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Surgery

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This is not one of those stories that starts happy and stays that way because I find those to be boring. What is a story without an evolution of emotions or a lesson learned? That is the kind of story this is. It was December 2004, Christmas break of my fourth grade year. While everyone else was getting excited for presents and huge meals at relative’s houses I was getting close to my first surgery.

I had this bump on my head for over a year but it was not really a problem. Until it seemed to be getting bigger that is. It became a large lump on the back of my head that was no longer hidden by my hair. I went to the doctor and he told me it was a cyst; I had no idea what that meant but I went along with it. Then he told me I would have to have it removed. Cue sweaty hands, huge eyes and instant worry. I was nine and that was way too young for surgery in my mind.

My mom scheduled the famous day for the twenty-seventh of December. Two days after Christmas, was she trying to torture me? No. She just did not want me to miss school for it and that was the first available time. This meant that I would have to get up before eight in the morning on a school vacation, which was not my favorite idea ever. Plus, before surgery the doctor told me I could not eat. Eating was not just a tool of survival for me, it was a hobby, and so this news greatly depressed me. However, I had to take one for the team.

We arrived at the hospital right on time. The doctor had suggested that I bring a stuffed animal or something so I could hug it in the operating room before I was knocked out with anesthesia. I was sitting in the empty waiting room with my mom and dad, hugging my baby blanket and hoping it would all be over soon. It was not over soon though. The doctor was four hours late and let me tell you, four hours seems a lot longer when you have not eaten anything since that bowl of ice cream over twelve hours ago.

When the doctor finally arrived my extreme nervous instinct kicked in. I was brought into a room that was all white, which freaked me out. It did not seem possible that every object in a room could be so white and clean. The doctor told me to sit down so I did. He talked me through the procedure then put a mask over my face. I suddenly got very scared because whatever was in that mask tasted horrible. I now know that it was anesthesia. The last thing I remember is my mom holding my hand while the doctor talked very slowly. The only word I picked up on was “Christmas”.

Sometime later I woke up with a slight headache, in a recliner that was seated in a room I did not recognize. There was a nurse beside me asking me something about crackers while I slowly slipped back into consciousness. She repeated what she had said. “You’re in recovery. Would you like something to eat, maybe some crackers?” I nodded. After she walked away I suddenly became alarmed. My parents were not with me and neither was my baby blanket. I started to have visions of what could have happened to it. Then I wondered if I had even taken it into the operating room. Almost as if on cue my mom came in through the curtain that was supposed to act as a wall to the area I was in. She was holding my blanket.
She asked me how I felt. I had not picked up on the fact that the bump that had previously occupied the back of my head was gone. The nurse told me that they had successfully removed it and I had stitches. I later found out that in order to remove the cyst the doctor had to shave the hair around it off so I had a small bald spot. You were not supposed to be anywhere close to bald at the age of nine but it would grow back eventually.

The fact that I had gone through surgery amazed me. I did not tell any of my classmates about it but I felt like I had just saved a hundred people from a burning building. I felt that I should be rewarded. At this point in time I had no idea that I would have surgery three more times by my fourteenth birthday. The point is that although I was beyond nervous to have surgery and the whole situation was a bummer I got through it and by my fourth operation I had the routine down perfectly. I still got nervous but I knew what to expect based on this experience.



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