The waiting room was busy, I had my pre-op checks (blood pressure, heart rate, etc.) and signed the consent form. They explained things to me after I told them I am a lawyer. They drew on me, found out later the marker had ruined my good bra after I got dressed again.
A young woman with two children, a girl of about 5 or 6, a boy around 3 or 4, Gracie and Sonny.
It was airless and hot, a fan was on. Gracie took a bottle of water from the bag and offered some to her mother. “You know I can’t have that!” the woman snapped. “You know I can’t have anything to eat or drink”. “I was only trying to be helpful”, said Gracie, in a tiny voice. In the end, the grandmother took the children.
Another woman sat with her husband. Middle-aged, conservative-looking. She was prepped for the operation, already in her gown, robe and slippers. They make you walk to the theatre. She was called, stood up. They kissed, very, very tenderly. As she walked away, he had a look on his face that if he could have changed places with her, he would. I felt sad for myself.
It got busy. The nurse decided to take some of us to the ward, more space. A nice ward, modern, rooms with 4 beds or 1 bed. I was in a 4-bed, next to the nurses’ station, my bed nearest the bathroom. One other woman in there in the bed opposite, TV on loud. I thought, I hope she’s not going to have that thing on all night.
I got undressed, put on the gown and my robe over the top, my best pure silk La Senza robe, hardly ever worn. I waited, after a while they were ready for me, and I walked down with the nurse, a taciturn Indian woman, heavily pregnant.
A little boy waiting to go in, he’d broken his arm. He was four, and was being very brave. A woman, attention-seeking, saying she thought she ‘might be’ allergic to latex. “Well, either you are or you aren’t” said the nurse, sharply. The woman waffled, the surgeon came out and spoke to her, annoyed. Said he’d use non-latex gloves. Snapped his words and his gloves.
My glasses were taken back up to the ward by the pregnant nurse. A blur is best, I don’t like to see the things that might kill me. I was scared but also accepting. I’ve had general anasthetics before and I know there’s always the possibility, albeit small, of complications, of death, of damage that can't be fixed, whatever. Karma. Prayer. Que sera, sera.
The needle went in.
Gimme the beat boys, and free my soul, I wanna get lost in your rock ‘n’ roll and drift away …