Before I begin let me tell you a little about myself. I am, or was, a teacher. Although I taught computer related topics to adults, I was known for my tangential stories, usually relating to history, or American Pop Culture. At the end of a database administration class I once had a student tell me he couldn't believe how much he'd learned. I told him that I was glad he'd learned so much about database administration. "I wasn't talking about database administration, I was talking about life," he replied. This was one of the greatest compliments I've ever received.
Before you read any further, I want to make it clear that I do not want your sympathy. I am well and happy, and enjoying my life to the fullest. Now I can tell you that, my story telling has been on hiatus since having surgery on my throat last August to remove cancer. I can speak, but my voice isn't always clear, and I can't speak for long. I hope to improve enough to return to teaching this summer.
Now, here is a true story:
I awoke. I knew instantly where I was. I was in the hospital. I'd just come out of surgery. I didn't know how long I'd been asleep, but the surgery had been scheduled to last 12 hours. I was suddenly aware of a man talking. He was lecturing to students. I don't know why, but I didn't want to open my eyes, so I just laid there and listened.
"The patient is awake," he said, "you can tell he is awake by the way his leg is twitching." I noticed that my leg was twitching and stopped it. The teacher continued, "Normally the patient would be kept under sedation for four days, but his blood pressure is dangerously low, so we've had to wake him. The next three hours are crucial. Who can tell me what three things we have to watch for?"
A young woman answered, listing three things. I don't recall what the first two were, but the third was blood clots. "That's correct." the teacher said. "This patient has a blood clot. As you saw, the surgery went perfectly, but it's like the old joke that goes 'The surgery was a success but the patient died'."
I wasn't afraid. I was actually amused. "He doesn't know I can hear him", I smiled to myself. I have no idea if my face actually smiled.
A young man asked a question. I don't remember what it was. But he must have leaned over me and pointed at something because for the first time I heard my doctor speak, more forcefully than I had ever heard her before.
"First, you are in my sterile field. Second, this is no time for questions. This patient has a blood clot and we have to get him back into surgery immediately."
I felt the gurney begin to move. "Well," I thought to myself, "I'll be back here later, or I'll see momma very soon. Thy will be done."
"And someone from anesthesia get him back to sleep," my doctor added.
"Yes, please," I thought. And in a few seconds I was back asleep.