A neighbor generously gave me a ride to the hospital. I’d never met either he or his wife but I posted a request for some help on a neighborhood group. He offered and I gratefully accepted. It was nice to have someone to talk to and to distract me .. we talked about – what else? Music!!
So I’m there the requisite 2 hours early and sat in the waiting room alone and nervously tapping my foot and watching the clock. It kept ticking and I kept waiting. How is it that when you’re having fun time moves so fast that you think the hands will literally explode off the clock face? No .. my clock was mired in molasses .. people started coming and being taken to the back and I had to keep on sitting and tapping.
Finally it was time .. undress, gown up, this person, that person .. everyone stepping into the room and saying right off the bat, “Okay .. before you say it .. we’ve already heard” and, with gratitude, I listened as they laid out the game plan all with protecting vocal cords and recurrent laryngeal nerves. Didn’t help calm my nerves or apprehension one little bit but I sure appreciated it! Finally, it was time and I was wheeled down the hall. Somewhere between pre-op and the operating room, someone slipped a little “sumthin’ sumthin’” into my IV and I slipped into oblivion.
So .. surgery over .. if you’ve never had surgery, you can’t exactly appreciate the overload of “crap” that hits you: confusion, pain, confusion, sickness, sticks and pokes, less confusion and more pain .. people talking to you in ancient Martian and you responding in a dialect of South Jupiter speak! Eventually things start to clear.
Oh, I know you’ll find this hard to believe .. BUT .. I can be a bit of an independent curmudgeon. Oh yes .. little ol’ me!! I tried to be nice and pleasant but the blood draws every four hours was starting to get to me especially since each one required
that atleast 2 different people try in two different spots. And since I don’t sleep once I’ve awoken from anesthesia .. cranky blood-shot green eyes glared at each person who stepped into the room especially if they had a syringe and a tourniquet in hand. Finally, at 4:00 am, after a rather intense nurse came in and blew out another vein and prepared for another attempt .. I declared myself finished! I had a cat once that needed a bath. The look I received from the nurse after declaring my body a blood draw free zone was identical to the one I received from the cat. And .. yes .. the cat got bathed and I got no more blood draws!
I’m pretty sure the nursing staff voted in my favor for early release. Actually, I’m sure of it because the surgeon made clucking noises when he entered the room for morning rounds and, before the door clicked shut, I think I saw the oncoming shift standing with breath held and fingers crossed!
Bottom line was the tumor was, apparently, huge for the type that it was. Oh goody! So many people dropped in to look at me, at the surgical site and to tell me about it that I began to feel like a Ripley’s exhibit. I quit really caring about it all after I was told it was BENIGN and that the vocal cords and the recurrent laryngeal nerves were intact. The voice didn’t escape unscathed but there’s something to work with and I’m grateful for that.
I finally got to come home and the house painter/musician who agreed to be my freedom driver (I’ll be forever in his debt since the other alternative was a cab ride.) willingly stopped by the vet’s in order to pick up my oldest dog. She’s 16 years old and, like her “mom,” does better in her own environment. He delivered us to the comfort of our living room and there Natasha and I sat .. both shaking our heads. Life .. it happens .. multiple times!!
Now .. I wait. Four to six weeks before I can begin to work with a speech/vocal therapist! I’ve been forewarned that changes are to be expected .. range, power, blah blah blah .. we’ll see!!! First, I have to heal .. I have to be patient .. uh .. NOT ONE OF MY SPECIAL GIFTS!!
And, while I wait for my throat to heal and all the chemical changes that have already begun as a result of that stupid tumor’s removal finally settle themselves down and my body returns to the “new” normal .. I can obsess about my neck. Not my throat, mind you .. my neck!! While it’s still covered by skin glue and special dressings to take the stress off the skin, I can tell that there will be times when I will second guess myself and wonder if I shouldn’t have selected the surgeon who had two different board certifications .. one being plastic surgery .. I could have had a tumor removal AND a neck lift at the same time. Hmmmm …..