Thursday, December 13, 2007

I left my heart gall bladder in San Francisco Hawaii

Wednesday, October 25, 2007, 8:12pm
Room 424

The operation is tomorrow morning at 7:30, so I can't eat anything tonight. Not that I am hungry, anyway.

A nurse came in about 15 minutes ago with a small paper cup full of pills. Whatever was in that cup made me forget all about the pain; now, all I want to do is sleep.

I'm a little cold, so Tim drapes another blanket over me. For the first time in what feels like 300 years, I straighten my legs out and my abdomen does not scream in agony. I take a deep breath, and it's pure relief.

I can't help but wonder what would have happened if I lived in a third world country, or anywhere with substandard health care. What if I had to endure this without hospitals or medications?

"...can come back first thing in the morning, before his surgery--" the nurse is saying to Tim. I had almost nodded off.

"I'm not leaving my husband," Tim says, firmly.

"He's fine," the nurse says, reassuringly.

"I know he's fine. But I'm not leaving him."

"You can come back in the morning."

"We've been married for five days; I am not leaving him. You can either get me a cot to sleep on, or I'll sleep on the chair next to him, but I'm not going anywhere!"

"I'll speak to the doctor," the nurse says, clearly annoyed.

Thursday, October 26, 2007, 7:27am

"You're gonna feel a little pinch," a nurse says, and inserts a needle into my left arm, next to the elbow.

I laugh out loud. After what I went through yesterday, regular pain is a joke.

"I'm giving you something to calm you down before the surgery," Dr. Patel says through his powder blue surgical mask, and injects something into the tube in my arm.

Whatever he gave me rushes to my head like ten shots of whisky. I look up, and the wall is... breathing, rippling before my eyes as if it were made of water.

"What is that shit?" I ask, and the doctor answers me in a faint voice, as if he's standing at the other end of a long hallway.

"I love you, Tim," I say, and the room goes black.



Voices swirl around me, and I struggle to focus on them. This must be what a bear feels like after hibernating for five months.


I'm hearing every fourth or fifth word. I might as well relax until the drugs wear off.

I wonder where Tim is--

"I saw his eyelids flutter! I think he's awake! Baby? Can you hear me?"

Opening my eyes is every bit as hard as prying the cap off an old bottle of glue. But when I do, the first face I see is Tim's. She's smiling down at me, just like a blonde, ponytailed angel.

"Hi, honey," she says.

"Heyy," I slur.

"The surgery was successful. It took a lot longer than they thought, though."

"What time is it?"

"It's after noon."


"I'm sorry for ruining our honeymoon."

"Stop it!" she says.

Leave it to me to have a medical emergency while celebrating my nuptials.