I mentioned in a recent post that this surgery had felt more routine. But I don’t think that I will ever be able to adapt to those few moments when you are wheeled through to the other side of the looking glass and into the surgical suite. The lights are extremely bright and it is cold. Very cold. And there are tons of people in there all doing different jobs getting the room and you ready. They all have on the same color scrubs, scrub cap, and mask so everyone looks alike. The room is a blur of blue and white. The movement and activity is systematic, militaristic even. Seal Team 6 meets Grey’s Anatomy. I had started shaking not from the cold but because I immediately felt tense. No amount of Versed can take the edge off these 5 minutes.
“Hi Stephanie, how are you this morning?” a woman by my bedside said as she was maneuvering me towards the table and lowering the rail guard on the side of it.
“Oh I’m fine.” I lied, “How are you?” (I wanted to be polite)
“Very good. Can I get you to move from your bed onto the operating table please?”
This is the part where I’m sure everyone contemplates running out of the room screaming. At least I do. And I had seen my way out on the way in. A big blue rectangular button. I would just grab the IV cart smash my fist into that button, the doors would open and we were out of there. Then I remembered Dr. J ran marathons and he could probably catch me. (that was seriously my thought process. That I couldn’t outrun my surgeon if I tried to make a break for it.) So I resolved to start running more track workouts after this was all over and scooted from the bed to the table. This was kind of awkward bc I had my IV tubing snaking across to the opposite side of the bed, and my ECG was already hooked up. (at least I think it’s called an ECG.) There were tubes and wires everywhere. They kept snagging on the railing of the bed or pulling on my wrist. I felt like I was caught in a spider web. Plus have you ever tried to shimmy to the side while in the prone position wearing a robe that opens in the back without it getting twisted and giving everyone in blue scrubs a little show?
I’m a lady, you don’t give it up on the second date/surgery.
As a result it took a few scoots to get me out of bed and onto the table. Once I was down the flurry of activity around me only intensified which made me even more tense. I laid there shaking uncontrollably.
One of the stormtroopers in blue noticed and asked me “Are you cold?”
“A little. I’m sorry I shake. I just do it when I’m nervous.”
“Let’s get some warm blankets over here please.”
Someone came over and covered me all the way up to my neck.
“Okay Stephanie, we’re ready, are you?”
And all of the activity stopped. You could hear a pin drop in that room.
“Ok, here we go.”
As she pushed the syringe into my line I remember it felt so strange. I was covered in those awesome microwave blankets so I was warm in my little cocoon but the fluid felt cold as it went into my arm. It’s such a strange sensation. Warm on the outside but cold on the inside. Down was up here, and up was down.
I’ve also never understood why people describe anasthesia like it’s a gradual falling asleep. In truth it’s a little more like Alice down the rabbit hole. One minute you’re there, the next you’re gone.
And the few seconds before your lights go out are so awkward. Everyone is quiet and so are you and youre all looking at each other waiting for something to happen. Is there proper protocol for these few moments? Are you supposed to be silent and stare at each other? Make small talk? Nice weather we’ve been having. Who here is from out of town? Blue is a great color on you guys. Anybody a UK fan? Why is a raven like a writing desk?
After a few seconds I opened my mouth to tell my anesthetist that maybe I needed a little more and to make like Salt n Peppa and “push it” but there was no need. This crazy tea party was over. My eyes closed and I slipped from consciousness tumbling down the rabbit hole into the dark.
Maybe Wonderland would be more normal.
“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary-wise; what it is it wouldn’t be, and what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?” ~Alice