To say I wasn't nervous would be an understatement. I was reclined at about a 45-degree angle on one of those hospital beds reminiscent of a Craftmatic Adjustable Bed. I was draped in one of those unflattering one-piece muumuus with the open back and flimsy ties. My clothes had been crumpled up into a clear bag with plastic snaps and stuffed into my canvas bag with food and a Vitamin Water for after my surgery. But none of that matters. I was all alone and it was wonderful.
I had not had anything to eat or drink in 14 or 15 hours. My shoes were off. My glasses were on. My mouth was dry. I did worry that I was going to have a coughing attack and there would be no saliva to swallow to coat my scratchy throat. But I only worried about it for a minute, and then I forgot about it altogether. I was holding a novel and it kept flopping forward onto my abdomen as I waved in and out of consciousness. I could hear hospital staffers rummaging around outside my partitioned space with clipboards. There were voices calling out patients' names. Even though it was just on the other side of the curtain, it sounded so far away. My mind was cloudy with thoughts of nothingness: no kids to feed, no snacks to prepare, no household duties to tend to, no deadlines to meet. Almost an hour passed this way before the surgeon came in to draw a map on my leg with black magic marker. Just as she photographed her art with her camera-phone, a nurse handed me a tiny paper cup with three pills in it--two large white ones, one tiny blue one. What? You mean I didn't already take the pills? They actually double-checked the chart since I seemed so relaxed. Then again...
The Vicodin and the Valium were dreamy and my mind wandered farther still from the daily responsibility of parenthood and my concerns about whether my boobs would burst before I could nurse Baby in Chief again. Finally the time came to be wheeled down the hall to the operating room where my arms were strapped down and I was tipped backwards just far enough so that I wouldn't slide off the table and onto my head. A large blue bonnet covered my hair, but fortunately the nurse allowed me to have my iPod in one of my ears to distract me from the sounds of scalpels and sensation of warm blood dripping down my leg. I don't remember many of the songs that came and went during that hour-long procedure, but I remember singing--loudly apparently--to Ageless Beauty from the Stars. It was sort of fitting since I was in the middle of trying to fix some of the damage that pregnancy and childbearing has done to my body. So I guess it isn't ageless beauty I am striving for, but more childless beauty in the form of nice legs.
As the bandages were wrapped around my leg, the surgeon told me that they never had someone sing throughout an entire procedure before. I didn't care. All I knew was that the worst was behind me and I was headed home to a long nap while Father in Chief tended to the wee folk.