How I ended up there, I don’t remember exactly; it’s a blur of events—a mixed-up jumble of vaguely remembered hallways, conversations, faces. What I do remember, however, is waking up, snapping out of that nice dreamland known as anesthesia. I remember stirring just slightly; opening my eyelids just enough to let a small ray of light hit my drowsy eyes. I remember seeing people with masks rushing around; I heard them yell, “Someone restrain her! Give her more anesthesia!” That’s all that had time to register with my brain before I was back under—returning to that mystical dreamland.
When you are little, Christmas lists are long and filled with trivial items such as toys, books, games. But now that I’m older, my lists tend to be filled with more meaningful things. This past Christmas, all I wanted was for my Dad to be off of work. You see, my Dad works three different jobs to support the 5 of us, and sometimes his work schedule doesn’t allow him to be around for the important events. This year, Christmas was one of them. And it wasn’t fair.
When I first found out that he had to work on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I was upset. I cried. I might have even thrown a temper tantrum. This man that has always worked hard to give his daughters the best life possible, who has always put up with ridiculous hours, who has always picked up the slack at work, who has missed many important events in my life since I was 4, now had to work on Christmas. And it wasn’t fair.
So, when it was time to start writing Christmas lists, the one item on mine was that Daddy could be home for Christmas. At the time, it seemed impossible. There was no way anybody would willingly volunteer to work for him on Christmas. Everybody he works with has families of their own.
It seems as though the person in charge of handing out unusual Christmas gifts has a sense of humor, because I got my wish—in one of the worse ways possible.
Do you ever have that feeling of impending doom, or that something bad is going to happen? On Friday, December 23, 2011, that’s how I felt. It started out as a normal day, except for that nagging feeling in the back of my mind, warning me to be on my toes. On the surface, nothing was unusual; however, deep inside me, all hell was about to break loose. My body was fighting an infection that it would take people in white coats, cutting me open, to get rid of.
So here I was, lying in a hospital bed, the day before Christmas Eve, too drugged to even realize the humor in the situation. The needles in my hands pumped the morphine dripping from the IV bags into my body. My hands were bruised from the failed attempts at inserting the needle into my tiny blood vessels.
I remember test after test trying to determine the cause of the excruciating pain in my abdomen. I remember doctor after doctor coming in and pushing on my abdomen. I remember sounds coming out of the doctors’ mouths that sounded like gibberish to my “high-on-morphine” brain. One word, however, reached my ears with a clarity that terrified me—appendicitis.
The rest is a blur. I was too drugged up on morphine to remember events clearly. I heard a doctor say, “The surgery is tomorrow morning at 7:30.” I saw elevators and lights. I remember waking up with tears pouring down my face as electrolytes were pumped through my body, burning their way through my skin as they entered my bloodstream. I remember people with white-colored coats talking to my dad about what was ahead. I remember being wheeled away from him as they took me, terrified, into the unknown. I remember waking up as they were yanking the tube out of my throat, and hearing someone yell, “Someone restrain her! Give her more anesthesia!”
How I ended up there, I don’t remember exactly. What I don’t remember is the nurse telling me about my surgery, asking me questions, having a conversation with me, because I asked the same questions a while later. What I don’t remember is the in-betweens, the small details that people may ask you about.
I do remember that I left that hospital on Christmas Eve. I was home for Christmas and so was my Dad.
Lying in my makeshift bed on the couch that night, I found myself laughing, even though it hurt, at the humor of the situation. I asked for something that seemed impossible, and I got what I wished for in the most unconventional way possible. I learned a very important lesson last Christmas, and I hope I never have to learn it again:
Be careful what you wish for, because it may come back to bite you in the butt.