Chapter 15 – Cliff Hanger

Chapter 15 – Cliff Hanger

April 22

So, here we are at the edge of the next step … and I gotta say it is a real cliffhanger. I went for yet more visits and meetings with hospital types, and they are all, once again, amazed that I am on no medications, am in relatively good shape, and have nothing wrong with me except this little bit of cancer!!!

Go figure.

They chuckle when I say, “There must be some mistake here! Really! I mean it!”

Like in the movies … when you know the blood tests got mixed up in the laboratory, and the heroine is really not going to turn into a Zombie and eat her dog … because in fact it is the nasty bitch next to her in the grocery store, the one with more than 12 items in the express line, it is she who is going to die because she forced her way ahead of the heroine in line, and stole the last of the Smart Food popcorn, thinking it would work as an antidote for the Zombie-ism that has threatened the metro area, when in fact, the heroine, who is forced to make do with plain Jiffy Pop popcorn, lucked out because the Jiffy Pop popcorn, in the end, contains the antidote, and the heroine’s dog is saved from being the newest of the Zombie fusion food fads … like that.

But as it turns out, that is not the situation here. In fact, I am a go for the surgery … all the pre-op interviews are done … and a big X marks the spot where I will have my fake bladder. Somehow that X makes it the real deal.

My fake bladder is to be inside as opposed to outside my abdomen, and is referred to as an Indiana Pouch … such a reassuring name, isn’t it?  Do you think it is the Midwestern thing? You know… such nice people live out there in the Midwest … anything from Indiana must be trustworthy and good. Oh, you’re from the Midwest, how nice.

Anyway, I am all set with instructions for the day before, as well as the day of my surgery, and my brain has mostly taken in all the obligations and permutations regarding what has to be done. And I am sure that if I have forgotten something, there will be some form of notification to remind me!

Instead of worrying, I have spent all my time … that free and clear time that lies between me and the cliff edge … I have spent all that time, and plan to spend all the rest, with friends and loved ones, and with doing bits and pieces of gardening and painting and shopping and whatever enhances my appreciation of the moment. I have become adept at ignoring anything that doesn’t allow me to savor each moment and appreciate the passage of time. Bucket lists are all well and good, if you really have the time, but there is NOTHING that beats spending time as if it is yours alone to do with as you please.

So, I send all my thanks for your love and support, and will see you on the other side of the road.

Or maybe, just maybe, the Jiffy Pop antidote might come through …


Well, obviously the Jiffy Pop antidote didn’t work … our heroine … Me … continued down the path to her de-construction. Indeed, I began to feel a bit like zombie … brainless and numb. And I’m not sure but what my color was a bit green about the gills as well.

Ah, the worry … it was gaining on me! The paperwork was stacking up as well.

I had signed papers giving them the right to mess about with my insides.

I had a folder with all sorts of instructions on what NOT to do before the big day.

I had a kit with soap and illustrated instructions for washing the abdominal area the night before and the morning of surgery.

There were detailed instructions on arrival time … on where to park, and how to check in at the front desk before the day officially began and before the reception desk was manned.

There was an explanation of the notification system in which I … the patient … was given a number that was posted like an incoming flight at the airport. Just so that they could track me if I went missing, I suppose. Sort of makes one wonder, doesn’t it?

And, for all I know, here were probably 2-for-one coupons for jiffy-pop popcorn to be redeemed before the end of the month, if I lived that long.

Who knows … that folder was a bit of black hole.

So, I had my folder and my go-bag packed. I was all set to jump off this cliff.

However, along with all the worry, there was some really quality time spent with my sister and other friends. It was probably the most guilt free, do-nothing time I had ever spent. Unencumbered by any expectations except to enjoy those last few days, I really got into it. Lazing about and eating whatever sounded good, and in general wringing every drop of enjoyment out of the time left before the fateful Friday.

My sister Nancy came for a couple of days, to hold my hand and help me eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow … well, tomorrow the worry would be old news. And for that I would be grateful.

On the day of the surgery, Nancy took me to the hospital at some ungodly hour and saw me through the pre-op portion of the proceedings. She met the doctors and the technicians and the nurses, and was given reassurances that all would go well.  She took the clothes off my back and packed them into the go-bag to take to Dottie. I was dressed up in a fetching outfit of non-woven paper cloth and fitted with tube attachments. Then, she hugged me, kissed me goodbye, and headed home.

To be honest, that was just about all I remember … except that the operating room was pretty universally gray and shiny and super bright with lots and lots and lots of bright lights. It was filled with an abundance of masked figures … most of them wielding scalpels, I’m sure. They all murmured reassuringly and spoke cheerfully about how comfortable they wanted me to be … As if that was even remotely possible! But, then the meds kicked in and I went bye-bye.

I am so glad I wasn’t there for the next part!

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