the garb she had just handed me. “You know what to do?” Unfortunately this was old hat for me and I did know what to do. I nodded. She gave me a quick and reassuring wink, “Gentlemen, move out.”
Once they were gone my mom and I began the stripping down process that you have to go through before every procedure. I imagine it is very similar to what in-mates in prison feel like when they are first processed. You must remove all your clothing. Even though they were only working on my head I had to remove everything, even my skivvy’s. Shoes and socks come off and you put on the incredibly thick pastel blue socks with tread on the bottom. They hit you mid-calf and are incredibly flattering. Hospital gown goes on, tying in a strange way that only my mom could figure out and snaps up the sides. This gown is also incredibly flattering, giving shape to the body in the likeness of a garbage bag but only providing half the warmth. Next you take off all your jewelry and any bobby pins or metal that could be in your hair and tuck it neatly inside the shower cap. This is where the Katniss braid’s simplicity and convenience comes in. Oh did I mention that the shower cap is also incredibly flattering? It’s cafeteria lunch lady chic. All of your belongings go into a drawstring plastic bag with your name on it and are stowed in a bin at the back of the room. You get them back when you are let out on parole…I mean discharged from the hospital.