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!