Small Surgeries With Big Outcomes

09.28.12

My husband had always sniffled a little more than most. It wasn’t until he took a baseball to the nose that the sniffling and breathlessness was completely out of control. Little League broke my husband and only a talented surgeon could unbreak him.

In keeping with his general Type-A personality it took a lot of work to schedule his surgery. In addition to all the pre-op requirements we then had to make a last minute maneuver to go from an 8am start to a 1pm start. Why? Well, my beloved had a morning meeting that he felt like he couldn’t miss. I brought him to work and then at 11 sharp we flew him outta that office got to Cedars and started surgery day.

I found that I was completely exhausted and there was nothing physically draining about the morning (except that I hadn’t eaten). Emotionally I was battered… although that didn’t make a whole lot of sense either. As soon as they took Mr. G in to start IVs and whatnot I ran across the street to the Capital Grille for a soup and salad. Partway through the salad my phone rang, it was Mr. G and as soon as I answered it the call dropped. I inhaled my salad, threw an AMEX at the waiter and ran back to the surgery center.

On the way back to the surgery center I noticed a family who I’d seen in the waiting room. They were all wearing tee shirts that read, “H’ears to Lucy”. When you see four people wearing the same cheery shirts it’s okay to start a conversation, right? I said, “Excuse me. My husband is having surgery too and I couldn’t help but notice your shirts. Is someone having a cochlear implant?” And I was shocked by the answer. Lucy is apparently getting ears. Really. She was born without them and there may or may not be an ear canal but there’s a growth of some sort that needs to come out… It’s a long story but of course they have a blog and a spectacular attitude.

Surgery centers are cold places and I don’t mean that figuratively. If you think about where new diseases and life forms come from it’s the equator where it’s warm and damp. Hospitals are places where you don’t want things to grow and thrive so they are cold and dry. I figured I could just as easily wait in the warm car as I could in the cold waiting room so I hopped in and as I went to put the seat down to a napping position (okay I love a good nap) I noticed there was no gas in it.

After filling up with gas I drove down 3rd Street and decided I’d earned a treat so I popped into the Magnolia Bakery. I had perfect parking and wandered in and looked in the display cases when something truly incredible happened. I wasn’t interested. When I looked at the cupcakes I could see the flour and sugar in them and I realized that they’d give me headaches and my joints would be disasters. I think I’ve officially lost interest in foods that make me feel bad. This is a miracle, perhaps more than a miracle. I don’t mean to eclipse the fact that at that same moment a surgeon had his hand inside my husband’s head. Or maybe I do, because not wanting a cupcake in the midst of an emotional day is a quite possibly more miraculous than anything I’ve ever heard of.

I sat down to read my text messages and found out that Cassie is both gay and bulimic. One of these things worries me. One of them does not. Note: to all my friends (and Cassie is a good one) please come out to me not in a blog post… or if you do come out in a blog post make it your own site so I don’t have to link to strangers. That’s really all I’m asking. The bulimia is upsetting. Hopefully Cassie will love every part of herself one day very soon, she certainly is deserving of that.

By 4pm Mr. G’s septum was undeviated and some bone had been shaved down. They called me in and the surgeon was all excited to tell me about it even when he went into excruciating detail and the color drained from my face. By 4pm I was the last person left in the waiting room and they called me in.

My husband was wasted. Not like a litte bit but like fucking with the nurses wasted. He kept asking them for aftercare instructions and they were like, “Your wife has everything.” To which he’d reply with some nonsense about his mind being a steel trap. Totally believable if you aren’t slurring your words. He, of course, was anxious to get back to work even wondering if he could get back to the office. I can see where Percocet and email would be great for a career.

And then the vomiting started. It wasn’t Mr. G but it was someone in that recovery room. There was gagging, retching and splashing. Actual splashing sounds. So I did what every wife would do. I smiled at the nurse, thanked him for helping my husband and ran into the hallway.

They loaded him into the car and I brought my very wasted husband home while he babbled ridiculousness and I wondered aloud if he’d be a fun drunk. I think he probably would.

Upon our arrival at home the kids greeted us quietly, the dog didn’t give a shit how anyone felt and bounced around like a lunatic. I ran up and downstairs about 93 times brining Mr. G. sorbet, water and juices. Then my mother (who clearly hates me) asked if we had a bell.

“A bell?” I say.

“Yes a bell, so he can ring it when he needs something.” She’s been watching Downton Abbey I suppose.

And then I realized that we do have a bell. It’s a little Liberty Bell that my friend bought my kids when she went to Pennsylvania many years ago. It was one of those gifts that just keeps on giving. First she provided a bell for my four year old son and now the bell is in the hands of a stoned on Percocet maniac who thinks he should work right after surgery.

The bell. It’s ringing.