I opened my eyes and looked around the recovery room. To my left, I saw a lady gagging into one of those kidney-shaped hospital trays, and to my right, I saw a woman screaming in pain, but I felt fine.
Uh oh. Something's wrong here. Why do I feel fine? Did I die? Is this a dream?
It was especially surprising because I'm usually a hot mess when I wake up from anesthesia.
Everybody has their own set of personal fears: snakes, heights, clowns (And I'm scared of all that stuff too, by the way). But what scares me about surgery is the fear of waking up during the middle of it.
That actually happened to my Papa in the 80's. Can you imagine the horror? No.Thank.You. So yes, I'm sure all those fancy-schmancy machines keep that sort of thing from happening these days, but still, you can never be too careful.
You know when you're in the operating room and they start administering the anesthesia? And you feel the cold medicine rushing into your vein and you taste something metallic? And you start slipping into a deep, drug-induced sleep?
Yeah, well, I push through that.
I think, 'stay awake, stay awake, stay awake!' and then I usually hear the monitors going off with the "Oh no, this one's cray-cray, Jack!" alarms. Then they look at me like, 'Dang, why did I have to get the crazy one?' and start poppin' drugs into my IV like I'm an addict going on a one-way trip. And eventually, I can't fight it anymore. I succumb. And I sleep.
Fighting anesthesia always sounds like a good idea until I wake up. See, all that time in between - when they were cutting out my organs and stuff - I wasn't aware of any of that. So then when I wake up, it's hard to tell that any time has passed. And for the first few moments, I'm trying to force myself to stay awake, but then I realize that I lost that battle, like, over three hours ago.
And I also usually cry for my Mama, but I would never admit that on my blog.
I guess it didn't help matters that, before the surgery, the anesthesiologist mentioned that he was going to use Tylenol to sedate me.
That's right, ladies - the same stuff that you carry in your purse to take for headaches or cramps or whatever is what they used to cut my innards.
(That concept really didn't calm me down any.)
He said that it was a fairly new method of anesthesia.
Well, duh. Of course it's new! It took somebody a long time to work up the nerve to say, "Hey, you know what? Let's try Tylenol instead of those strong and proven narcotics when we amputate this guy's leg. I'm sure it will work out just fine, probably."
For those of you in the medical field, I'm sure you think I'm silly. Your knowledge and expertise tells you that this is a special type of Tylenol and/ or you know how much stronger it is when it doesn't pass through the liver, but I'm not in the medical field. I sell insurance. Ahem.
But let me state for the record, Tylenol is niiiiiice. Two months earlier, when I woke up from my first surgery, I felt intense pain and was puking my guts up. But with this one, I felt normal.
Now, when I said that "I felt normal", what I actually meant was that I felt like I'd been partying at Studio 54 since it closed in 1980. For example, I'm sure I was taken from recovery to my room, but I can't testify, under oath, how that happened exactly. Beam me up, Scotty? Maybe. Flew on winged unicorns? Possibly. I really couldn't say.
I started having a little trouble with pain management when I got to my room. They gave me morphine, but it didn't help the pain; it just made me not care that I had any. So I asked if I could try something different and they said, "Sure, we can give you [something with a T] instead."
Come to find out, that was Advil in the vein. They gave me a hit, and my pain went away.
Tylenol for anesthesia? Advil for pain? Listen, y'all - if you ever want to PAR-TAY, don't bother with the illegal stuff. Just stock up on the OTC drugs. They're groovy, man.
Please tune in next time for the really, really, REALLY late post-surgery update (Part 2). I'll tell you about how I busted out of that place, but had to show my ass to do it. And unfortunately, I don't mean that like "I got really mad at them". I mean that like "literally".