Tuesday, 28 January 2014
Free And Diseasey
On the morning of my surgery, 3 years ago today, I was playing a wonderful game of make believe. I was carrying out an Oscar- worthy performance of 'being OK'. All for the benefit of my loved ones.
But also a little for myself.
Mainly to attempt to conceal the stomach churning terror I was feeling.
The truth is, no matter how cool a customer you may think you are, when the realisation hits that you are about to undergo surgery- all reason tends to float out the window, along with any ounce of courage you may have held onto. Undergoing a procedure that will, at best; change your life, or at worst; end it, is a prospect just a shade above horrific.
There are several little bits of the whole event you possibly won't expect, (and will quickly forget after you've been doped and sliced).
For example, shortly after being welcomed into hospital, waving a shaky-handed farewell to your relatives, you'll most likely be left to your own devices in a cold room while surgical stockings attempt to cut off your circulation. You'll be bombarded with sometimes graphic information, on what's about to happen then asked to place your unsteady signature on a piece of paper that informs you amongst various other side effects the following procedure may proffer; death is also a distinct possibility. SIGN ME UP!!
You'll wait. And wait. And wait. The longer the wait the less resolve to remain calm you'll have.
And then, finally after hours of playing every possible scenario over and over in your fuzzy head, you'll be whisked through to theatre.
I remember only snippets of my own particular scalpel-based episode. I mainly recall internal freak outs with external, almost Buddhist like, serenity. I was almost proud of my other worldly façade towards the outside world, I thought the doctors and nurses would be mightily impressed at their brave patient. Perhaps even give me a gold star at the end of it, or a morphine flavoured lollipop. Preferably the latter.
The last thing I remember before going under was lying on the operating table and being asked what operation I was about to have.
I went blank. I started to cry.
"I can't remember the name of it!? Oh god!! Something to do with my bowels! Oh god please I'm sorry!"
I started to weep and panic (I cringe now thinking about it) and the nurse laughed his proverbial socks off at the state of me. Reassuring me he just needed to know I was 100% aware of what was about to happen.
I was never more aware of what was coming than in that moment. The sheer panic at the mere idea that I would be denied that surgery, reminded me exactly why I needed it in the first place. Because I wouldn't be alive if I DIDN'T have it.
The surgery isn't the hard bit. The fear is. Fear of the unknown. But the unknown is a better place.
I was there, shivery and terrified in my surgical stockings, for a purpose. To save my life.
And what could possibly be scary about that?