I watch a lot of forensic shows. While my tastes run more to Sherlock, Elementary, and Forever than CSI, it’s made me wonder what a medical examiner or detective would say if he or she happened across my body.
I can almost hear the clipped, dispassionate British tones. “Caucasian, female, mid to late thirties.”
That part would be most immediately evident. My favorite fictional examiners would then begin to show their magic.
“Two children as is evident by the multiple cesarean scars and stretch marks along her abdomen. Lack of tan line on left ring finger indicates single parenthood, though the slight indentation points to a divorce. Her hair does not appear to be colored or in a particular style. Her children are most likely very young, yet the polish on her nails shows she cared about her appearance, their length indicating she worked with her hands.”
Further examination would include…
“Tattoo on her left hip. An ace of hearts would point to a Vegas trip. Tattoo on her lower back of a claddaugh. She made a trip to Ireland, was of Irish heritage, or had recently wed. Or, perhaps, all three.”
I wear the marks on my body like a road map to my life. And on Monday morning, at 7:30 a.m., I’m going to add to the scars.
I’m nervous, coping with it the way I typically do: covering every imagined, far-fetched scenario with a bluster of humor while trying very desparately not to cry over the previously mentioned far-fetched scenarios.
“This is Julie from Dr. C’s office. I wanted to go over a few things with you prior to surgery.”
“I’m glad you called. I have a few questions.”
“I’m happy to help you if I can.”
“What are my odds of surviving this thing?”
There was a long pause while Julie tried to switch directions from the rote delivery of no food and water after midnight to possibility of death. “I’d say they are very good. Greater than the odds of surviving your commute to work.”
“Yes, but then I’m driving. Any chance I don’t have to go completely under and can just do some sort of local?”
“For three hours?”
“I wouldn’t mind watching a movie or something,” I suggested with a laugh.
“That would be distracting to the surgeon.”
“I suppose so. You know, Julie, the most difficult part of this is not being awake to hear him say ‘uh oh’.”
“I understand completely. I was a lot like you prior to my last surgery and I work here.”
“You do know that doesn’t make me feel better, right? I mean, what if that means you know the nurses had a hangover, the doctor’s hands shake, or the anesthesiologist is getting a divorce and prone to fits of sobbing?”
“I have a feeling you’re going to be just fine. People with a good sense of humor seem to recover more quickly.”
“What makes you think I’m joking?”
I’ve made the decision to get on this roller coaster, to add to my road map. I try not to think of what could go wrong during the three hour surgery or nearly five hours I'll be unaware. I try not to think about the pain of recovery and the limitations for the next month. I try to think of how good I'll feel, how long I've needed to get this done, how much happier I'll be.
I'm trying to tell myself I'm silly for being nervous and afraid.
Myself is not listening.
A few prayers and positive thoughts would not be remiss. Just to cover the bases.