Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Love in a Hospital
Yes, I was in the hospital for another procedure yesterday. Fortunately, I came out of this one not feeling as if I'd been in a wrestling match that I'd lost. For whatever reason, I fight anesthesia and it's normally calming affects. This time I was able to get by on twilight sleep which uses fewer and gentler drugs. While I killed time waiting to be hauled away for my procedure, I observed others in the pre-op area. Being in the heart of Washington, D.C. I heard several different languages. Couldn't translate any, but I'm sure they were all expressing about the same thing -- it will be fine, don't worry, we'll be waiting when you come out, we love you. Across the spacious room, a couple who looked to be in their 40s arrived and were shown into a curtained cubicle. Both were tall, slender, wore glasses and Bermuda shorts. The same nurse who helped me, gave Wife a plastic wrapped gown, a pair of those ugly, nonskid booties and a plastic bag for her street clothes. She then closed the curtain on the patient and Hubby. A small gap in the curtain allowed a glimpse of Hubby helping Wife undress and tying the back strings on her gown. When he opened the curtain again she was up on the bed. She fiddled with a tiny little shoulder purse then handed it to Hubby. They chatted quietly, he stroked her hair a couple of times then the nurse was back to do some other prep on Wife. Hubby waited right outside the curtain, awkwardly holding Wife's tiny shoulder bag as if it was a talisman. He wound and unwound the narrow shoulder strap, took one or two steps, but never away from the curtain separating him from his beloved. Next thing I new, my curtain was closed and my adorable nurse was back to start my I.V. I hoped against hope it would not be necessary to drill it into the top of my hand, but no -- that's where the anesthesiologist wanted it. Warning: if you ever have to have this done to you do not look while it's being done! Inside a large hollow steel needle is a serrated plastic doo-jobby that is inserted into the tender, blue vein on the top of your hand. Taking it out is equally painful, so you have to prepare yourself. Anyway, once that had been accomplished, my curtain was pulled back again and I was left to mutter to myself about the pain that had just been inflicted on me all in an effort to prevent pain during the procedure. I sometimes wonder if a swift bop with a baseball bat wouldn't be more humane, but I digress. Hubby was still shuffling in front of Wife's curtained cubicle, winding and unwinding the shoulder strap that had now become just something to do with his hands. At times, he would face the curtain, standing very close to it and I'd wonder what was happening behind it. Thankfully, I couldn't hear anything they were saying from so far away. Before Wife's curtain opened again, I was trundled off to another holding pen, awaiting the finish of my surgeon's previous procedure. He'd done several that morning, making him more than an hour late to start mine. I didn't want Spouse to accompany me through pre-op because it's too hard on him. Unfortunately, he had no way of knowing that I hadn't "been under the knife" all that time. Then, when I was awake enough to be released, someone forgot to notify him so that he could bring our car around to get me. After waiting for quite a while, I begged the nurse to let me go on down to see if Spouse was there already. The waiting area is on the first floor and the entrance/exit on the Lobby floor below that. The nurse said patients weren't allowed to leave on their own, but I convinced her I could handle it. She let me go after I explained how long Spouse had been waiting. I was a little wobbly, but made it to the elevator and across the lobby to where I hoped to see him in our car. After waiting there about ten minutes, I decided to check the waiting area. When the elevator doors opened, Spouse saw me before I saw him and came running. No one had notified him of my release. He was as distressed as he was angry and I just wanted to get the hell out of there. Spouse doesn't enjoy driving and this trip was made even more exciting by his angry tirade. He got us home safely then went off to work. I guzzled about 1/2 gallon of water and slept off the rest of the anesthesia. All's well that end's well. As for the other couple, I pray that their day ended well and that they too got home safely. I've been on both sides of the curtain many times and know how worry and love mingle to turn your heart into a mass of quivering jelly. There's nothing better than going to bed at home, wrapped in your lover's arms after a day like that.