The Story You've Been Waiting For

Well, the bad news is that I look a little like Frankenstein. My friend Amy brought up the fact that in the movie Young Frankenstein the woman who is in love with him calls him Zipperneck. This is what I prefer to be called, from now on. I think I'll rename this blog Zipperneck, instead of Journey Mama.

The good news is that I am not dead. You don't even really want to think about dying, actually, going into surgery, it seems morbid and negative, but I cried when I kissed YaYa goodbye because my biggest fear was the idea of my kids not having a mama. Of course the surgery was actually very safe, and John the surgeon told me that chances were higher that I'd die on the way to the operation than in the operation, but still. You don't want to think those things, but you do, when your life is in someone's hands. You know, the way it is when someone is carving at your neck with a sharp knife while you're knocked out and helpless under bright lights.

I was really woozy about the IV and it didn't help that the nurse had to try three times before she got it in. My superstar husband was trying to distract me by talking about the beads in my hair. "That's a really pretty one, Rae. I've never seen it before. Where'd you get it? Did Jared give it to you? He's really into giving people gifts." I was following slightly but most of me was over with the nurse, totally grossed out by the fact that she was sticking sharp objects into my veins. The anesthesiologist showed up with a five o'clock shadow at 7:00 in the morning and he was one of those guys who has a thick patch of chest hair peeking out over his scrubs. He told me all about the terrible things he was going to do, like give me a breathing tube, after I was asleep. Why tell me? It's not like I'm going to know. Anyways, they treated me like a star, wheeling me down to the operating room while different nurses that I know in the hospital from labor and delivery or my pre-op appointments waved at me and wished me luck. And then I slowly lost consciousness.

Regaining consciousness in the operating room was one of the strangest experiences that I've had. I was lying there totally out of it, while people all around me talked about me. "Oh here she is! She's really sleepy! How about some morphine, do you want some morphine? I'm going to put some special stockings on you, to keep you from getting a blood clot. Oh! Are you very tall? These stockings are so short on her, Betty, do you think that's okay? She must be very tall. She is, she's 5'11." Yes, she's tall. More morphine? How are you feeling?" Meanwhile I was fading in and out, and I assume I was making some sort of response to all the questions, but it seemed to come from a place that was very far away.

The day was a haze of sleepiness and throwing up. I faded in and out while nursing, while talking, and in between bouts of narcolepsy managed to throw up everything I ate, including pain medication. It wasn't the most fun I've ever had. I'd even say that I never want to do it again. But I did watch a Project Runway marathon. One bonus. Leaf was amazing the whole time. He drank my milk from a bottle obediently while I was in surgery. He lay and kicked his legs in the bassinet that the nurses borrowed from Labor and Delivery, looking like a gigantic newborn with a terrifyingly large head, while I threw up in a little yellow tub. Which was better than the time I was nursing the Leaf Baby and I told a nurse that I felt really nauseous. She brilliantly walked out of the room to look for anti-nausea medication for me, a little late as I vainly tried to call her back and then was forced to lean over the side of the bed and let it out all over the floor. It was that or on the baby.

Then came nighttime and the Android nurse who lacked emotion entirely. She had no sympathy. She treated me like a drug addict every time I asked her for pain medication. "What level is your pain?" "Um, a seven." "Is it really a seven? Do you feel like crying?" "Okay, it's a six. Please can I have something before I freak out?" She gave Chinua a booby-trapped reclining chair to sleep in. It was made in 1951 and snapped shut violently every time he shifted, giving him whiplash and waking the baby up. He ended up sleeping on the floor with his legs in the bathroom and his head by the foot of my bed, since our room was the size of a postage stamp. He snored terribly and I couldn't wake him up. The nurses must have heard something like this: SNORE. CHINUA! SNORE! CHINUA!!! SNORE!!! CHIN-UUU-AAA!!! Finally I inched my pathetic wounded self down to the end of the bed and started smacking him with a pillow to try to get him to stop. Then my IV bag ran out and the machine started beeping. After about a million beeps Android nurse came in and asked, "Is something beeping in here?" She sounded upset and I couldn't help wondering whether she thought I had brought something from home that made terrible beeping noises, just to annoy her. Both Chinua and I had close to the worst nights of our lives. Finally at about 4:30 I was able to hold some pain meds down and I actually slept. After that everything got better.

We left the next day after I nearly passed out while John the Surgeon took my stitches out and made some remarks about how I shouldn't play tackle football and take a helmet to the neck. (Thanks for the word picture, John.) I'm feeling pretty good. I'm sore and I have to move my whole body instead of swiveling my neck, but thanks to the miracle of pain meds, it's not too bad. We're still waiting to hear back about whether or not it's cancer, but they're mostly sure that it's not. All I can say is it better not be, because they are going to have to drag me kicking and screaming if I have to go back. I can't believe the love and support I have around me right now, though. This winter has been a bit rough, and this is the culmination, in a way, but people are so loving. God is so loving.