Am I Really Here?

The first time I remember opening my eyes, I didn’t feel a thing.  For all I knew, I was missing more than my stomach.  The lack of physical feeling meant I was still frozen by the epidural.

My eyes opened and closed a few times, coming in and out of consciousness or sleep.  The room seemed different each time I awakened.  It was unclear how much time had elapsed between each snooze, and it was difficult to know what time of day it was.  Was it the middle of the night?  Had I slept all day, and didn’t get to see any one?  Had my family gone home?  Has the surgeon left for his holiday, and I wouldn’t know details about the surgery?

Without my contact lenses or glasses, my vision was still limited to blurriness after more than one foot away, but I think I was alone in the room at that point.  The lighting was so dim, it felt as though it came from a night light.  The vastness of the room told me I was alone – it wasn’t because I couldn’t see any one.  It felt peaceful;  not at all like being in a hospital.  I was comfortable and pain-free.

For a few moments, I felt a little lonely and intimidated by the emptiness of the room.  I stared blankly at the ceiling and toward the light, unknowingly trying to become aware of where I was.  Wondering if I was being monitored, I realized why I was there, but felt detached.  Maybe the feel-good medication had something to do with the lack of concern.

It turned out that the quiet room was intensive care.  They put you there for a few hours following important surgeries.  You’re close to the operating room, in case something goes wrong.

I finally turned my head slightly to the right.  I could see light coming from the rectangular-shaped window of the next room.  That was probably what lit up my room.  I imagined it was a viewing room for the nurses.  My husband says I was next to the operating room.  So then how were the nurses looking after me?

Again I was awakened, but this time there was a presence in the room.  My surgeon sat by me on the bed.  He put his hand over mine – a real gentleman – happy he saved another life.  “We did it.”  He was humble, and if I were any more aware, I would have thought he was a little emotional.

I could only smile.

“It was full of tumours, so we removed all the stomach and about one-third of the esophagus.”

Ironically, it was as if I had died and gone to Heaven.  What a miracle that I was blessed with a second chance.  I forced a mumble, even with all the tubes that went down my nose and throat, “thank you.”  What else can I say?


Hope you all have a little sunshine today!



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