This was written 4/1/11

After three weeks of headaches and nausea, popping over counter pills that wouldn’t work, and some tests, I decided to have gall bladder surgery. I knew I would survive the surgery but you always have that thought in the back of your mind: What if?

This was my first surgery but not the first time being under anesthesia. The first time seemed like eons ago when I had my wisdom teeth removed. I was nervous as hell. They brought me in the back and started to hook up the IV. It didn’t hurt but the anxiety got to the best of me and I started to cry. The assistant noticed my tear drops on my glasses but thought it was something else.

“Oh your glasses are dirty, let’s go ahead and clean them.”

She took off my glasses from my face and that’s the last thing I remember. Then I could hear but not see anything. It was almost like I was dreaming blackness with a conversation.

I started to hear someone cry. I could hear that person’s breathing becoming faster and faster. I could hear people moving around.

“Jenny, calm down. You are going to start hyperventilating,” I heard someone say. More crying and rapid breathing followed. Then complete silence.

Slowly I begin to wake up from being knocked out and things looked hazy. It takes me a minute to realize where I was and that I didn’t have my glasses on. An assistant came over to ask if I was doing OK. I barely nod a yes.

My mom seat belted me in the car and mentioned, “They said you woke up the wrong way.” Since I was crying and nervous when they put me under, I ended up waking up that way. So they had to knock me back out. So the talking and crying wasn’t a dream. It is a very odd and scary feeling to hear what is happening to you but having no sight and no control of what you are doing. All you can do is to listen what is happening.

As expected, I was nervous for my gall bladder surgery. I showed up for the surgery and everything was going fine. They started with the easy stuff: asked medical questions, wanted me to put on a gown and robe, pee in a cup to make sure I was not pregnant, etc. Then they decided to put in the IV. The whole time the nurse was getting it started, I was pounding my free, opposite fist on the arm chair. You didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that I was uncomfortable and nervous. The nurse did very well though, she didn’t even tell me to stop. She let me pound away to my heart’s content. Bless my mother for trying to distract me. She told me a story about the crazy neighbor dog that almost bit her. It didn’t work, I still kept pounding away.

The nurse left and the anesthesiologist came over to talk about what he would be doing and had some questions. He noticed my fist pounding but didn’t say anything (I wonder if they take a class for that—to be calm or to not get annoyed when a patient is freaking out). After a couple minutes of asking questions I mentioned that I was put under before and it didn’t go well. I told him that he would have to wake me up slowly. He scribbled the note down on his checklist.

He then stated, “Before I go, I could go ahead and get something to help calm your nerves if you would like.”

“Yes,” I said desperately. I don’t think he was even done talking when I answered. Finally admitting that I was scared as hell I began to cry. I was proud I held it in as long as I did though. For some reason my breaking point is when someone asks if I am okay. As soon as you ask if I’m ok, Hysterical Jenny comes out from hiding.

He assured me that everything would be ok and I nodded to let him know that I understood.

The nurse came in and told me that she would now be giving me something to calm me down. My fist was getting a little tired but I kept pounding away. It was the only thing I could concentrate on to make me forget where I was. Before I knew it, my time to go with the nurse had come. At this point, I was feeling pretty good! I was walking down the hall without a worry in the world.

After a bit of walking we reached the surgery room. Nurses scrambled about trying to get things done at the last minute. They told me I would have to remove my robe before lying down. After that, they advised me to lay down on the gurney. One of the nurses came over to me and picked up my hand.

“Jenny? Jenny, do you remember me from school? I’m Chelsea. I’m Chelsea Carpenter.”

I believe the next words out of my mouth were something along the lines of, “Oh you’re so good. You’re a good nurse.” Obviously, some of the other medications were kicking in at this point! Then everything was black.

Next thing I know, I was beginning to gradually wake up. I don’t recall hearing someone being hysterical so I felt some relief. They actually listened to me! Little by little I was beginning to keep my eyes open to see what was around me.

The staff was wonderful. And I’m not saying that because I work there part-time. I genuinely felt like I mattered, that they cared about me. I don’t know why I was expecting anything less.

I am left with a thought though. What did they give me for my anxiety and where can I buy some!?!

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