On a Sling and a Prayer: The Sacrament of Sedation

September 22, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

          Some of the details of my operation are unclear in my memory.  For obvious reasons, I could not take notes.  I do know that HL brought me to the outpatient surgical center on the first Thursday in May.  Absurd as it seems, the receptionist insisted that I had to sign several forms even though my right wrist was broken.  I complied, using my left hand to scrawl my consent to letting the hospital do whatever it pleased with me, and possibly with the next few generations of my descendents.  HL surrendered me to a flock of nurses, all of whom had thick Texan accents and almost identical names.  None of them bothered to learn my name, because they addressed me as Honey or Darlin'.  Raylene, Charlene and Darlene helped me don a hospital gown and settled me into a bed.  Then Lurleen and Doreen found a suitable vein for an I.V. line.  When one of them explained that she was giving me a pre-operative sedative, I thanked her sincerely.  

          I assumed that I was getting Valium or a related drug to quell anxiety.   Usually I could tolerate such drugs well, but I began to wonder if I had been dosed with a hallucinogenic when the anesthesiologist entered my cubicle.  I shall call her Dr. X because her speech was almost unintelligible to me, so her name remained a mystery.  Dr. X. was a tall, curvaceous woman with dark, glossy skin and a tower of multi-colored braids coiled atop her head.  A chartreuse cloth surgical cap crowned the construction.  Her artificial fingernails looked like bejewelled miniature surfboards, distracting me from whatever information she was attempting to impart.  How could she wear latex gloves?  I doubted whether I had any real choices at that point.  The anesthesiologist could have been describing my coming exsanguination for all that I cared. 

          At some point, a benevolent Lene had draped a heated blanket over me.  I was so relaxed that I was not startled when the surgeon, Dr. L., materialized at the head of my bed.   He asked if I was all right.  In retrospect, it was an odd question. Then Dr. L. repeated his willingness to pray for me before he performed the surgery.  Despite the Valium,  I still possessed greater mental acuity than that of a bowl of tapioca, so I requested that he pray for me.  While he did so, I wanted to grit my teeth but managed to smile.  It was in my interest to have the man who was about to take a scalpel to my wrist be in the best possible frame of mind.   

I was upset when I thought that my ring would have to be cut off my swollen finger during surgery, but one of the kind nurses was able to remove it, intact, while I was unconscious.

 

 


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