Nine surgeries later, I’ve become very good at compartmentalizing my surgical anxiety.
For awhile, I was having surgeries so frequently I became vaguely numb at the thought of yet another one.
I’m anything but numb this time around.
At my last visit with Paul Newman, he wanted to talk about Surgery #9.
“NOOOOOOOO!!!” I yelled, startling the hell out of him. “I don’t want to think about it yet!”
The subject was changed.
Tomorrow we will have to talk about “it.”
(I know it sounds weird, but I can write about IT without really thinking about IT. However, when I have to actually talk about IT, then IT will become real.)
I have no idea what goes through other people’s minds before a surgery. We all know my mind isn’t normal, right?
I thought I’d share with you my pre-surgery checklist.
24’s Pre-Surgery Checklist:
• Make sure I’m lined up with the best doctor possible for the surgery. DONE Dr. Painless is the very best at what he does. I love him.
• Feel exceedingly confident about my post-surgical therapist. DONE Paul Newman has won my trust, completely. He understands me, my arm, and *most* of my other abnormalities. Poor guy! (Also? Thank God!)
• Get my hair cut (that way I don’t have to worry about it for awhile post-surgery). DONE
• Find an assistant to help me with work after the surgery (and beyond). DONE Miss Kay is going to be a great help. (Waving to Miss Kay!)
• Get the car washed. I won’t be at car washes for awhile post-surgery. This makes sense, right? My car is full of sand. DOING IT TODAY
• Get my nails done. One less thing to worry about post-surgery. DONE
• Get a pedicure. If I die during surgery, I’ll look nice for the funeral. Oh wait, I want my ashes sprinkled in the ocean. (No one cares about my toes?) DONE
• Get cash from the ATM. I don’t know why. There’s absolutely no reason for this one, but it’s on my list anyway. NOT DONE YET
• Brazilian bikini wax. Strangers are going to see me naked during the surgery, right? I wouldn’t want to neglect something as important as this. DOING IT TODAY
• Or do I need to buy Granny Panties? Will I be naked or not? Part of the surgery will be on my abdomen. Should I buy granny panties? UNDECIDED
• Get my sensor cleaned. (This is not the same thing as a Brazilian bikini wax.) My camera needed a complete professional cleaning. DONE
• Get my kitchen knives sharpened. OK, I know this seems like a weird one. They’re in need of professional sharpening. The sharper they are, the easier they will be for me to use as I get back to cooking post-surgery. NOT DONE YET
• Grocery shop to really stock up the kitchen. My family members are probably incapable of taking care of themselves so I need to do this for them in advance. HAPPENING OVER NEXT WEEKEND
• Cook as many things ahead of time as possible. (See previous item.) HAPPENING OVER NEXT WEEKEND
• Say good-bye to my college-aged son as he returns to college. HAPPENING THE NIGHT BEFORE MY SURGERY
• Buy Washable Magic Markers. During my last surgery, the nurses “forgot” I had a warning medical bracelet on, and “forgot” they had just discussed my (severe) allergy to a particular medication. I ended up in the emergency room and the entire ordeal was a NIGHTMARE. This time I plan to write “allergic” all over my body with magic markers prior to surgery. My biggest surgical fears revolve around this “accident” happening again. NOT DONE YET
• Make sure the car is full of gas. It might be hard to fill it for awhile post-surgery. Hell, it’s hard for me to do this left-handed NOW. NOT DONE YET
• Go to the drugstore. Have a way-too-long conversation with my pharmacist who thinks he loves me. Stock up on whatever it is Dr. Painless thinks I’ll need post-surgery. NOT DONE YET
• Feed the hummingbirds so they can get by for a few days without me. NOT DONE YET
• Make a list of books I want to read and movies I want to watch. (Related: buy magazines!) NOT DONE YET
• Have my last pre-surgery visit with Paul Newman. Try really hard not to sob on him. HAPPENING TOMORROW
That’s it so far.
What am I forgetting?
I’m sure I’ll be adding to the list every day between now and Monday …!