I'm always chatty with my nurses and doctors. I feel it's my duty to keep up the witty humor I'm known for, and they love to have a little color (or off-color in my case) mixed in with their long day of working hard on their feet serving others. The bigger truth, is that it assists me in pretending I'm not scared because I've walked this journey so long and often that it could be perceived as no big deal. But, wit and certainly a smart-ass, has forever been my armor. It's how I survived loss in fledgling years, young school years with bullies and insecurities, and a father whose temper shook me to my core. At some unknown moment, the neediness will eventually seep in like a little demon tearing down my confidence and battered, scarred self.
The anesthesiologist showed up and had to be versed on vein and narcotic challenges. IV needle slipped in without too much pain since he numbed the area. He started me with what they like to call a 'margarita' before the bigger guns put you out. My clever Roman doctor friend asked me if I could feel him holding my hand virtually. The last thing I remember before swimming into unconsciousness was texting my response, "I do, I do". If he'd asked me if I wanted to marry him in the next text as I was falling into that vulnerable drug haze where everything drops away, I would've repeated, "I do, I do."
I woke up in post-op where patients are wheeled in still out in some whirling euphoria before waking to reality. In post-op one assigned nurse waits for you to wake up and say hello. It's my eighth time, and I give the answers before the questions come even as I drift in and out. My pain on a scale from one-ten was an eight, and so forth. Their sole job is to control the pain with the good stuff. I arrived at 9:30 a.m. after a two-hour surgery. My room wasn't ready since there were late releases. I remained in the post-op space for five hours turning out to be a comfortable womb. My personal nurse and I chatted about all sorts of things, including the texts from Rome. One came in asking what the nurse was giving me in the IV for pain. I responded by saying, "Demerol". Anything else would cause me to throw up for hours. He didn't recognize the drug because it wasn't the Latin word. My nurse gave the Latin version. He responded in a text by saying, "Ah, yes, this is what we give American girls to make Italian men look better." One sarcastic loving humor to the other, and why, regardless of the different cultures, we connect - sharp humor is the optimal way for me to connect. The nurses enjoyed a belly laugh by his description. Post-op room was surprisingly slow on this day of June 30th, 2017.
One of the nurses without a patient assigned to her came over to ask me if there was something I really wanted - Well, that was a big question and my greatest dream ran straight across my mind like a film scene. Instead, I asked for a large Peets coffee from the coffee bar in the lobby. She was happy to take a walk downstairs to purchase coffee, and it was delicious. The new lobby of Cottage Hospital reminds me of a 'W' Hotel. My assigned nurse gave me a smoothie made with almond milk before I put that dark, strong coffee in my system. I was chatty under the drug of Demerol easing the pain. It was time to go to my room at nearly 3:00. It's the same floor I've been on eight times, and nurses came by to say hi, give me a hug, and remind me how amazingly strong I am. It's been a long path of various rooms on this same floor and a total of 60-days in the hospital. Even nurses that weren't assigned to me said, "you look familiar". Everything was familiar.
In a moment of panic, I actually drove to the Mission before I should've been driving, thinking I could light a candle to assist my healing and lessen the pain. Unbeknownst to me, they haven't had candles in the church to light for years due to safety issues. The door was locked. I'm the farthest person from being Catholic, but I purchased the candle in the gift shop filled with tourists. I asked the sales person what to do. I brought the Saint Guadalupe candle home, set my intention, and let it burn to the end which took nearly four days. I called the Unity prayer hot line. I couldn't reach out to anyone local, not only because I was far too vulnerable, but because of frailty from too long a medical road. And, it makes sense because I've been going through this for four long years. It's not only worn me out to the bone, but understandably is wearing on others.
Granted, it's impossible and unfair to expect others to be acutely aware and empathize when they have not gone through anything like it themselves. Most, just want to hear that it's all fine. I've also been told that I attracted it into my life, and what did I do to attract it. One time, a stranger stated that I had made a contract with the Universe to go through the long painful journey of breast cancer. I can assure you, I did not. If I was ever to hear someone say this to a person suffering, I would not hesitate to say, "fuck off." No one deserves to be judged when facing illness, loss, etc.. What could my mother have possibly done to deserve to die leaving a husband and two toddlers she was in love with behind? I have seen every age, every walk of life, the most optimistic beautiful people; some healthy their whole lives until struck with a life threatening illness, rich or poor, be stricken with cancer. I write in honesty to honor others, and will fiercely protect anyone who hurts. I encourage compassion whatever your history, beliefs and state-of-health.