In surgery I was directed to lay on the table – which seems to me was a cloth-covered, flat space designated just for me. Two spaces extended from the table for my arms to rest upon – thus a distinctly cruciform shape – no irony intended. I remember noticing the lights in particular, two round fixtures with a vast array of bright bulbs waiting to guide the process. Dr. V. , the anesthetist whom I had met earlier was there. The nurse directing me in the preparations was very nice. Dr. Miller came into the room and introduced me to the surgical team – I don’t remember them.
Then things got under way. The nurse held a blue oxygen mask over, but not on, my face. Dr. V. gave some instructions about falling asleep. Here is my most distinct memory of the preparations for surgery. I was breathing the fresh oxygen when, coinciding with the anesthesia, the fresh oxygen turned to a distinctly sour smell. I have thought about that a lot. Either the gas coming from the oxygen mask changed or the overtaking anesthesia altered my sense of smell. The sense of smell establishes the strongest of memories, and this is one I continue to carry with me.
The next thing I knew was waking-up in post-op. I noted the sensation of waking there is quite distinct from waking from the fainting spell. There was less confusion, less fear. Comforting voices reassured me that all was well. My greatest need was for water, but that would come in due time. After a time, I was brought back to 217, resettled in my bed, and greeted by Barb and Beth.
I recorded these events of surgery day while recovering in the hospital because I did not want to lose the memory of this multi-sensory experience. We are created to take in the world around us; to live and learn through each experience God brings our way. I am thankful for being able to ‘sense’ my way through surgery day.