“A hysto-what?” I questioned the bedside nurse who was prepping me for surgery.
“A hysteroscopy,” she said. As if repeating it at warp speed for the 2nd time could help me retain it better. This was the 3rd time I’d heard that word in my life and I still couldn’t wrap my tongue around it.
“A hyster-er-copy? Hyster-ro-copy?” I asked again, looking like a fool. I swear, I know how to read.
“Hysteroscopy.” This time a bit slower, but with dwindled patience. Her face spoke volumes: Get this, or else. “Hyster-ros-copy,” she said again. Then she turned swiftly and kept on walking.
You know when someone says a word you can’t pronounce, you acknowledge that you can’t pronounce it and then you replace it in your head with a word you can pronounce, just so you can move on with life thinking: Whatever, when will I actually need to use it anyway? Never! I’m good! That’s what I did the first time I met my surgeon for the pre-surgery consult. She explained that this was a low-risk, minor surgery with no incision site. An instrument called a hysteroscope would be inserted through the vagina to complete this procedure.
The week leading up to my scheduled surgery, I had mixed emotions. On the one hand, I was dreading it because my mind automatically went to the worst-case, most dramatic scenario: Like, I could die! Realistically, though, the chances of death from this minor surgery were probably as high as dying from a papercut. Nevertheless, my mind went there anyway.
Then, the other thought I had was excitement! Yes, I went from dreading death to absolute jubilation. I was thrilled to finally have uninterrupted sleep. Okay, yes, technically being under general anesthesia is not exactly like falling into a deep REM sleep cycle but, my goodness, I will take anything for some extended siesta. I had been feeling so ragged and sleep-deprived lately that the thought of being under general anesthesia was like going to a luxury 5-star hotel to this mother. Sign me up again! (Though, no visitors please, especially anyone who needs anything from me.)
So, there I am laying on the sterile operating table, in the sterile operating room, looking up at the most sterile-looking people above me.
“Can you tell me what surgery you’re having today?”
My surgeon asks me again when no words escape my mouth. I mean, honestly, is this the best patient-identifying information they could come up with? Ask me my name for heaven’s sake, my date of birth! I know that answer!
For the life of me, I could not pronounce this word (especially with this much pressure from the medical community staring right back at me). I didn’t want to look like an idiot in front of all these people who, momentarily, would be able to talk openly about how moronic I was while I laid unconscious. I was in a vulnerable state.
Seeing me struggle to find the words, she tried one last time. “You can say it in your own words,” she prodded me again, just as she was covering the lower half of my face with a mask for the anesthetic gas.
As sleep tugged at the edges of my consciousness, I remember saying, “You’re… you’re going to… go up my vagina.” Then laughter erupted and filled the room as I drifted off to the deepest slumber I’ve had since, well, forever ago.
Do you have any funny fresh-out-of-comatose or general anesthesia stories?
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