Archived Story

Post-op blur leads to red face

Published 10:31am Wednesday, January 15, 2014 Updated 12:33pm Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I don’t remember who put my clothes back on.

And I don’t remember what I said to the nurses in the recovery room, but I’m pretty horrified just thinking about it. Nor do I remember who ate most of my sandwich and drank my two cartons of orange juice. The sandwich was mostly gone, as was the orange juice, when I began remembering.

The first memory — which didn’t come for a couple of hours — was noting with some interest that the room was spinning vertically.

Ever had too much to drink? In that condition, the room most definitely spins horizontally. So this vertical reeling was something different. It didn’t cause nausea or anything, so I just remember watching it. Interesting, I was thinking.

My True Love was there in the room, which is where I’m getting what few bits of information I have about all this. “You couldn’t wait to get hold of the electric bed control.” I guess I latched onto that control like it was the reins to a roping horse. Just guessing, but I always wanted to rope and ride in a rodeo. Up. Down. Both ends up. Someone, she said, took the control away from me. (A nurse. I love nurses.)

General anesthesia is pretty weird. One moment, you’re joking with the nurses in the refrigerator, which they call an operating room. I think you could keep a jar of refrigerator pickles in there weeks and weeks, it’s that cold. I remember a nurse putting hot blankets on me (I love her.) and that’s about that.

Next thing you know, I’m looking at the remains of someone’s lunch on the bed tray in front of me (mine), and My True Love is asking me who Sue is. I guess as they rolled me out of the recovery room into my room, I was shouting down the hallway: “I’ll miss you, Sue.” (I love her, whoever she is.)

Then, according to My True Love, I was suggesting that there was a nice piece of art work hanging there on the wall of my room, and I was wondering if she couldn’t maybe stuff that in my suitcase.

At this point, it being on the wall opposite my bed, and it having quit rolling vertically like a misadjusted TV picture, I guess I got focused on it a little. (I love that picture.)

So this gets me to the point I’m kind of concerned about: Just who exactly dressed me? I know for a fact that the bandage on my knee wouldn’t let me reach to my feet to thread on underwear, pants, socks, slippers, anything. So who did it? (I love her, I really do, whoever she is.)

All the nurses — everyone, in fact — at the hospital in Wadena were wonderful. Even my room nurse, the one who put my IV in with less pain than a mosquito bite, even she, when faced with my sudden request for a ride outside to the car, handled it with instant wheelchair service, and in no time at all, she and I were outside, me with a cap and coat, her with none, and she’s helping me into the car. Let’s remember: It’s a minus 27 degrees out there, and I don’t think this was in her job description. (I love her most of all.)

The next day, my knee was pretty stiff, but not too painful. The phone rang and someone said: “Hi, this is Sue from the hospital.”

Oh, Sue, Sue from the recovery room where I was babbling like a drunk, no doubt, and now she’s calling for an apology. I start my apology by saying she must be the Sue I don’t remember (I do want her to know I wasn’t in control of my mouth.) from the recovery room and if I said anything I should apologize for, I…..

“No, I’m not that Sue,” she said. “I’m just calling to see how you’re doing?”

Whew. Not that Sue. Not that “I’m gonna miss you Sue.” I felt much better. Maybe some husband someday isn’t going to come up to me, say “You’re that guy” and clock me a good one and say “This is for Sue.”

This Sue that’s calling? (I love her, too.)

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