Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Liberating Plankton, part 2

Oh GAH! I told you I was going to TRY to be better at writing. Yeah, apparently I'm failing again. In my defense I started a new job last week, so hush.

So to continue.....

So surgery date scheduled, I had a lot of stuff to do. I am a worrier, a fretter, a preparer by nature. I try to be better about this, but sometimes it's just how I am. Kady and I sat down and made a menu for the first two weeks post-surgery. If it were up to her it would've been 14 solid days of frozen pizzas and tacos on a steady rotation. It was not up to her, so there were things like hamburgers, Cheesy Bacon Chicken Casserole (low carb), and some crockpot meals in there. Turns out, two actual weeks out from the surgery, she and Paul already went through the frozen pizza stash, so you can see the menu worked well.

I paid up as many bills as I could. Paul drew unemployment all summer and I had only been working two days a week, but God was good and the whole summer we didn't pay a single bill late. I cleaned the house furiously and would occasionally walk to the doorway of the craft room/office, then quickly turn around again and shut the door. Abby and Dakota and the girls lived with us for a year and that had been their room. When they moved out, it became the Room of Requirement - everything went there. Kady decided to paint her bathroom and bedroom, so the contents of her room stayed in there while that was happening. Heck, parts of her room are STILL in there, so that's fun.

Sam had been living on campus at Crowder for a year, but had come home the weekend before to hang out, love on his momma, and use my washing machine before he left for Falls Creek the day before my surgery. This was his third year to go with this church - first as a camper, second as a Junior Sponsor, this year as a Real Big Person, Fully Powerful Adult Sponsor. That Monday I took him to meet the church crew at the buttcrack of dawn and then went back home to finish freaking the hell out preparing.

My pre-op instructions included such horrifying phrases like: "No hair products" and "No lotion, moisturizers, or deodorant." Yeah, I was more upset over those things than the fact that very soon my doctor was going to pull organs out of an incision up in my lady bits. I am very dependent on lotion and deodorant. Oh and also, on top of not being able to properly moisturize my aging skin, I had to wash the night before AND the morning of surgery with Dial Gold. That golden bar of skin-drying, antibacterial soap which they say will kill germs, but also any of your body's own ability to retain moisture. I stepped out of the shower the night before and put on lotion. I had to. I could feel panic rising as I'd grab the lotion, set it down, pick it back up and stare at it longingly, then set it down, pace a few times as I'd feel my skin starting to resemble a raisin. I finally gave in. The morning shower I managed to refrain, but in my defense, it was like 4am so I really think being incoherent and half-asleep helped there.

I slept like a log the night before. I think that was God's way of just giving me a little knuckle bump.

Kady and I arrived at the hospital, checked in, then proceeded to people-watch until I was called back. She's nearly 17 years old, but leaving her alone in that waiting room was hard. The nurse assured me she could come back once they got my IV in. My mom was going to be there after a doctor's appointment, but it was still hard to leave her right then.

My pre-op nurse was sweet. Quiet, but sweet. She tried to get my IV in, blew the vein and refused to try again. She called in another nurse who managed to get it in the other hand after some digging around. She brought me several heated blankets since I was all naked under my gown. Dr. B came in to briefly visit. He said he had a baby trying to decide if it was going to be born any time soon, so I might be delayed a little. He was in the delivery room with Abby during Petal's birth around four hours so I was really hoping this new kid was a little speedier than my second granddaughter.

After he left, my nurse meekly - and without making eye contact - said, "Part of your pre-op is being shaved. So.....I need to do that......if that's okay." Sister. Is it "Okay?" Look, I'm about to let strangers cut on my naked body, yes it's okay. I'm okay with y'all doing whatever you need to do to make sure I don't die of infection like I'm having surgery in a third-world country. Also, sidenote: I'm pretty chill when it comes to medical procedures and my body. I don't enjoy my yearly well-woman exams, but I'm also sensible enough to, you know, not want to die, so I get my mammograms and pelvics like a good girl. But having her awkwardly announce she was getting ready to shave my downtown? Weird. So weird. But I smiled, trying to make things less cringe-y, and I told her to have at it. I flipped back my gloriously heated blankets and laid back.

And when she brought out this industrial-looking electric shaver that looked like something out of Mad Men I nearly lost it. Had her personality been less quiet and gentle, I'd have made a joke of some kind, but as it was I just kept quiet. I'm sure she misjudged my shaking as nerves or being cold, but it was really just me trying not to laugh. I just decided to look at the ceiling. And as I looked up caught a horrific glimpse of myself being shaved by a stranger in the reflection of the overhead light. And then I was just fascinated by this out-of-body body-hair-removal experience and all I wanted to do was text my friend Stacie and be like, "DUDE. You are never gonna believe what is happening to me RIGHT NOW!" Once she finished shaving me (super drafty, btw) she then said, "Okay, now I have to uhm.....get the little hairs with......this....." and donned what looked like a cafeteria-lady plastic glove. She giggled and said, "It's sticky!" Then for the next minute or so she just patted me down with that thing. And I was still trying to not die laughing.

After all that was over, they finally let Kady in. She immediately asked if I was "okay" which is code for "Are you freaking the actual f*ck out right now, Mom?" to which I answered, "I'm actually okay." And I meant it.

Dr. B came back in to discuss the use of Lovenox and the conditions of whether yes or no, I would be getting it. Because I have Factor V, I am at risk for blood clots after surgery, so that's always something to be on top of. A few minutes after that they said they were ready for me in the OR, I kissed Kady, and they wheeled me out. She chatted cordially as she pushed me along. I didn't have my glasses on, so I couldn't tell you much about the decor, although I doubt there was much actual decor. She she turned a corner she announced, "And here we are!" She pushed another button, the OR doors opened wide and everyone in the room looked up and said, "KRISTIN!" I felt like Norm from Cheers. The nurse who brought me in introduced me to everyone in the room. I just wanted to really look around some, but one, they were already in full OR Team Six mode and two, I didn't have my glasses on.

As I was scooting from bed to tiny little table meant for people with much smaller rear-ends than mine, the two gals on either side of me had a conversation:

"Dude. Remind me to tell you about what Mom said."
"Okay, dude. *eye roll*"
"Like, you're not gonna believe it."
"Oh, I'm sure."

I don't know if they were sisters or if "Mom" was code word for someone they don't like, but at that point all the laughter I'd held in while having my cooter shaved by a stranger, just bubbled out. And then everyone joined in and honestly, I think I could've had the entire OR team over for Thanksgiving dinner and we'd have gotten along just fine.

Settled in on my Barbie-sized table, a fella who smelled really good, told me his name and made some conversation I don't remember. Then there was a mask on my face and he told me to breathe deep and then it was lights out.

to be continued.....

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Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...