Few things are more traumatic than surgery. While the nurses were prepping me for my latest procedure, my blood pressure started to spike. Every time they took a measurement it was way high. Puzzled, the OR nurse said, “Are you feeling OK Mr. Tobak?”
“Well, let me see. I haven’t had a thing to eat or drink since last night, I’m laying here half naked under blindingly bright lights, everyone is poking me with needles and some guy is about to come in and cut my hand open. Then I’m going to be in tremendous pain for days and recuperating for months. No, I guess I’m not feeling OK.”
So I didn’t actually say that, but I couldn’t tell her the truth either. You see a couple of weeks before I tripped while running up the stairs and somehow managed to slam my flank into the corner of a wall so hard it knocked the wind out of me. The pain was excruciating. Probably cracked a rib or two.
The day of the procedure the first thing they ask you after your name and birthday is “How are you feeling today.” If you say anything but “fine,” they scrap the whole thing and you’ve got to do the whole scheduling the busy surgeon / fasting / wife taking off work / mad dash to the surgery facility in early rush hour traffic thing all over again.
That’s why my blood pressure spiked: My back was freaking killing me and somewhere in the back of my mind I imagined that when they transfer me from the gurney to the operating table a rib is going to pop out of my back or stab me through the heart and I’m going to bleed out.
Then I started freaking out that they’re going to scrap the procedure anyway because of my blood pressure, and Kim is going to be royally pissed because she told me to postpone it and hates that I never listen to her. That made my blood pressure spike even higher.
I eventually convinced the nurses that it’s all just a bout of white coat syndrome and all I really needed was for them to pump something good into that IV tube, so they gave up, made a note in my chart and that was that.
Wait, it gets better. Two months later I trip on some rocks and, making sure to protect my still recovering hand, fall awkwardly and break my foot. Two months after that it’s still not getting better. One guess what that means. Yup, surgery.
Image credit Young Frankenstein, 21st Century Fox