Thursday, November 14, 2013

A pain in the neck


I have been scarred for life.

I didn't write yesterday because I was in Roanoke helping one of my best friends while she had a surgery. She had to have a biopsy of her thyroid done and I was to be the wing-man. Not a problem at all. I was actually happy that I could spend a day and night with her and we made plans with another friend to have dinner last night. All in all I was planning on enjoying myself. I packed my Kindle and my laptop so that I could write my blog while she was in surgery and then I planned on finishing the book I was reading.

I set my alarm as loud as it would go for 4 a.m. I put it on Moo. If you have never put your phone on a Moo ringtone, you really should. At four in the morning I had just slipped into a REM cycle and was peacefully dreaming that Shemar Moore was in his FBI outfit and had saved my life and then... Well, he wasn't in his FBI outfit anymore and were – MOOOO – It's like waking up to the sudden realization that you are about to be trampled to death by a rogue wild cow and it has moo-ed at you as a gesture of fair play but now you are going to be stomped into a mud hole. I fell out of bed to avoid the rabid bull that I knew was after me and once I hit the floor, I woke up; which is the point of setting an alarm anyway. I got dressed and packed some overnight clothes and (true story) seven pair of panties and four pair of socks. I am always afraid that something will happen – I don't have a clear idea of what this incident would be – where I need spare underwear and socks and there just won't be any. Anytime I pack for anything at all to go any place on earth, I pack one extra week's worth of panties and four extra pair of socks. Don't judge me, you know you have a weird thing you do. Anyway, I got to Roanoke by staring straight ahead out of the windshield and not blinking for fear I'd fall asleep again. I am assuming I didn't run over anyone as no one has arrested me, but to be perfectly honest, I really couldn't tell you.

I picked up my friend and two large Diet Cokes and we drove onward to the hospital so they could gash my dear friend open while I would sit in a comfortable waiting room. We checked in and sat and then they called us to another area where we sat and then they called us and filled out forms and put us in another area and we sat and then they called us... Finally a nurse took us to a room with some very medical looking equipment and a bed. I figured this was pre-op. I'd help my friend take off her regular, everyday clothes and put on one of those fetching numbers that the hospital provides – you know, the gown made by sadist perverts – and then I would kiss her on the head, gently reassure her and wander off to the cafeteria where I could get a stale cinnamon roll and more caffeine and I could write. Our hostess walked back out of the room without handing out any gowns or anything, so I figured she needed to go hunt one up. About five minutes later a doctor and two nurses walk into the room and shut the door. A nurse turned on a machine attached to a little TV, which I instantly recognized as an ultrasound machine. Cool. The doctor is laying my friend back on the bed and says he is going to numb her throat. “Well,” I think, “that's good. Surgery would suck if it wasn't numb”. The nurse hands him a syringe full of a numbing agent and my friend does well with that. They go over some more paperwork and at one point ask her to sign the form that says that it is okay to have the procedure done while being observed. She agrees and signs and I'm looking around wondering if I can possibly nap after I write. The second nurse flips on her little TV and squirts a big wad of that warm petrolium jelly on my dear friend's neck and plunges the little ultrasound thingy against her neck and suddenly I am looking at the inside of my dear friend's throat. I can see her swallow. I love my friends with all my heart, but I am not accustomed to viewing their insides. I think some things should be kept private. Then, I see on the little TV screen something long and straight and absolutely huge come sliding into the picture and this thing begins poking on a lump of something shown on the little screen. I look over at my friend and suddenly reality crashes into my face... THIS is “surgery”, only it isn't surgery at all, it is a procedure and the thing that came sliding into the picture is a huge needle and I am watching this needle poke poke poke poke my friend's insides. I know my eyes got big because I could feel them in my hairline and I'm almost certain I lost the ability to blink. He pulled that needle out and got another, because, you know, why not? They stuck several needles in her which I could not stop watching on the little TV screen, the doctor stuck a little round Band-aid on her neck and that was that. He helped her sit up and asked how she was. She sweetly said she was fine, that she had expected there would be more to it than that and how nice and quick that was. The doctor checked his watch and said yes, it had taken six minutes. I was still staring at the, now blank, TV screen and a nurse turned and looked at me and said “Ma'am, are you okay? You have a death grip going there”. That's when I looked down at my hands and realized that I had them firmly clasped together to the point where all of my knuckles were startlingly white and my fingertips were a purple-y red color. I tried to make my hands let go of each other and when I finally pried them apart they stayed molded in the position of clasped hands. I couldn't even wiggle my fingers. I think I even managed to exhale here at some point. I assured the doctor and nurses that I was just dandy. Never been better. I was fantastic. After all, I had been looking for a reason to see a psychiatrist and now I had one!