Surgery may be lurking somewhere in my future. I’m not a fan. This certainly wouldn’t be my first trip under the knife, but hopefully it will be my last. In my mid-twenties I had emergency surgery for removal of an ovarian cyst. After being examined by several different physicians, I was told something was quite wrong but they weren’t sure exactly what it was. A bit unnerving. If they didn’t know, who did? In order to clarify the situation, I was told, it would require going in and having a look around. Since I hadn’t come equipped with a zipper or any noticeable seams, I assumed this wasn’t going to be without some discomfort. Not having one single clue what surgery encompassed, I signed forms giving them permission for everything from removing the mole behind my ear to resetting my nose break from when I was sixteen. Almost immediately after obtaining my signature, hospital personnel began to show up. Blood was drawn, the surgical area was prepped, and questions were asked regarding allergies and medical history, etc. A nurse arrived with a syringe. Shoving the business end of the needle in my upper arm while depressing the shaft, she inquired what medications, if any, I was allergic to. Thinking this question might have been asked prior to the injection, I again recited the short list. Arriving at atropine, she pulled the needle out of my arm so fast a huge lump rose under the skin resembling an anthill. Oh-oh. If I hadn’t felt so awful, I believe I would have sneaked out a side door. Had she continued to push the liquid into my arm, we would have had at least one diagnosis wrapped up and in the bag, and me with it.
My frantic mother arrived about ten minutes before I was to be taken down to surgery. Being her “only chick” as she is wont to refer me, a crisis was afoot. Let me say first, I adore my mother. However, in emergencies she’s about as useful as a life raft with a slow leak. Sitting in the chair next to the hospital bed with a look as though I would momentarily draw my last breath, she asked if I wanted a priest. Not being Catholic, I felt this to be a definite no. The woman watches too many old movies. Next came the Demerol shot, every pre-surgical patient’s guide to the land beyond the beyond. Love the stuff. They told me later I sang “Mama Told Me Not to Come” all the way to surgery and offered my phone number to one particularly attractive young intern.
Fluttering my eyes in the recovery room, my mind grasped hold of that first post surgery twinge. Owwww. They keep you pretty well medicated after major surgery, a definite plus. Once stabilized, I was wheeled up to a room. I discovered later I was sharing it with a very pregnant mother to be. At the time I was originally unloaded, had an orangatan wearing a fez and smoking a cigar been occupying the adjacent bed, I wouldn’t have noticed anything amiss.
Fading in and out in my drug induced haze, I remember being vaguely aware of activity around me. It appeared far away, mostly blurred whisperings blending with an occasional machine beeping or humming. I would drift off to sleep only to have someone in a hospital uniform show up to wake me up. What is it exactly hospitals have against a person getting a full night’s sleep? The curtain dividing the two beds was drawn so as yet I hadn’t seen the woman sharing my space.
On the second night of what was to be a seven day stay, I woke up more frequently. They’d packed me ice due to a reaction to a morphine injection so sleep wasn’t coming as easily. I considered the definite possibility of a conspiracy brewing to kill me by injection and save having to compile what was likely to be a staggering hospital bill. Sometime late, with nothing illuminating the room but a shard of light leaking through the cracked door a voice interrupted my subconscious. “Lady”, it said. “Huh?”, my mind replied. “Laaaaaaaaaaady”, was repeated. This time the annoying voice was punctuated with a disturbingly loud groan. Waking up, then dozing, the “lady” rode the waves of my drowsy brain, each time becoming more urgent. “What?”, I wanted to say but my lips were somehow stuck together and simply refused to unglue to form the words. “LADY!” “WHAAAAAAAAT?”
Finally coming around enough to be in the room with my body, I realized the woman behind the curtain was addressing me. I answered, but I don’t think made any sound. Parched mouths do not an orator make. Trust me on this. Over the next half hour I came to grasp the woman was in labor and needed a nurse. Her nurse summoning contraption was somehow beyond her reach and she required my help. This was somewhat of a conundrum, as I was the human version of a sno-cone. Fumbling around in the bed of ice unable to sit or stand, I located the end of the cord to my call unit. Sleep again captured me before pulling it up, but the woman groaning beside me was not to be ignored.
Finally, I pulled up the unit and pushed the button. The response was not exactly spit spot, if you get my drift. They must have been eating a little tub of tapioca or watching late night TV. Once they arrived on scene, however, total chaos ensued. For me it was like what I imagine the experience of watching a movie on LSD might be like (never tried the stuff, swear). Lights flickered on and off, colorful uniforms filtered in and out of my vision. Lots of screaming ensued, this from the pregnant lady I presumed. Certainly I hoped it wasn’t from a member of the staff. That wouldn’t be good. Last came the loud protests of a baby crying following a slap. My muddled mind concluded I’d just had a baby and smiling I drifted off to sleep.
The next morning, somewhat more clear than the day before I awoke to find myself next to an empty bed. Reviewing my thoughts from the night before, I couldn’t be sure a baby had been delivered but my suspicion was there had been. This worried me. A nurse, coming to check my vital signs, confirmed indeed a little boy had been born around 4:30 and apparently I had alerted the nurses station he was on his way. It wasn’t mine. Thank God, I didn’t have any Pampers at home. It turned out his young mother was morbidly obese. Due to her considerable size, mother and baby were in danger so she was put on this ward to be kept under close observation. I hesitate to think what would have happened if they hadn’t been keeping such a keen eye on her. Ice woman might have ended up officiating, and my hands were cold, mighty cold. At any rate, unable to get her on the gurney, the wee boy was delivered in the bed next to me. Mother and son were doing fine.
My next roommate was to be an elderly lady with dementia who kept throwing the contents of her food trays at me. Once able to eat what was being served myself, dementia or not I completely understood the sentiment.
So, hopefully this stay if it happens will be less eventful. Knowing me it probably will not.
I’m also not a fan of salmon. Growing up in Nova Scotia salmon came to the dinner table disguised as cakes, loaf, salad and sometimes the whole fish appeared draped in cream sauce with sliced hard boil eggs. Lately I’ve been able to approach it again but it has to be cooked in a certain way and this one works beautifully with the tangy sauce.
Baked Salmon with Tarragon Tartar Sauce
Tarragon Tartar Sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. dried Tarragon
1 tsp. dried dill
2 Tbsp. pickle relish
2 Tbsp. capers, drained and minced
1 Tbsp. shallots, minced
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 drops Siracha sauce or to taste
Salt and pepper
Mix together all ingredients and chill for 1 hr. Serve with fish.
2 Tbsp. butter
4 salmon steaks (skin on)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. dried dill
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spray bottom of casserole dish with cooking spray. Dot bottom of pan with butter. Rub steaks with olive oil and place on top of pats of butter. Sprinkle with seasonings.
Mix together wine and broth. Pour in bottom of pan. Bake for 15 mins.
Garnish with lemon slices and serve with tartar sauce.