Surgical Impressions, Part I

Igmar Bergman presents "Scenes from a Surgery"

...From 11:00 until 12:30 I wait in this little room where six doctors and nurses come in and ask me the same questions over and over again.

"How old are you?"
"What's your date of birth?"
"What are you having done today?"

...I'm only allowed one visitor in the room at a time. My mother comes in crying, kissing and hugging me, saying she's so proud of me. When she leaves, she's gone for only a second, then runs back in crying for one last hug. No one is allowed to see my brother.

...Gerri stays with me for the last half hour, and takes my picture in my hospital clothes because it's the only thing that's taking our minds off of what will happen.

...The nurse takes us up with 3 other patients to the surgery wing. No family is allowed through the swinging doors. I kiss Gerri and say "See you later, okay?" Both of us are crying when I walk through.

...I'm standing next to a chair where a piece of paper with the number 12 is taped to the back. My gown is over my head and my surgeon is drawing lines and notes with a blue marker on my abdomen.

...I'm laying down in the bed. They've taken off the gown and put an IV in my wrist. There are two inflatable tubes attached to my ankles to ensure circulation. I'm getting wheeled through double doors as one of the surgical team explains about the breathing tube and the catheter.

...I was unaware of the catheter.

...The operating room really looks like the set of ER, or House, MD. Everything is high-tech and clean and would be a lot scarier if they hadn't already injected something "to help me relax" into the IV. The last thing I remember is the overhead lights starting to melt and wave as I continue to breath into an oxygen mask.

7 hours later

...I can hear Jason's surgeon talking to someone. I don't remember what's being said, but I can hear him, and know he's Jason's guy, not mine. For some reason I can't open my eyes or move. Everything is waves of purple.

...My eyes finally open. I'm in a huge room, like a gymnasium that's divided my curtains into small cubicles. Everything is shades of blue. I can turn my head. I look to the right and the first thing I see is my wife, running towards me. The breathing tube is out; it's hard to say anything, but I do:

"Hi, baby."