The Surgery: Part I

The alarm went off loudly, bringing me out of my restless sleep. As I slowly opened my eyes, I remembered. Today was the day. This time tomorrow morning, I would be back home with my entire left leg inside a brace. I immediately started thinking about the pain I would be in but quickly tried pushing those thoughts to the back of my mind. I had been given clear instructions about how to proceed today. I was to shower as I normally do, but after I was done showering I would use Hibiclens solution (an antimicrobial skin cleanser to help avoid cross contamination) from the neck down, especially concentrating on the left leg. After drying off, I proceeded to get dressed. I had already picked out my outfit the night before. Some loose fitting sports shorts, a sports bra, comfy underwear (sorry, tmi!) and one of my old running t-shirts. Also, the weather decided to fully cooperate (not) that day and 01-12-11 was actually the day there was snow in 49 out of the 50 states. Take a wild guess which state didn’t have snow. Story of my life. Anyhow, I simply decided on wearing one of my lightweight running sweaters as I was going to be indoors all day anyhow and then at night, I would be so out of it from anesthesia that I wouldn’t feel the 40 something degrees. After getting dressed, the next step was to mark my left leg with a permanent marker with the word ‘Yes’. As in yes, this is the correct leg to operate on, Doctor. You never know, that’s all I’m going to say. Apparently, the nurses and staff at the surgery center were in awe of my ‘yes’ marking. It was in red Sharpie, nonetheless, as I couldn’t find a black one at home anywhere and it was in all caps and it was very thickly written. Hey, I just wanted to make sure they wouldn’t miss it. All I forgot was the exclamation mark.

 Finally, the only thing left to do was eat breakfast. Oh, wait. No, I couldn’t eat anything or drink water. Or have a mint or chew gum or take a breath. Just kidding on that last one. But seriously, my stomach was already gearing up for having some food and I had to let it…well, eat itself. My time of arrival was scheduled for 10:30 a.m. with the actual surgery scheduled to start at 12 p.m. My mom called me just as we were getting ready to leave the house, trying to give me encouragement and said she would be praying for me. I got text messages from other family and friends, wishing me well and all this did was make me even more nervous. My husband and I arrived thirty minutes early just because I didn’t want to sit around the house any longer and ruin things by eating something or drinking water to stave off my hunger which was rapidly increasing with each passing minute. Upon check in, we were given a restaurant-style pager with the number 3. Wow, that was my uniform number from sports during my childhood and teenage years. Weird but meant nothing because I don’t believe in silly stuff like that. I just mention it up because it actually brought a smile to my face. We took a seat with our pager and waited. My concept of time at this point was already starting to blur a little, considering I’m the kind of person that gets all disoriented and fuzzy brained if I don’t eat or drink for extended periods of time. I felt like we were waiting for our pager to buzz for a very long time but it was probably under 30 minutes. As I sat there next to my husband, I stared down at my leg and started thinking about how much my life was about to change in the next few hours. And then the pager suddenly buzzed.

To be continued…

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